POLITICS ON A HAIR-TRIGGER…. Yesterday afternoon, ABC’s Jake Tapper had a fairly innocuous tweet: “One minute to air and they decided to take the flag down from the live shot!” It was accompanied by a photograph from Ground Zero, where an American flag was being removed.

It was a harmless little message. President Obama visited Ground Zero yesterday, and there were many American flags on display. Hours later, when Tapper was getting ready to appear on the air, he was disappointed about the change in backdrop. No big deal.

But then the right saw the message and took it to mean that President Obama had the flag removed for his appearance, hours earlier.

Drudge told his readers, “REPORT: Team Obama takes down US flag before Ground Zero event…” Conservative bloggers were driven to apoplexy, with one arguing:

This administration and, by extension, the Democrat [sic] Party are now so thoroughly divorced from the history, traditions and morals of America that we might as well admit the Marxist left has executed a successful coup d’etat on this Republic.

Other online Republicans were equally outraged, apparently never considering the notion that Tapper, posting an item at 6:30 p.m. (ET), hours after the president had left Ground Zero, might be referring to his own live shot.

Dan Amira explained, “Everyone makes mistakes, but this mistake illustrates the mind-set of some of the people who despise Obama with every fiber of their body. Even conspiracy theories that would appear entirely illogical to everyone else — like the American president ordering the American flag removed from ground zero — are readily embraced because they conform to a warped view of Obama’s patriotism.”

Agreed. Tapper’s tweet didn’t mention the president or “Tea Obama” or anything related to the afternoon’s event. The whole message was 16 words, and was a harmless complaint about a news backdrop.

But for the right, all politics is on a hair-trigger at all times. It just doesn’t take much to get hysterical, again, about Obama and their distrust of his patriotism.

It’s just not healthy for such a large group of Americans to hate their president this much.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.