The biggest threat to American democracy isn't Trump's uncivil speech

Mr Trump’s lies can better be understood as libels – they state falsehoods that malign their targets. As a sitting president, Mr Trump is, of course, immune from suit (just as he might be immune from indictment for having obstructed justice). But this does not change the libelous character of his speech.

What makes these libels so toxic is not the injury they do to the reputation of the New York Times or CNN, though certainly they may serve to discredit these organizations in the eyes of some segments of the public; it is the injury they do to our democracy.