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September 17th, 2009
02:24 PM ET

Is Civility dead?

By now, you've more than likely heard about Congressman Joe Wilson yelling "You Lie" to President Obama as the president addressed Congress last week.  

A few days later, tennis star Serena Williams unleashed a profanity-laced tirade when a judge called a foot foul on her.

And even if you weren't watching Sunday night's VMAs, you've probably seen video of Kanye West crashing the stage and taking the microphone from Taylor Swift as she gave her acceptance speech. 

So we want to know, what's behind this kind of behavior? is it acceptable? Where are we learning it? As a nation are we so self-centered that we don't think about our actions toward others? Are we teaching our children the correct way to behave? 

This Saturday, September 19th in our 4pm Eastern hour, we're exploring the topic "Is Civility Dead?" We would like to hear from you on this subject.  Please send us your questions and comments.

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. David from Colorado

    No. Look at the British parliment. It is perfectly civil to dispute any argument at any time. If the dispute happens to be valid the person disputing the claim has done us all a service. If its invalid the truth will come out in more definite terms.

    September 17, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  2. Elsa

    I do indeed believe civility is missing , we have so much excess that we do not care of others. What right no matter who you are is it to get in the face of a fellow person with out respect or morale constitution. I fear that the connectivity people once had who danced with decency and common curtesy has been punked out. It is ok now to shoot , hit , ridicule others without a second thought. People make a joke of it human life is not sacred anymore . I fear a great deal and hope decency and common respect will once again return before we kill all ourself

    September 17, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  3. Mina

    Civility is dead we ALL mistreat one another and we learn this behavior from eachother people aren't nice never were 🙂

    September 17, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  4. Chandra Greer

    For 10 years I've been devoting myself to promoting civility through my Chicago stationery store. Our motto (which we've printed on our business cards) is "Civility is Not a Sign of Weakness." We've even created a portable thank you note called Civilettes to promote kindness, appreciation and civility.

    When I started my business I made civility its central mission because I was so concerned about the devolution of civility in our society. I think it's essentially, an increasing tendency we have to focus on OUR feelings, OUR thoughts, OUR time, OUR comfort at the complete exclusion of everyone else's. Sadly, what we seem to miss is that courtesy, respect, consideration, etc, are not just mere niceties. They are an essential fiber that helps hold us together as a society.

    In a way, I am ecstatic about this recent rash of bad behavior because it has forced the issue of civility into the public square where it very much belongs. I salute you on your special and will be watching with great interest.

    September 17, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  5. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    Civility is dead long time ago when we use tactics as calling whiners consumers and citizens to kill the topic of Health Care Reform.
    Congressman Joe Wilson yelling “You Lie” to President Obama as the president addressed Congress last week is a clear example that Civility has a clear problem.
    Tennis star Serena Williams who unleashed a profanity-laced tirade when a judge called a foot foul on her is also an example of Civility somehow being lost in this society of ours.
    Kanye West crashing the stage and taking the microphone from Taylor Swift as she was giving her acceptance speech for her award on the VMAs is also an example of a lack of Civility in our Society being tough is not the answer.
    I think we have to blame to tough law programs and maybe the old cowboys in town from the previous Washington Administration. Society needs to understand that being tough is neither the answer nor confrontation. This lack of judgment it is not acceptable but when we use as a backup the observation of the free enterprise to take a hostile control of situations that is the way that civility is affected.
    The lesson is taking a long time to be handle appropriately and sadly we are learning it from the television. In many ways the nation is so self-centered and it does not think who gets affected and for how long. Just look up the example of the Health Reform Situation in America. The reality is that Republicans with the use of the Free Enterprise was choosing who was killed. Many patients have suffered thanks to the lack of action on the topic and many citizens have lost their fight.
    I wish that this people will ask themselves first what are we teaching our children the correct way to behave.
    I hope that this Saturday, September 19th in our 4pm Eastern hour CNN will explore the topic of”Is Civility Dead?” I hope that they will explore how this also affects Persons with Disabilities on their Services like transportation, housing, etc. Civility is something that is not discuss too much. When we denied services to those most needed the Civility is affected in our jobs and livelihood.

