To anybody who watches cable TV news, it's clear that the nation has embarked upon a great political experiment. Its object would be instantly clear to readers of Neil Postman's 1985 classic "Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business."
To wit, is it even possible for a democratic country to govern itself when news becomes "infotainment," and infotainment, news?
At any given moment, one of two TV "news" stories predominates to the exclusion of all other topics: Donald Trump and terrorism. CNN has covered almost nothing else since the tragedy in San Bernardino. Tune in any time, day or night, and it's either Trump, terror, or panels of talking heads discussing them.
Meanwhile, the network has been running a countdown clock in the corner of the screen keeping viewers appraised of the weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds leading to the Dec. 15 GOP debate -- as if it were a moon launch or, more appropriately, a pay-per-view professional wrestling match.