For reading off a teleprompter and not using the tone of a schoolyard bully, Donald Trump is getting unprecedented (unpresidented?) praise from the industry he assailed last week as "the enemy of the people."
Journalists and commentators from outlets including CNN, National Public Radio, and The New York Times are calling Trump's Tuesday night speech to a joint session of Congress "presidential." Even CNN contributor Van Jones, a frequent Trump critic, praised at least some aspects of the address. These members of the media, however, are getting plenty of blowback too.
Jones singled out the moment when Trump paid tribute to Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, who died this year in a raid on Yemen designed to capture or kill terrorists or at least gather intelligence. As the cameras focused on Owens's tearful widow, Carryn, who was in the audience, Trump said her husband's deed was "etched into eternity."
"That was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics, period," Jones said on CNN. He acknowledged that there is still much reason to fear and oppose Trump, but added, "He did something tonight that you cannot take away from him. He became president of the United States."
Now, one could point out that Trump has been president since he was sworn in January 20. But some members of the media are commending him simply for acting like a president instead of a spoiled toddler who didn't get his way.
"Trump is so erratic, spouting falsehoods on the regular and boasting about his election win at inappropriate times, that all it takes to impress many journalists is a single hour of acting like what he is -- president of the United States. Trump's bar is practically subterranean, and the media grades him on a curve," Callum Borchers wrote in The Washington Post.
Others characterizing Trump as presidential included CNN's Jonathan Karl:
Chris Wallace, who's generally one of the less biased people at Fox News:
The Huffington Post's Sam Stein:
NPR: "Donald Trump's first speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night was the occasion for his most presidential performance to date, balancing a reprise of his angry campaign themes with a recitation of hopes and dreams for the nation."
The New York Times: "The most presidential speech Mr. Trump has ever given -- delivered at precisely the moment he needed to project sobriety, seriousness of purpose and self-discipline."
But the blowback came swiftly -- in Borchers's commentary, noted above, plus a barrage of tweets and other opinion pieces:
And go here for The Advocate's take.