    September 17, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  6. AmyD

    Yes, civility is in dissaray, America is in the gutter in more ways then one.
    Don't just look at Kanye, Selena Williams, or Wilson's comment to the president.

    Look also at the beating on the school bus, Haeligh Cummings teenage parents', Casey Anthonys' narcissism, Micheal Kings' emotionless body language, and the Georgia woman who got beat by a man in front of child. What are all these stories telling us about American society??

    It's selfish, it's narcissistic, it's greedy, and violent.
    And I feel safe in my country saying that America needs more God and to become more humbled. I took my daughter to Florida for a mini vacation and I was deathly afraid to let her out of my sight.

    Amy D
    Ontario, Canada

    September 17, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  7. Laura

    I was once assaulted, and then told by the assailant "I am still learning how my actions affect other people." He was 21. What he had in common with these public figures was an incredibly narcissistic personality. That's the real problem. Figuring out WHY people become so narcissistic would by a huge first step.
    I come from a small town...we don't have that problem.

    September 17, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  8. Laura

    I'm reading Crime & Punishment right now; in a dialogue, it is more or less stated that selfishness is fundamental to capitalism...I'm just saying, is all.

    September 17, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  9. James of Houston

    Among some, civility is dead. As a good example, the biggest "racist" of all is Jimmy Carter.

    He sees racism everywhere he goes, especially in Israel! He actually believes the fence they built to protect themselves from the homicide bombers is "racist"!

    "A national debate on race that Barack Obama had hoped to avoid was ignited today when Jimmy Carter claimed that much of the opposition to the president has arisen because he is black.

    The former president said racism had come to the surface across the country because of a belief held by many whites that an African American is not qualified to be in the White House.

    "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American," Carter said. The Republican party today issued a denial, saying Carter was "flat-out wrong" and that opposition was not because of Obama's skin colour but his policies."

    September 17, 2009 at 9:06 pm |
  10. Laura

    My main question is how do we fix this problem? It's quite clear to me that a lot of Americans don't want to grow up, it's like we suffer from Peter Pan syndrome. Children think they are the center of the world, as they should, it turns into a problem when fully grown men and women still think that.

    September 18, 2009 at 1:51 am |
  11. Jan O

    Civility suffered a severe blow when Dr. Spock began his domination of child rearing practices in the U.S. The emphasis was on the child always feeling good about himself. It is no surprise that these self centered children grew up to be self interested adults void of consideration for others and ignorant of the rules of civility.

    September 18, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  12. beatrice

    Politicians haven't been great examples to our kids on the subject of civility and how to deal with disagreements... that's the least I can say.

    Showing Obama as a witch doctor or comparing him to Hitler is out of line and shocking. After all he wants to bring health care to everybody, he wants to do bring something good to the American people. If the insurance companies cannot any longer drop you if you have preexisting conditions because of Obama reforms, he will be forever my hero.
    There is a difference between showing Bush as the devil (something I disapprove) and showing Obama as a witch doctor. The reason why is this: the first one sent people to war in Irak (for reasons we are not sure about) the second one wants to bring social justice, something as we can see, is difficult to bring on this planet of ours.

    September 18, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  13. Mike Armstrong TX.

    The civility is the same as it has always been its just only noticed more when a black person is involved.

    September 18, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  14. Anita

    I heard Nancy Pelosi call G Bush names, I heard her call American citizens who went to townhall meetings names, I have heard a lot of uncivil talk out of her and she is elected and holding a powerful US office. Why isn't she held responsible

    September 18, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  15. Sandy

    I must say, I've seen much of this in certain news shows from anchors and it so very disconcerting and troubling. However; compassion for others and civility is the responsibility of parents, period! I raised my daughter to be strong, compassionate, respectful and respected and I instilled good manners ...guess worked!

