"Television, by its very nature, is like any of us: It wants a story to hew to a basic outline of sense," says Hank Stuever. "Sense is the only way for words and pictures to line up; there’s a process to it, between the street and the control room and the anchor, and a belief that even the most complicated events can be shaped into a live narrative, something a viewer can follow. Then there are those times — rare, we can all hope and pray — when sense gives way to televised chaos. Watching as the participants of a peacefully ongoing protest near Washington’s Lafayette Square ran from tear gas Monday evening, so that, as the clouds dissipated, President Trump could stride out of the White House to brandish a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church — it was a TV moment that will linger forever, awfully, in our shared history. There was the chilling possibility that you were watching another large chunk of your country — and your freedom — fall away. It was a draining spectacle, and to their credit, nearly every news channel (save for you-know-who) deemed it to be a callous photo op. And yet, after Trump and his gang turned and walked back to the White House, there was still more news to watch unfurl. What power is the president asserting? Anchors called out to their on-scene reporters on 16th Street NW, on I Street, at Farragut Square: What are you seeing? What is happening? What is happening, what is happening, what is happening." The problem, says Stuever, is broadcast news is dependent on "sense-making," which has been nearly impossible to do amid the protests. Stuever adds: "For some time now, we’ve been saying that our country has become a TV show. Some say reality show, some say dystopian drama. Many of us made the mistake of thinking it was a different kind of show, mainly about politics, and that we were only a season or two into it. It’s becoming clearer all the time what the show was always about: unresolved and barely mitigated cruelty, injustice and hate. It’s been on for 400 years."