Herb Strentz

Seeking accord, from "Oseh Shalom" to "Oprosti Ya Rabb"

Herb Strentz was dean of the Drake School of Journalism from 1975 to 1988 and professor there until retirement in 2004. He was executive secretary of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council from its founding in 1976 to 2000.

A program for the Sunday before election day offered “Songs of Gratitude” at an Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration. Perhaps the subtle theme suggested giving thanks instead of lying about the other candidate.

Regardless of intent, I thought the program could provide some “Pre-Traumatic Stress Relief” to offset the “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” that loomed in the aftermath of the midterm elections.

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Self-governance: It could be worse. It should be better

Herb Strentz was dean of the Drake School of Journalism from 1975 to 1988 and professor there until retirement in 2004. He was executive secretary of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council from its founding in 1976 to 2000.

“It could be worse.”

At the start of 2022, friends may have uttered those four words to console or comfort us.

As the midterm elections approach, those four words may be prophetic.

Every election in a democracy —from township to presidency — is threatened by voters who are ill-informed, misinformed, and/or uninformed.

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What was once "Iowa nice" now "too liberal," through GOP lens

Herb Strentz was dean of the Drake School of Journalism from 1975 to 1988 and professor there until retirement in 2004. He was executive secretary of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council from its founding in 1976 to 2000.

“You can’t handle the truth!”

Many Bleeding Heartland readers will recall those words of contempt that U.S. Marine Colonel Nathan R. Jessup—played by Jack Nicholson— shouted from the witness stand in the 1992 movie, A Few Good Men.

Col. Jessup was alluding to the death of a young Marine, a killing that “saved lives,” he claimed. Those outside the U.S. Marine Corps supposedly couldn’t handle his distorted view of “the truth.”

That contempt called to mind the political commercials that contaminate our television viewing these days. Judging by the smears and deception in so many ads, the phrase “Iowa nice” (like many of the targeted candidates or policies) would now be considered “too liberal for Iowa.”

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Iowa Senate district 14: A "rap sheet" that speaks for itself

Herb Strentz reflects on Republican Jake Chapman’s claim that his Democratic opponent Sarah Trone Garriott is a “radical activist.”

Fear-mongering and baseless campaign attacks against candidates for public office are not restricted to Iowans who dare to seek election while being Black—as is the case for Deidre DeJear, Iowa’s Democratic candidate for governor.

Yes, commentators from Bleeding Heartland to the Des Moines Register’s editors have rightly condemned Governor Kim Reynolds’ ads against DeJear as race-baiting.

And yes, “politics ain’t beanbag.” It’s not for the thin-skinned.

That “beanbag” contrast is as true today as it was in 1895, when Finley Peter Dunne quoted his fictional character, Mr. Dooley, pontificating about rough-house Chicago politics.

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Iowa's U.S. Senate race in 3-D

Herb Strentz examines Chuck Grassley’s recent political messaging and low points from his record in the Senate.

The home stretch of this midterm election campaign is unfolding in in 3-D format — Dire, Divisive, and Despairing. That’s particularly true of the U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley, seeking his eighth term at age 89, and Democrat Michael Franken, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, who will be 65 on election day, November 8.

That 3-D nature of our Iowa politics was illustrated well in one of the Grassley campaign’s recent television commercials.

In a backhanded way, Grassley acknowledged why it is time for Iowans to vote him out of office.

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"All the news that's fit to click"

Herb Strentz laments how little news media content is geared toward having an informed electorate capable of self-government.

If the politics of the day make you uneasy or concerned with journalism aimed at entertaining, not informing, please join in this therapy session.

In the grand sweep of things, we start when, according to Shakespeare, a fatally wounded Julius Caesar uttered, “Et tu Brute?” and we end in contemporary times, as those upset with accurate reporting scream “fake news.”

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