    September 18, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  16. Ines

    Of course civility is dying here in the USA, we are raising a generation of narcissists.
    A nation of no-spanking or parents failing to teach kids the respect of their elders, leaving it all up to the teachers.
    Therefore raising a bunch of spoiled brats.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  17. Michael91325

    Being on top of your game means standing- strong on your own -will
    For the long run- this is the all American dream -if created by the person.
    Working with a team of people sometimes pollute -workmanship of
    Sound works that everyone benefits- and the person that stand on the front
    Line -Call it battlefield among his or her peers feel undefeated.
    Yet around the corners lurk alternatives within your camp and it has been
    Name Ego. Male or Female always hanging about giving advice told of others
    As if the imposters very own thoughts not tried or tested- always in the
    Ear of the Author claiming this will work and our leaders always feel them
    Are safe with sound advise that has creep around and lie in wait for their
    Failure a Country divided will not stand a war with men that will not fight.
    AND MAKE THIS COUNTRY STRONG! So you little male girls get busy
    Making the right decision that are sound and true. I will shout at every
    Turn of injustice

    September 18, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  18. Jim D

    Why does Obama refuse to answer the tough questions.?
    Why does obama run to the safty of 15,000 SEIU workers when he could have addressed 1.7 million people in DC on 9-12?
    Why does Obama only go on elitest news show's that will only ask soft questiion when he could be reaching out to millions of independents who watch FOX.
    My father always said the truth will never hurt you only the lies. Mr President you have hurt the country and the office that you hold.

    September 19, 2009 at 7:08 am |
  19. Michael Reynolds

    "selfishness is fundamental to capitalism"

    I think that this says it all! The system of government that has been in place for over two hundred years has bred a society of really selfish people who have a misguided sense of entitlement.
    Maybe a stab at socialism is just what this country needs to wake people up to the fact that we're all in this together.

    September 19, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  20. Rebecca Dalmeida

    It is not surprising that bad behavior is on the rise when it is not only tolerated, but rewarded by being publicized. Instead of people being shunned or disciplined for bad behavior they get media coverage. What message does that send our kids?

    September 19, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  21. Mark Manz (San Francisco Ca)

    As a Human Being, If I shouted "you lie" to anyone in lets say a meeting setting, I would not only say sorry to that person but everyone in the room. It was the way I was raised to admit my mistakes and be a better man.
    Sad to say the way it is now Joe Wilson seems to think its ok to just say sorry to Obama, At this point its not about Civility its about Republican VS Democrat
    This is how it works now, and as Americans we shoud be very sad and be e mailing all of them to stop the games and work together and set an example.
    Its not only a Republican issue, both partys cant not work together and Civility is tossed out the door as Big Banks get Billions Unemployment is over 12% in 4 states and they sit in there chairs with there "own" ideas how things should be fixed and we suffer most familys try to feed there children as the bicker and fight rather then doing what we elected them for and helping americans

    Who needs Civility? Who needs to say sorry? they dont they get there checks every 2 weeks they get there healthcare for there familys, they have there jobs.
    so who cares about us, as long as they can make it on the news and bash each other and tell there side of the story.

    we sit and watch and wait hoping someone someday will be the bigger person and say there sorry and get back to work for the people of this country.
    Americans are hurting, equal rights are being taken away and put on the back burner , people dont have health insurance, they dont have jobs, some dont have homes.

    And there focus is "I am not saying sorry" and "you need to say sorry"
    we suffer we wait and we are loosing our Civility because were tired of all of them and suffering because of them ALL of them.

    September 19, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  22. David

    I just look close to home. One is hard-pressed to travel through Washington, DC, without encountering aggressive drivers who do not give pedestrians the right-of-way, people who are pushing newspapers at passers-by, segways who push pedestrians off the sidewalk, and obnoxiously rowdy teenagers on public transportation - to name only a few examples. It is enough to make one reflect often.
    I believe that the loss of civility is a function of larger losses: the loss of quality in public education, the loss of stability on the workplace, the loss of high-minded discourse in politics.

    September 19, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  23. Bill

    Lets start with the simple civility of showing respect. How about the one person that should set the ultimate example. I am speaking of the President of the United States. President Obama does not even have the civility of Saluting the Marines when he steps off Marine One ( noted this week) He did become the Commander and Chief !

    September 19, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  24. David R.

    The prison mentality has seeped into polite society. No slight, or perceived slight, can be ignored and must be met with aggression in order to circumvent any hint of weakness. Having manners and being polite and considerate are considered weak traits in today's society.

    September 19, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  25. Teri Goodreau

    What's eroded is our ability to put ourselves in another's shoes (empathy), leaving us in our own little minds. What's lost: a whole world of experience

    September 19, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  26. OPGeorge

    Joe Wilson may have apologized but he is still calling the president a liar. He still says Obama is not telling the truth. Isn't not telling the truth the same as calling someone a liar.

