Lots of talk about civility, but what do we actually know?
Protestors on opposite sides of the fight against the proposed mosque near the World Trade Center site fight about their views.
January 14th, 2011
10:18 AM ET

Lots of talk about civility, but what do we actually know?

This week, the country has echoed with thoughts about whether or not the tone in politics these days has created a hostile issue. The opinions on extreme speech are one thing. Looking at the actual evidence of what's happening in society (or not) is another.

In part three of our series on this issue, CNN Radio's Lisa Desjardins looks at the recent tone in the U.S. and asks an expert in extreme speech how something like general hostility could possibly be measured.

Arizona State Professor Steve Corman responds that in society as a whole, it's difficult, but he points to new ways researchers are picking up on trends.

We also ask, are people who are prone to violence usually triggered by specific issues and words that matter to them or by the tone of speech in general?

Corman's answer: "It's more the manner in which debate is conducted than, I would say, the issues."

Click here to listen to part three:

You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports podcast on itunes or subscribe to the podcast.

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Filed under: Politics • Protest • U.S.
soundoff (37 Responses)

    we are all a bunch of idiots

    January 15, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. brice

    holy crap politicians will find a reason why i didn't brush my teeth on a tuesday of last month. the kid went nuts because the government is pretty stupid. plain and simple. politicians and the government itself is actually trying to stick up for themselves for the moronic things they do and what happens in this country.

    January 16, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dudley4637289

    How civil are we? Anyone watched reality TV lately? Respect is as dead as the Dodo. The newest generation has grown up seeing that it is normal to, "slam," "beat down," "serve," "get your swerve on," and a hundred other terms that mean speak disrespectfully. Even the word respect is misused, there being no verb "disrespected" until a recent colloquialism was coined, inappropriately.

    Further, no retribution is allowed in society today. In a previous generation it was an unspoken agreement among people that if your speech became disrespectful you could expect a mouthful of soap, and when you got older, knuckles. Rarely did anyone then call a cop to solve an argument, having the sense to learn and accept a little humility.

    January 17, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
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