NPR has a series this week about the current level of distrust Americans have with government. The latest installment, Americans Distrust Congress? That's No Surprise, ties some of the low opinion of Congress to the highly partisan rhetoric. What the story hints at, but does not state explicitly, is that partisan rhetoric is a positive feedback loop. Those who pay attention to politics, and therefore fund campaigns and watch political shows, tend to be more partisan. This encourages politicians and political pundits to be more partisan (to increase their base/donations and viewership, respectively). This in turn gives credence to and reinforces those more partisan views of their constituents and viewers. Unfortunately, the articles fails to mention the fact that all of this partisan rhetoric is mere theater; a means to get elected and re-elected in perpetuity. It is a means to distract the general public from the fact that partisanship only exists on the fringes of the political debate. Both parties are happy to do the bidding of the same lobbyists on issues that actually matter.