    The 60s and 70s activists started the process of shouting, screaming etc to get their views out, now the right has figured out that tactic works and works effectively and they will use it to push their agenda into the media spotlight since it works for them.

    We are becoming a nation of rudness plain and simple

    September 19, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  27. pcfrost

    I don't think civility is dead in America. I know I am civil and polite to everyone who is to me and often to those who aren't. And it's not dead in my friends either! I know everyone is able to drop their civil behavior at times, I can but choose not to. There are many online that never bother with it at all though. I've always wondered if they would be that rude in person and maybe Mr. Wilson's outburst answers that some cases anyway they will be that disrespectful in person.

    I am unsure about Wilson's civility level prior to his loss of control, I don't know him. He may not have had a polite bone in his body to begin with. Or it maybe he reserves decorum for those he likes or wants something from. Or he may have been overwhelmed by emotion and unable to control himself. Any of those aren't qualities I'd be proud of or want in a representative.

    September 19, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  28. Marjorie

    Civility isn't dead, it's just been forgotten. We've all heard the old saying "If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all". Seems the opposite now, never a kind word, just complaining and whining, lots of whining.

    It starts with simple things: next time you're at a casual restaurant take a look and see how many men still have their hats on or who's patient enough to wait for that senior to walk infront even if it slows you down. I'm 49, consider myself an open minded democrat, My young sons 20-14 yrs, open doors for me at buildings, they don't throw their fast food trash on the ground, they wait their turn. I gave my bankers flowers from my garden when they went the extra mile for me. Simple things that say thank you, or you're appreciated.

    Maybe if we try to pass on to our children and others around us, these little acts of civility, it will start to slowly but surely make a comeback. If people learn by example, just set a good one, instead of a selfish one.

    September 19, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  29. Jack Williamson

    Of course, civility is dead. 90% of the time, your commentators not only will not lesson to a conflicting view, but they will not even let the other individual present their view with interrupting. Microphones should be controlled to allow indiviuals to speak without interruption.

    September 19, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  30. George C. Fl

    What has happened to the playing of "Hail to The Chief" to announce the arrival of the President? It is my understanding that President Obama discontinued or severely restricted it. That was the beginning of the break down of civility. It was intended to command awe and prestige to that office. Those who do not know the value of what they have are bound to squander it. Our governmental officials have been leading the path down a slippery slope. One said, "The CIA lied." Anohter said, "The Police are stupid." and another shouted inappropriately, "You lie." Then such rage trickles down to the rest of society. I call upon our leaders, beginning with the President to begin the process of restoration before things escallate any further!

    September 19, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  31. GG

    I am so impressed by our President to be able to rise above the tired rhetoric of the screaming Rightous Right, Right Radio and FOX news. These people and the skulking Republican Party that does not have the moral fiber to chastise them (follow the money) have fostered this uncivil discourse.

    How perfect that the President will not be on FOX News. We should all turn our backs on them and treat them like the ranting, misleading, bulling children that THEY are......

    September 19, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  32. Michael Whitt

    Born in the 1950's to a Republican mother and a Democratic father, I learned there were two sides to an issue and they could be discussed with respect and tolerance. Name calling like socialist, communist, traitor and even the reincarnation of Hitler was isolated and not common place in the public discourse. How can that facilitate a debate on the issues. This nasty rhetoric will lead to nasty action by people and mobs, perhaps ever an assassination. From the talk coming out of the far right this would seem like the duty of any patriotic American. Just ask Limbaugh or Beck. Hitler and Stalin did not come to power by violence alone. First came the rhetoric. Carrying guns to a Presidential appearance is not civil, it is an act of defiance and hatred. Obama may be wrong on a particular issue but I don't think he is the devil incarnate like some would have us believe.

    September 19, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  33. Sherry

    Media takes the brunt for many things, and this is an area where media has forwarded bad behavior by showing it. There is truth, and there is spectacle. When we see programs like HardBall, where the host is rude enough to interrupt the guest continuously, students see and emulate. Media is responsible for so much good, but oftens does not edit itself appropriately, but sensationalizes. Shame on us for wanting that.

