As an avid reader of liberal political bloggers, I've long been familiar with the concept of "working the refs," usually in the context of describing how constant whining from Republicans about media bias creates an environment in which the media are afraid to go after conservatives even (especially!) when it's justified.
But until a week ago, I thought "refs" was short for "references," and meant that GOP operatives were going through their rolodices, calling every media figure they knew to air their grievances. It wasn't until just a few days ago that someone extended the metaphor sufficiently that I understood that it was about working the referees.
What a moran.