UPDATE: Bloom Tells NBC "I'm Sorry People Don't Get It"

After writing a controversial article criticizing Iowa, University of Iowa Professor Stephen Bloom appeared on a segment of Rock Center where he is interviewed by Brian Williams tonight.

University of Iowa professor Stephen Bloom defended his harsh description of Iowa during a Monday night airing of the NBC news show, "Rock Center."

Bloom has been heavily criticized for errors and mean-spritedness in his lengthy essay about why the Hawkeye State does not deserve the first in the nation caucus. It appeared last month on the Atlantic website.

"I'm sorry people don't get it," Bloom said in the broadcast, which can be seen here.

Bloom said the essay is his opinion, and that it is "satire" and "parody." As interviewer Willie Geist pointed out, it is parody most people missed the joke.

The article has been widely panned throughout the state and online. The University of Iowa disowning Bloom's view of Iowa, and four colleagues in the journalism school gave the essay an .

Bloom, a tenured journalism professor, said while he knew he was "stepping into something," he is surprised Iowans are upset. Bloom said the article raises "some unspeakable truths" and posed, "isn't that what journalism is supposed to be doing."

"It's important to say those things. It's an impression of what I get in the state of Iowa after 20 years," Bloom said.

Kyle Munson of the Des Moines Register was also interviewed for the segment. Munson points out that some of the valid points raised are "buried under the way he has mangled some of the facts and the mean-spirited nature of his prose."

Munson is among many who have weighed in on the essay. Patch has to it.

