Praising genuine seriousness

PRAISING GENUINE SERIOUSNESS…. We talked earlier about some of the frustrating media reactions to President Obama’s debt-reduction plan, most notably from Time‘s Mark Halperin and Politico. The criticism had a certain vapidity — Halperin said Obama’s plan “failed” to be sufficiently “paradigm-shifting” — that didn’t match the credibility of the proposal itself.

But in fairness, it’s worth emphasizing that Halperin and Politico, while obviously powerful and influential, don’t necessarily speak for the political media establishment as a whole, and their takes don’t reflect the D.C. consensus, at least not always.

Greg Sargent is right to note that “many Beltway establishment media figures, while expressing some reservations, actually hailed Obama’s plan as very serious indeed.”

The Post editorial board praised Obama for “an important and welcome contribution to the debate” and said the President is “correct to call for new taxes.” Joe Klein hailed Obama’s “sense of proportion and sanity.” Marc Ambinder’s piece described Obama as “reasonable” and “courageous.” The Times editorial board pronounced Obama “reinvigorated.” Fareed Zakaria declared the speech “important” and “serious.” The Los Angeles Times editorial board said Obama’s plan “offered more concrete steps than the GOP did.” Chris Cillizza pronounced the speech “successful.” […]

It’s true that some of the above voices hailing Obama’s performance are center left. But they represent an important chunk of the political media establishment. And the clear consensus among them was that Obama’s speech was eloquent and effective, and that his proposal was — yup — “serious.” Some of them even hinted that Obama’s plan is more serious than Ryan’s, if such a thing is possible.

That’s reassuring. In fact, I noticed the DNC was circulating a collection of endorsements of the president’s vision from a variety of major dailies’ editorial boards, including, in addition to the ones Greg mentioned, this good one from the Boston Globe. There were also some noteworthy observers — Capehart, Dionne — who liked what they saw and had no use for the conservative line.

Halperin and Politico, in other words, don’t speak for the whole industry, and in this case, are arguably in the minority. Under the circumstances, that’s a good thing.