    September 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  34. Bea

    Americans are opinionated people striving to constantly be heard. Civility gets trumped when emotions come into the picture. Anger management is key.

    September 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  35. Kimberleigh/Gainesville,FL

    Civility went out the door, when you had people who did not want prayer in school, when you have people who refuse to say the Pledge in school (because GOD), is stated in this pledge; when you want to change the money/$1 of the United States courency (because in God, we trust) is printed on the money! And civility went out the door when you get people like Wilson DISRESPECTED THE FLOOR OF CONGRESS AS WELL AS OUR PRESIDENT. No one in their right mind would have excused this behavior if PRESIDENT REAGAN, was President, so why are we accepting and excusing an elected official, in which we...THE LITTLE PEOPLE, put this joker in office! I don't care about people like Serena Williams or Kanye West having out burst, their just showing us their behaivor issues & lack of self control. I don't excuse their behavior, nor do I care...CAUSE I DIDN'T ELECT THEM TO DO WITH THEY DO. However, a different issue. People....think and open your eyes! this country...NO! We have no respect for anyone. And my grandmother is Creole w/ a funny french last name from her daddy, and the man who married her is a Sicillian man with also a funny last name; and I am an AMERICAN, of the black race, who has African, French, Sicillian and AMERICAN blood running through her veins....

    September 19, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  36. joyce hoelscher

    I don't know but something is happening out there. Look around. Violence on school busses, men hitting women in restaurants, not to mention that rude congressmen from South Carolina. Right here in our neighboring town a man killed a women while she was walking her dog because "he was angree and she was just there"

    September 19, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  37. Ed in Richmond, Va

    Civility is only dead if we as a people allow it to be. I feel it has more to do with "RESPECT". There are people who have truly earned it. Than there are those who think they deserve it. Whatever the case is, you must give respect if you expect it in return. In many of the situations this past week most of the outbursts came from those who think they have a right to do just as they feel and have no regard for who they hurt in any situation or venue. I for one say that we should truly support those who have earned respect and ban those who abuse it.

    September 19, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  38. Bob In Florida

    You may not want to hear this...but.... I believe that the cable news outlets are the MAIN CAUSES of bad behavior, interuptions, talking over each other and general disrespect for the other person(s) involved in debate or opinion discussions.

    It is a multiple daily occurance on CNN and other cable news organizations that over-talking, interuptions and shouting to get one's point across, but moreso to drownn out the other person(s). INCESSENT moderators INTERUPTIONS makes me yell at my TV, "Shut up and let the person answer!!!!" Often I wonder why you'all even have people on, just to interupt them constantly.

    September 19, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  39. C D E Blake

    Not only is civility dead, education's dead, kindness is dead, wonder and delight are dead, respect and integrity are dead, consideration is dead. Name it - if it takes more than a knee jerk reaction, it's dead. If people behave otherwise, CNN gives them 15 seconds of fame. Jeeeeez!

    September 19, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  40. Tatiana

    Would you yell at your boss "You lie"? What would happen to an employee who would yell that during a meeting?

    September 19, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  41. MDean

    Does anyone remember John McEnroe (White Male). Why haven't we gone into the archives to show his outbursts in comparison?

    September 19, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  42. Bill Trublood

    Our own Persident has told us lies to get into office(no earmarks, will look hard at every dollar spent) and then has lied non-stop to our faces since (we can keep our insurance, it won't cost us a penny). What do you expect? If our own leader has no morals why should we?

    September 19, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  43. Ed in Richmond, Va

    Civility is only dead if we as a people allow it to be. I feel it has more to do with “RESPECT”. There are people who have truly earned it. Than there are those who think they deserve it. Whatever the case is, you must give respect if you expect it in return. In many of the situations this past week most of the outbursts came from those who think they have a right to do just as they feel and have no regard for who they hurt in any situation or venue. I for one say that we should truly support those who have earned respect and ban those who abuse it.

    September 19, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  44. Steve Ladas


    I would like to comment on civility, but the outfit Fredricka Whitfield has on is a major distraction. I'm having a hard time concentrating. That color combination works really well for her, very attractive pick.

    Is it civil to say so?

