Diane Heldt, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa –
IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa has released some of the emails that were sent to journalism professor Stephen Bloom last month after the publication of a controversial article on The Atlantic website reflecting on life in Iowa.
The emails released Friday by the UI were sent to Bloom’s email address at the University of Michigan, where he is a visiting professor this academic year. The UI released the emails in response to open records requests from the media; emails that were sent to Bloom’s UI account are expected to be released by the university next week following a review by the UI General Counsel.
The 13 pages released Friday contained 10 emails, about half of which were supportive of Bloom and the piece he wrote for The Atlantic.
“I would go one step further and say Iowa is a cesspool of passive aggressiveness like no other place in the world,” one emailer wrote. “I’ve traveled to 50 countries and all major U.S. cities and never met a more truly negative and self-loathing group of people.”
Other emails vented disapproval, some with profanity, in the unflattering picture Bloom painted of Iowa.
“The article you wrote wreaks of a tone of someone who has spent a lot of time in Iowa, but never really grew to understood it,” one email said.
The identities of most of those who sent the emails were redacted by the UI.
Bloom’s Atlantic piece “Observations from 20 Years of Iowa Life” ignited a backlash among those who found it a demeaning and inaccurate picture of the state. The UI earlier this month released about 15 emails that President Sally Mason received after the piece was published. Some of those called for Bloom’s firing.
The UI estimates it will cost $210, a fee to be split by The Gazette and the Iowa City Press-Citizen, for the time spent to gather and review all of Bloom’s emails and correspondence related to the article.