Thomas E Loughlin Jr January 03, 2012 at 03:44 AM
The crux of Mr Bloom's critique is that Iowa is not substantially like the rest of America. Having heard the news story on your WKTV channel here in Utica NY, I took away this from the coverage...that Mr. Bloom has merely observed , within his small bailiwick, phenomena which exist throughout the nation...many places...so many, in fact, that they are far more normal than they are exceptional. Mr Bloom says things about Iowa that I have written (and NOT published) about our area here in Central New York. I did not publish the observations because I realized that they were NOT characteristic only of our area...but a common condition seen nationwide. If Mr Bloom were to write about Apalachia, the Rust Belt, Rockford, Milwaukee, Cleveland, or upstate NY's poorer areas like Utica or Troy ..any area of former glory prior to the NAFTA-GATT bleedoff of American jobs...he would find many of the same situations. Sorry, Bloom. Your work is no revelation, no big deal, and not especially insightful journalism...just an observation of the obvious..and insulting to people who are just what they are...and who should not be called down for it just to make money or fame for a writer. Go find something worth writing about Thomas E Loughlin Jr- Chairman Emeritus, Independence Party of Oneida County NY
Todd Richissin January 03, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Thomas: Love the letter. I felt the same way -- that Bloom's story could have been written about my surroundings when I lived in Ohio, Maryland, Washington, North Carolina and, for that matter, London.
K Carmer January 03, 2012 at 02:54 PM
I am amazed at how much is retained by viewers and readers of past issues in Iowa. 10 years ago, CNN did a clip on cities in IOWA giving away property, there were restrictions. spoke to one of the Mayor's regarding terms of the "free land." We were retiring and looking for a less expensive lifestyle Because we had a new RV, we could live there 6 months out of the year. Several calls to different areas of IOWA is that they were, indeed, giving away land. The large farmers had used their hard earned funds to educate their children, consequently, nobody wanted to stay on the farms. The "entitlement generation" was on the move elsewhere. The elderly that were left on these farms did want to stay in their communities but there were not retirement or assisted living facilities to house them.Mission was to go to these communities and discuss putting retirement facilities in those cities that would offer perks. All were willing to cooperate. Apparently, these L A R G E farms were now occupied by Meth Labs, homeless types, a very bad element that these cities wanted gone. These farms had been abandon, the taxes were not being paid. The good CHRISTIAN children of these farmers could care less,their responsible upbringing did not teach them the responsibility of obligation. We opted to NOT live in the Iowa and to NOT invest our money there. Bloom is right in his assessment. The News media, with their 10 fingers and a computer are WRONG
Cory Lubbert January 05, 2012 at 02:28 AM
K Cramer I don't know what you are talking about. Sounds like you were being taken by a scam or con. I know of No land being given away not in over 100 years, I know of nothing of the sort, there is no abandon land here, land value is skyrocketing here and there are no farmers wanting to get rid of it and no homeless or methlabs takinag over the famland. Land is selling for $8000 to $10,000 per acre and ever last inch of it is being planted for high value crops. Farms in Iowa are worth Millions and no one is giving them away. You seriously should do some actual research on the state of Iowa, look at the figures and the facts, before you speak of something you obviously know absolutely nothing about.
Jon Trouten January 05, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Cory: I've heard variations of land giveaways in different rural states like Iowa and North Dakota. I did a quick google search and found where a year ago you could receive free land in Marne, IA, if you moved there and built a house on the property (http://www.patspapers.com/story_stack/item/free_land_giveaway_in_iowa_town/). But such land-giveaways are pretty rare. Also, if you drive around the state, you'll find evidence of meth labs and homeless. Same thing in most states.
Cory Lubbert January 05, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Jon, yes you are correct, all over the U.S. you will find these so called land give aways, but what you are refering to and what Cramer was are two different things, this has nothing to do with farmland and nothing to do with farmers retiring and not wanting to be in Iowa, these are simply towns and cities accross the country using tax incentives and tax abatements to attract people and businesses to thier communities. This is done every where not just in Iowa. They arent giving more than a city lot and usually its in the form of a forgivable loan, or a tax break if you build there. This is not really what I would call a land give away, I would call it a forgivable loan on a city lot. Ok and as far as the homeless and meth labs, yeah maybe but very little and nothing compared to large cities say L.A., N.Y., Chicago, or Miami. And you will not find homeless in Rural farm areas that Cramer was refering to. As Far as Meth Labs if you can find evidence of them then report them because, usually they are pretty good at hiding. There are NO LARGE farms being taken over by homeless and meth labs.
Jon Trouten January 05, 2012 at 03:26 AM
I get your point regarding the land programs. I remember reading a story about a Florida family that used one similar land-giveaway program to move to North Dakota. Unfortunately, they soon regretted the decision. But I've been long interested in such programs. Regarding homelessness and drug abuse in Iowa, it's certainly not as bad as it is in the largely populated states, but it's more prevalent that people assume. I'm a social worker and see a fraction of the homeless in this larger Iowa community. There are many more than I ever run into and we definitely aren't spared from meth labs or other sources of drug abuse. Regarding the homeless in rural communities, they're there. They're in the campgrounds and the abandoned barns. They're in abandoned cars. They're folks who move from friend's house to friend's house b/c they can't afford their own place. Once again, it could be much worse but it exists.
Cory Lubbert January 05, 2012 at 04:57 AM