    As for Serena Williams, why don't the tennis powers-that-be allow for a replay. Give each player the ability to dispute two calls in a match?

    Is it possible that controversy helps to sell the sport which is why common sense approaches to fix the dilemma aren't tried?

    Still a Fan,

    September 19, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  45. Chuck

    In my opinion, a sincere apology should start with apologizing directly to the person you offended. Instead of addressing the public or your fans, start by apologizing to the one you offended then the public or fans will respect you more.

    September 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  46. phillieo (fill-e-oh)

    Serena has been a victim of a lot of bad calls throughout her career so it was understandable to me that she went a little crazy. It was the threats that got her in trouble.

    September 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  47. Deb

    The apologies were far from sincere, especially from Serena Williams. She did not apologize, she seemed to justify her behavior and said that she was "in the moment". The inescusable behavior of West at the awards show is normal for him, since this was not his first time. An apology is not giving reasons to justify your behavior. I also thought that Serena Williams behavior was not just rude, but also threatening, because of the way that whe was using her racket and pointing at the line judge. This, following an earlier tantrum where she smashed her racket. These people show an arrogance that is sickening.

    September 19, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  48. Paul Braun

    Back when Christian Bale yelled at someone on the set of his movie "Terminator" I started to become cynical that it was staged. Afterwards everyone started talking about the movie and the buzz probably increased the number of people who went. I am sorry to say we are too quick to accept false apologies. The same buzz is happening with KanYe West. Suddenly all this attention just before he's on Leno and he has something new coming out? Same with Congressman Wilson. This cannot be the first time someone was THAT passionate in Congress. This was staged.

    September 19, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  49. Paul Diamond

    Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naive, the unsophisticated, the boorish deplore these formalities as "empty," "meaningless," or "dishonest," and scorn to use them.

    No matter how "pure" their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best.

    The '60s was a time of innovation in art, science and society. However, the worst thing to come out of that time is the rejection of civility and respect for institutions,and for each other. We tried to promote love and forgot to include respect.

    September 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  50. dianne08

    Why is bad behavior accepted in some sports and not others? Fights break out all the time in baseball, and a hockey game isn't even considered a hockey game unless a fight breaks out. Why would it be more acceptable for a Wayne Gretsky to loose control and not a Serena Williams?

    September 19, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  51. Bill

    More wag, less bark!


    September 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  52. Charles

    Civility has gone out of control, but the four instances that you brought up should be judged on their merit. Starting with Conye West, he was drunk and definitely behaving badly. There is no excuse for his actions.

    Serena Williams behaved poorly, BUT the tennis official was just as much at fault. The tennis official made an incorrect call. I did not see a foot fault. Such a call on the official's part would have been a non call in other sports with so much at stake. Plus the official lied and said that Serena threatened her. That was not true.

    Roger Federer was caught up in an official’s error. Too much time had elapsed for the official to grant an instant replay. The official made matters even worse by telling Roger to shut up. A school teacher can be disciplined for telling a student to shut up.

    Joe Wilson did not genuinely apologize. Saying that he was told to apologize is not a legitimate apology. This was not an expression of his beliefs that he did something wrong. Republicans encourage this type of behavior as seen at the Tea Party rally. Wilson’s situation was reminiscent of the Republican leader who led the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton. When that Republican leader was caught having an extramarital sexual affair with a woman, he was given a standing ovation by other Republican Congresspersons. Joe Wilson even profited by more than a million dollars after his outburst. President Obama had his facts straight. President Obama made the right call, Joe "you lie" Wilson was allowed to profit by more than a million dollars.

    September 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  53. Vicki

    As a senior citizen, I have seen civility decline, to the shame of the country. To my own discomfort, I VIVIDLY remember every single time I ever did or said something stupid, careless, or hurtful. Those memories will NOT go away no matter how I rationalize my actions; but I like to think they have made me into a better person. Wilson, Williams, and West will suffer for their outbursts, even if those who were subjected to their childish behavior are powerless to stop them.

    September 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  54. eliz.

