I've noticed it in the nature of comments to blog posts here and elsewhere, but the state of discourse is truly unhinged.

John Avlon sums up a summer of simmering hate speech in a post on The Daily Beast — some of its fueled by cable and radio talk, with the hyperpartisanship pumped up for better ratings.

Avlon concludes, "The increasing heat of the chatter this summer should be a cold
wakeup call. We are courting a season of violence in America. We are
eroding our common sense and common decency. By pumping up
hyperpartisanship as a means of gaining market share or as a
recruitment tool, we are playing with forces that can easily get out of
control. We are giving cover—and sometimes a sense of purpose—to the
crazy among us.

"We have enjoyed a relative period of innocence in American politics.
We have been mercifully free of assassination in recent years—even as
we have pumped up hyperpartisanship and coarsened our civic dialogue.
But we are not immune from the larger cycles of violence that
occasionally erupt and shock even the most stable societies in history.
1968 is forty years and one bad day away. That’s the problem with hate;
it ultimately leads to violence."

As cable news has morphed into a kind of sideshow entertainment, on both sides of the political divide, I've thought that the spectacle has been merely harmless, so over-the-top that it can't possibly be taken at face value. Now I have my doubts. You do have to wonder: Is this something that cable news chieftans are worried about or, at the very least, even mindful of?

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