Here's a 4 minute overview of America's current hyperpolarization and it's causes, from NBC's Mike Viqueira (7/27/12):
See the trailer for Patriocracy, a film about America's descent into political dysfunction.
Here's a very funny video, from the Daily Show, in which a journalist who advocates that people take a civility pledge stands behind her claim that the Tea Partiers "economic terrorists." She doesn't realize that she's being held up as an example of incivility by the interviewer (John Oliver). I think the clip shows how useless civility pledges are. Everyone can pledge to be civil, and can then find ways to justify their own uncivil remarks. At CivilPolitics.org we do not endorse civility pledges. We endorse more indirect means to change environments and institutions that will end up causing more civil behavior. [haidt, jan 2012]
Jon Haidt, Co-Director of CivilPolitics.org, giving a TED Talk on the importance and difficulty of hearing the other side.
Jon Stewart, talking to Rachel Maddow, about how politics has "become tribal"
Eli Pariser (founder of MoveOn.org) talking about the "filter bubble" that prevents people from finding web content that doesn't match their existing views.
Juan Wiliams on the Daily Show, describing how he was fired by NPR merely for acknowledging, on the O'Reilly show, that he sometimes has anti-muslim fears in airports, even though he went on to argue against profiling and discrimination against muslims. His argument on the O'Reilly show was a great example of civility — acknowledging that some of the concerns of the "other side" are legitimate before stating your reasons for disagreeing. (This is the same strategy that President Obama used in his famous speech on race, during the 2008 campaign). But executives at NPR showed the sort of politically correct extremism that often leads to incivility on the left. Williams is promoting his book Muzzled: The assault on honest debate. The interview starts at minute 13:30 of the show. (Posted by Jon Haidt)