    Recent disturbing comments remind me that civility is all about politeness and manners. Why is rude behavior occurring in epidemic proportions? My guess is that because Obama did not deliver miracles immediately upon taking office he’s being blamed for all the problems created by a previous administration, and the blame is getting low down and dirty. It’s like a mass temper tantrum. The trouble is nobody feels better and it compounds the situation. If students were better versed in civics — the study or science of government and the obligations of citizens — as grown-ups they would know how to conduct more mature, intelligent discussions and express appreciation for their country, the miracle we call the United States. Hopefully, the tide will turn, success will be achieved, and respect will prevail so that political dialogue will be welcomed with respect for universal diversity.
    it will hopefully die down when at least barebones healthcare legislation is passed. i invite people to write government officials to spearhead mass psychological counseling & support groups for EVERYONE during these challenging times. people are rude beyond belief and shocking family violence is on the rise! they’re afraid that what little they have will be taken away from them and need to be accurately informed.

    September 19, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  55. Paul Diamond

    Talk radio and some of our news media distort the meaning and purpose of this country. They do it rudely and sarcasticly. They foster an attitude of beligerence and tell their listeners that anyone who disagrees is their enemy.
    There is a recent poll that showed a lack of knowledge of civics among young people. That is nothing new. Most people couldn't tell what our country is about or what is our purpose.
    The purpose of this country the vision of our founding fathers is " Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..." Anything that doesn't meet those purposes, those ideals is should be rejected and discarded.
    Civility and good manners, as good Americans, as good citizens, is insuring domestic tranquility.

    September 19, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  56. Paul Diamond

    Talk radio and some of our news media distort the meaning and purpose of this country. They do it rudely and sarcasticly. They foster an attitude of beligerence and tell their listeners that anyone who disagrees is their enemy.
    This recent poll that showed a lack of knowledge of civics among young people. That is nothing new. Most people couldn’t tell what our country is about or what is our purpose.
    The purpose of our country the vision of our founding fathers is “…in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” Anything that doesn’t meet those purposes, those ideals is should be rejected and discarded.
    Civility and good manners, as good Americans, as good citizens, is insuring domestic tranquility.
    I have been listening to the rhetoric coming out of the conservative convention in DC is frightening. The last time there was this kind of talk of rebellion it cost 1,000,oo American lives and nearly destroyed this nation almost before it had begun.

    September 19, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  57. Eric from Georiga

    As CNN runs its review on the lack of Civility, why was there no coverage on the savage attack visited on the Army Reservist Tasha Hill?

    September 19, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  58. Sooner

    Civility is dead. It died when this country finally permanently divided itself. The Repulicans and Democrats will never see eye to eye and the more our nations problems fester the worst off we all will be.

    September 19, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  59. Samy Kroger

    Watched your show about "civility" today and you showed many pictures of town hall meetings and the "tea parties" and the recent "protest" in Washington. In those cases the lack of civility stems from the fact that those who oppose this un-payable deficit, the debt being piled on us daily, the high rate of unemployment, the foreclosures, the government's involvement in businesses and Wall Street, the government wanting to "maintain our health", our environment, and our daily lives is stressing us all out! Voted for the current administration but the change that happened was not what was expected.
    Most taxpaying CITIZENS who have issues should be able to contact their members of Congress to make their objections/support known to that elected official. Support letters are acknowledged while civil objections are ignored, emails are blocked, viruses are sent to senders, phone calls ignored, faxes not acknowledged and one generally is “cut off” from contacting that congressman. One can become terribly stressed by this situation and frustration would be demonstrated at a “tea party” or a “protest”. You also mentioned the radio talk show people and their input on the situation of “ lack of civility”. While some get emotional, what they are doing is warning the people about situations happening in our government. You seem to want to blame those people for promoting the “lack of civility” but that is not a fact. They present facts for people to listen to and ponder. If one checks things out, there is usually some truth to the matters. Most don’t think so, but they are trying to HELP us all by allowing us to investigate and decide on our own. Watching CNN is much the same, Things are checked out and a decision is made on information provided. Responsibility!
    The people of this country are tired of being lied to by Washington (that was suppose to change), of being duped by Washington (that was suppose to change) of double standards (Rep. Wilson was chastised in the house yet Rep. Rangle has still not “fessed up” to his wrongdoings nor has Sen. Dodd-Countrywide???). The folks at the “tea parties” and the “protests” have a right to lack civility–they are being treated un-civilly by this government!!!

