Critics of cable news, charging cable news with fear-mongering and irrational hyperbole, who deny that their criticism is leveled against the mental state of the public, can't have it both ways. You can't believe the public has been influenced by irrational hyperole without assuming the public is incapable of critical thinking and discernment.
In order to believe cable news has a detrimental effect, you have to believe the pubic is gullible and ignorant enough to be led by trumped up falsehoods. I don't believe this. I believe the public, for the most part, is fairly well informed and intelligent enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. For the last several years, the public has heard both sides of every issue and third and fourth sides on some issues, and now they are making up their minds and expressing their conclusions at the voting booth.
The public doesn't need pundits and comedians and politicians talking for them, they will expess themselves just fine without expert help -- they will be heard.