THE L.A. TIMES KEEPS ROCKIN’! Threats against members of Congress are skyrocketing. It’s changing the job.

Four years of Trump’s divisive and racist rhetoric played a role, they say, emboldening people to say things publicly that they might have grumbled about privately in the past.

It’s also a side effect of growing partisanship and declining civility. Members have contributed to the problem by sometimes encouraging their supporters to harass political rivals. And activists find it more acceptable to confront lawmakers, not just at town halls but at the officials’ homes or as they eat in restaurants.

Some threats have escalated into violent physical attacks.

Before Jan. 6, there was the 2017 shooting of Republican members of Congress and staffers at a practice for the Congressional Baseball Game, and the 2011 shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at a constituent event.

The surge in threats has grown exponentially in recent years. In 2016, Capitol Police investigated 902 threats, former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving said in a June 2017 letter to the Federal Election Commission. By 2018, there were 5,206 threats, and by 2020, there were 8,613, according to Capitol Police figures provided to The Times.

Exit quote: “Experts blame much of the increase on social media and cable news, and how easy it has become to threaten members of Congress behind the anonymity of the internet.”

It’s certainly a newsworthy topic, and as the above quoted passage illustrates, the L.A. Times tries to maintain the thinest veneer of objectivity. But it’s tough to take an article on threats to politicians seriously when it comes from a newspaper that just smeared the first black candidate for governor of California as “the Black face of white supremacy. You’ve been warned,” compared him to David Duke and the Klan— and downplayed the physical attack that he received.