    September 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  60. irene

    i believe the panel (and cnn) should have put more focus on the half-heartedness of joe wilson's apology (if you want to even consider it an apology). the media has stopped reporting that it was only done at the arm twisting of his colleagues. yet, the push back from the public and the media to kanye and serena's missteps have been much more severe even though their apologies were far more humbling. joe received the minimum penalty for disrepecting the president and the congress! however, funds raised for him have gone through the roof. no disapprovel of this has been expressed by the media.

    September 19, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  61. Laura

    If you read Navarette's commentary on narcissism, you'll read that this a a recent generational thing. The one thing I can think of that could lead to narcissism is the camera and TV...the camera is definitely a tool the feeds one's vanity. Just a thought.

    September 19, 2009 at 9:34 pm |
  62. tau

    tj i studied jounalism and this is not it. This is the president job. I just hope true jounalism will come back.
    Lord have mercy.

    September 20, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  63. Mike

    This stuff has been going on forever. We can just see it a lot easier now with the comprehensive news coverage and the ability to get the story out with the internet. Nothing new here, just everyone can see it a lot easier.

    September 20, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  64. Ruth will

    Note to CNN, you didn't post my blog 9/18/09, so I'm going to try again, one last time. CIVILITY, begins @ Home. Its starts with good, parents,
    schools, TV, radio, and the examples, yes also set by movie, sports
    stars, and politicians. My mother used to point out that even commercials
    as the following teach childern rudeness, "I DON'T LIKE THAT PEANUT
    BUTTER, I Want SKIPPY peanut Butter". Children Ape what they see,
    and we are all products of our culture, from Shock Jock radio, to video
    games that teach not just rudeness but imply even violence is some how
    OK? To some how imply that this involves gross racism, because our President is Black, is an outrageous, and continues to milline if not further fuel such false accusations! President Bush was HATED by the far Left, and even many of the self-described moderates. No doubt including many of your own CNN reporters, who never missed a chance to milline, attack, and treat him with as little civility as possible. In demonstrations against the war among other things, he
    was villified, burned in effigy, signs depicted Him as Hitler, and worse, etc. I went to the 912 march in D.C., I grew up there by the way, and
    all my extended family still reside in the Md., Va, Subburbs currently,
    ( I have 7 bros & Sisters, to many extended fam. lives there to count),
    I currently reside in MO. and consider myself an independent voter.
    And I resent the fact that politicians , like Pelosi, etc.,Entertainers , like
    Letterman, and the media like CNN , Go out of their way to depict the
    citizens currently protesting Obamas policies as Racists and or uncivil
    etc. I don't remember any of you lodging these kinds of accusations
    when Bush was being viciously attacked, or for that matter when
    Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, or Condi Rice, either. Hugo Chavez
    called Condi Rice, A Monkey, just a few years ago, and I was Totally
    discusted. Yet our New Black president , went almost right away to So.
    America to meet with that Creep, and accept a book from him on of all
    things Marxism!! So what did he expect people to think, he's further fanned the flames about his own ideologies of communism by hiring
    people like Van Jones, among others, DUH? Since I WAS @ THE 912
    MARCH, I can rightfully tell you, the Vast majority of people there are
    extremely concerned and respectful AMERICANS. THERE was not
    ONE ARREST, that day, one policeman remarked to me, it was one of the most orderly crowds he'd ever seen there. The Mall its self was left cleaner than I have ever seen it, after on of these protests or events( noted the mess of trash and ETOH cans, & bottles left post O's
    inauguration) And though not many there were Black protesters too,
    one of which came on our bus from Mo.,and who by thw way was not threatened nor did he feel people were being racist, because he GETS it. The issues that is. M. Whitt above mentioned some assassin-
    nation above and I find this an outrageously false charge, this is the Last thing any of us wants as Americans (sounds more like a FREUDIAN Slip on his part) All presidents have gotten threats from KOOKs, this has nothing to do with LAW biding protesting Citizens
    so WHY?, WHY? even bring it UP

    September 20, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  65. Cheri

    How could I get a copy of Is Civility Dead? Will that program be repeated? If so, when? I so appreciated the info and thoughts.

    September 21, 2009 at 9:12 pm |