American changed the channel

Mr. Trump has often said, not without justification, that the news networks were addicted to him as much as he was to them: “Without me, their ratings are going down the tubes.”

But the Trump presidency proved something else as well. People may like to watch exciting TV shows. They do not necessarily want to live inside one.

And for four years, that’s what we did. We were redshirt extras inside a potboiler driven by, and customized for, the adrenaline urges of a conflict junkie. The unceasing tension. The ever-ratcheting drama. The tweets that became news that generated more tweets. What was the latest story line? What was the president mad about today? What did you get mad about today?

The TV-addict president assumed that everyone else found constant battle as invigorating as he did, that they, like him, would rather be relentlessly upset than momentarily bored. He tweeted out links to his choleric TV interviews with a hearty “Enjoy!” There was no apparent irony. Why wouldn’t people enjoy all this? Everything was so exciting!

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