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Herb Strentz: Iowa as the Center of the Political Universe

DES MOINES – Everyone wants a turn in the spotlight. Small states and smaller towns in particular position themselves as, say, the World’s Sock Capital (Fort Payne, AL), Artichoke Capital (Castroville, CA) Paddlefish Capital (Fort Thompson, SD). Indeed, you could excite spouse and family by saying next year’s vacation will be to world capitals. Even [...]

Herb Strentz: Why Not a Few Golds for NBC

For all the brickbats tossed NBC’s way for its tape-delayed coverage of Olympic highlights, there certainly were a few gold medals for the network to deservedly sink its teeth into — in the cliché shot that photographers demand . This assessment comes with some caveats and idiosyncrasies in that (a) I did not faithfully attend [...]

Herb Strentz: Time to Cut Back on Violence, Not Just Analyze It

In the wake of the killings at the Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Bob Schieffer on the CBS evening news wondered what the killer’s motive possibly could be. And in today’s Des Moines Register, a headline over a front-page column said we had to stop this cycle of “retribution.” Motive? Retribution? Is the press that clueless? [...]

Herb Strentz: The Hypocrisy of Division 1 Sports

Like Captain Renault in the movie Casablanca, sportswriters and the NCAA are “shocked, shocked” by the revelations that continue to tumble out of the child-molestation scandal at Penn State. How could such a travesty unfold in the billion dollar business of NCAA Inc.? Judging from coverage and commentary it’s as though no one who is [...]

Herb Strentz: Be Sure Your Emails Will Find You Out

DES MOINES–An ongoing sex-riddled saga and scandal in Central Iowa and its attendant news coverage call to mind the tagline for the 1963 Billy Wilder comedy “Irma La Douce” – “ A story of passion, bloodshed, desire and death…everything, in fact, that makes life worth living.” Only in the Des Moines area, it might be: [...]

Herb Strentz: God, Checking in on the Iowa GOP

Intrigued by Republicans who say GOP stands for God’s Own Party and that the Iowa GOP is controlled by the religious right, the Almighty is considering sending Archangel Gabriel to Des Moines to take in the Iowa GOP state convention, Saturday, June 16. Such a visit might result in this exchange between Gabe and the [...]

Herb Strentz: Is It Me, or Is the Gray Lady Getting Younger?

Apparently, the New York Times has not heard that newspapers today are dead or dying. Or maybe the Times benefits from comparison because so many newspapers are in decline today — not a surprising outcome when loyalty to readers is outweighed by fealty to share holders and bondage to Wall Street analysts and predictions on [...]

Herb Strentz: The Iowa GOP, Stuck on Its Caucuses

How appropriate! The Iowa Republican Party is among those finding a way to celebrate the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic. Yes, the Grand Old Party is hard at work — re-arranging the deck chairs of the Iowa caucus. A committee and three sub-committees want to fashion a guarantee — not that the caucus [...]

Herb Strentz: ‘Goodbye, Dumb Jock?’ Not so Fast, NCAA

To hear the NCAA tell it, the organization must resent the fact that Phi Beta Kappa pre-empted it by 130 years in creating an academic honor society in 1776. For the NCAA – the National Collegiate Athletic Association, founded in 1906 – is loudly proclaiming the intellectual mantle for itself. Its insistent, mess-up-your-head assertion of [...]

Herb Strentz: Write This Down: Reporters Aren’t Stenographers

DES MOINES – Given much of the presidential campaign news coverage, it is fair to wonder if most journalists are more like vampires than watchdogs, considering how the press and the vampires both shrink at the sign of the cross. That notion has been troubling me for more than two years now in the build [...]