Diary

Do Devastating Storms in the Heartland Matter?

In this Oct. 19, 2018, photo, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a rally for U.S. Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, in Des Moines, Iowa. Even before Fred Hubbell defeated a field of five other Democrats to win the party's nomination for Iowa governor in June he was criticized for his inherited wealth by Reynolds and state GOP officials. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Interestingly, the Midwest was pummeled by a once-in-a-lifetime storm recently—a derecho—even though the mainstream media barely uttered a peep about it. Yet, the liberal media has a long track record of hyping and reporting endlessly when natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires threaten to devastate the coasts.

Could this be because the liberal media could not care less about the heartland, aka “flyover country” while their focus and attention remain centered on the coasts, where much of the media is located? You can decide that for yourself.

Here are the facts.

Today, a week after the storm, nearly 75,000 people are still without power in Iowa and in need of assistance. But with that being said, the national media has remained quiet. Could you imagine the relentless coverage and outcry if this happened in California or New York?

But, of course, the media is less interested in Iowa than it is about what happens in its own neck of the woods along the coasts or in major urban centers. Because Iowa fits neither of these, the vast majority of national media is simply ignoring this terrible tragedy.

Couldn’t the media take a short break from its incessant coverage of COVID-19 and the Democratic National Convention to inform the nation about a storm this devastating?

President Trump ran on a platform that was desperately coveted by his voting base, the so-called silent majority. However, it seems that once again the media is showing its true colors regarding fly over country.

So, how bad was this derecho? This storm had winds measured at over 100 mph that stretched over a 700-mile swath from Iowa to Illinois. And yet many of those living on the coasts are completely oblivious. Nearly 10 million acres of crop have been destroyed, leaving a little more than half of the state’s corn and soy crop intact.

When a hurricane hits the East coast, there is typically advanced time to take safety and the storm gets named immediately with full media coverage, which it deserves. Yet, the people of Iowa apparently are not worthy of the empathy or sympathy that the mainstream media typically bestows upon such tragic events when they occur in places the media actually cares about.

Meanwhile, the folks of flyover country are left to fend for themselves. Thankfully, the values espoused by the “Iowa nice” philosophy makes this a mostly moot point. In Iowa, we know how to lend a helping hand when our neighbors need it.

After the storm passed my house in the eastern part of the state, I drove around local communities to assess the damage. My neighborhood was somewhat spared, thankfully. However, I saw huge trees uprooted from the ground, a plethora of power lines down, roads blocked, crops destroyed, and buildings that were literally demolished.

After the storm passed, within minutes, neighbors were in contact to lend a helping hand. Chainsaws were screaming. A caravan of John Deere tractors soon appeared.

It seemed as though everyone who could help, did. And if the media decides to give this storm the attention it deserves, I would request that attention be paid to those who are struggling with medical conditions amid this tragedy. I also wish the media would at least pretend to care about the thousands who are still without power. The media should also note how Iowans took it upon themselves to clean up the mess.

Even with the limited damage my local area sustained, it was the worst wind-related natural disaster I have experienced in my entire life. But pointing out the positive in even the darkest of times, I want to note the memory I have from last week that will stick with me for the rest of my life. This occurred when I saw groups of neighbors and families at the end of their driveways coming together to “celebrate” after some of the work was done. It was like something out of a Hallmark movie, but this was real life.

Voluntarism is something I rarely hear discussed on the national stage these days. But from my local perspective, I saw voluntarism and community engagement across the board. I couldn’t be prouder to be a Hawkeye. When the going gets tough, the tough get going and it couldn’t be truer than in the great state of Iowa.

I want to thank all of the service men and women who have been working diligently to clean up the mess. And I would like to thank every generous soul for donating food, generators, and other essential supplies. Even though the rest of the country has no idea what happened in Iowa last week, I am proud to be part of such an incredible community. Maybe the media could at least report on this bright ray of light that shone itself after such a dark and devastating storm.

Christina Herrin ([email protected]) is the director of The Heartland Institute’s Free to Choose Medicine project and a proud resident of Iowa.