I do agree that there are Drug use and meth labs and homeless here, but no more than anywhere else and really actually quite less than most places. As far as most of this it is in towns and cities in Iowa as is in any state or area, and is not very prevalent in rural areas, although there is some, but the majority of all of this is in the city environment. I also realize that someone from Florida moving to North Dakota may be in for a bit of a shock for a few reasons and my not like it climate being a very big one. I guess my original point is that the poster new even less about Iowa than what Bloom does and tried to pass on something as fact when knew little of the true subject. Bloom used stereotypes, myths and misinformation to fuel is lies and rhetoric, only to try to gain fame and recognition for personal gain. At best Bloom's article can be called opinion at worst it can be called slander or worse. I just feel that someone who is ill informed of the actual facts or has never actually been to the state of Iowa has little knowledge to comment or try to promote any part of what he says as factual.
K Carmer January 05, 2012 at 05:00 AM
Meth labs DO exist in rural communities...they call them "tweekers." What I didn't say is that the farmer's want to "move out of Iowa" but rather stay in the cities closest to their farms but there is NO retirement housing for them. As the economy gets worse, and it will, the homeless seek refuge in outlying communities. California's rural areas are plagued by drugs and the DEA Helicopters do a great job of locating these users. If citizens are prudent about reporting activities, even if you think it might be nothing, they WILL respond. Cities that were/are giving away land have restrictions and there is an income requirement to move there. Indigents taking free land would never be a good idea for any community.
K Carmer January 05, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Like I said in my original post..."ANYONE WITH 10 FINGERS AND A COMPUTER CAN BE DANGEROUS." I guess, so as to NOT discriminate, anyone with fingers and a computer can provide misinformation. Unfortunately, people that hang their hat on what they read are the culprits. I learned so many years ago that if it says "Rattle Snake" on the top of the box, you can bet what is inside. Be prudent.
Cory Lubbert January 06, 2012 at 01:43 AM
I don't believe they call the labs tweekers, I believe users are called that. As far as retirement facilities, I know of several all around here. Not that many people around here want to live there, nor choose to give up their freedom. Carmer have you ever been to the state of Iowa, I assume not, by your post you sound as if you really know nothing of the state. Yes, you are correct that retired farmers do choose on occasion to move out of state, most of the time we call these people snow birds because they only choose to leave during the winter months. The only reason most of these people chose to leave is because of winters, not for any other reasons. And no farmer is giving away his land. Most retired farmers have people waiting in line to buy their land, or rent it. Again, I will restate what I said earlier an acre of land is selling for $8-10,000 and renting for $300-500 per year, so you figure out how much a TINY farm of 300 acres is worth. NO farmer is giving away their land, it is worth way to much. It seams to me you are complaining about California and trying to prove a point about Iowa of something you THINK happens or will happen, but dont really know. You THINK that farmers want to leave, you THINK its because there is no retirement housing, you THINK there are tons of homeless. But really you have no actual real knowledge of these things and have never actually been to Iowa or spent any substantial time here.
K Carmer January 06, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Justification is "whether you believe it is, or you believe it is NOT, you WILL be right." I have been to and thru Iowa...isn't that the State where you can see 3 hours down the road???!!! Again, I NEVER said that FARMER's were giving away land...but rather the Counties that must take back these farms due to NON-payment of taxes, are stuck to do something with this land. How you misread my original post is not surprising in that you have repeated your misinformation in all of your posts. Those elderly farmers that CANNOT pay the taxes nor maintain their properties do NOT want to leave the STATE OF IOWA but have nowhere to go as there is NOT housing in the small towns for them to stay on. GET IT??? Sorry for the sarcasm, but your eyesight seems to affected by your insight. What Bloom originally wrote is probably a reference to the occupants like yourself who have drawn a line in the sand and will continue to subscribe to the ignorance of their past. Sorry you misread my post, but it was NOT a negative comment, but one that ALL Iowa residents should accept as fact and help their elderly to live out their lives with dignity. The end...
Cory Lubbert January 07, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Carmer: Please go back and read your original post and then read this and see where you contradict yourself all over this post. You said nothing about taxes, nothing about counties, even still they would have a public auction to sell the property which is worth a fortune before giving it away. You dont live in Iowa, so why would you say what I say is misinformation, when you constantly contradict yourself. An elderly farmer in Iowa that wants to quit farming can simply rent or sell their farm and have plenty of money to buy or build a new home in any town near their farm. You seriously have no idea what you are talking about, you clearly only know the stereotypes of Iowa and believe only that. Seriously, The elderly in Iowa live here with all the dignity they deserve, many elderly farmers are very well off and have money to travel and have a vaction home in warm climates for winter and a summer home back here in Iowa. Again read your original post you Say nothing of taxes, nothing of counties taking land, just that large farms were no longer wanted by farmers and being taken over by meth labs and homeless poeple, and no one wanted them. And that there were no place for elderly people to live, all of which is absolutely ludicrous. Most of what you say makes little sense and quite frankly Im tired of correcting you. I will just figure people will realize looking at all the contraditions. Hell most of what Bloom wrote had to be retracted by The Atlantic because it's wrong.
David Leonard January 07, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Lubbert is right; Carmer is wrong.


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