ABC Giddy Over 'Presidential Whirlwind' & 'Remarkable' Photos of Obama Passing Out Cookies

Get Diane Sawyer together with George Stephanopoulos on World News and they can't contain their giddiness over President Obama. Back on Friday, January 23, when Sawyer last anchored, Stephanopoulos hailed Obama's first three days as “disciplined and strategic,” thus enabling “sweeping change,” while Sawyer gushed over “change...at warp speed.” Monday night, Sawyer returned to the anchor chair and excitedly announced how “the trillion dollar week has begun” and so “finally,” as if it's been too long of a wait, “the stimulus starts to flow.” She soon heralded how “we embark on a week like no other in American economic history” with “a presidential whirlwind of spending against a recession.”
 
After a story from David Muir on the “dizzying and daunting amount of federal spending that President Obama will tackle this week,” Sawyer brought Stephanopoulos aboard to admire what Sawyer described as a “scrapbook, if you will, of the President's journey on the road to the stimulus package.” In other words, photos released by the White House. Nonetheless, she effused: “I want to show everybody at home, because there is the President, it's Super Bowl night, and he's serving cookies to congressional leadership in the White House screening room.” (jpg of the photo as shown by ABC.)

The narration switched to an awed Stephanopoulos: “These are just remarkable, Diane. We've never really seen anything like this before in real time.” Over a picture of Obama leaning back in a chair he oozed: “You see the President taking a little bit of a well-deserved rest right there.” Sawyer matched Stephanopoulos' smile: “Yeah, I wonder how often they'll take that scrapbook out and look through those pictures.”

Audio: MP3 clip which matches the video above of Sawyer setting up the pictures and the first words from Stephanopoulos (27 secs, 170 kb)

Neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News on Monday evening advanced the Obama administration's PR efforts by showing the official photos.

My January 23 NewsBusters item, “After 3 Days, Obama Delivers 'Sweeping Change' at 'Warp Speed,'” recounted:

ABC and CBS on Friday night delivered glowing assessments of President Barack Obama's first three days in office, with ABC's George Stephanopoulos declaring "this first week was disciplined and strategic" enabling "sweeping change." Fill-in anchor Diane Sawyer pronounced: "Change the tone and change it at warp speed."...

Admiring how Obama's discipline is meant to demonstrate he's "moving on all fronts to bring change," Stephanopoulos trumpeted how on day one and day two he's used executive orders to bring "sweeping change to open government," "sweeping change in foreign policy" and "then day three, today, two promises kept."
With “Trillion $ Week” as the on-screen graphic, Sawyer teased the Monday, February 16 World News:
Welcome to World News. Tonight, the trillion dollar week has begun. Finally, the stimulus starts to flow. Help for homeowners on the way. And car-makers coming back for more.
She led the newscast:
Good evening and welcome. Tonight, we embark on a week like no other in American economic history. From money in your pocket to mortgages to car-makers. A presidential whirlwind of spending against a recession. And David Muir is here to lead us off.
David Muir:
Diane, as you know, it is a dizzying and daunting amount of federal spending that President Obama will tackle this week. The economy, the auto industry and on housing and by week's end, he will have covered a trillion dollars in federal spending....
Following Muir:
DIANE  SAWYER: Let's turn now, because today they released some photos, a kind of scrapbook, if you will, of the President's journey on the road to the stimulus package. I want to show everybody at home, because there is the President, it's Super Bowl night, and he's serving cookies to congressional leadership in the White House screening room, George?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: These are just remarkable, Diane. We've never really seen anything like this before in real time. There were Republicans and Democrats at that first meeting. That's when the President hoped to get a lot of Republican support for the plan. It wasn't meant to be. We're about to see a picture, I think, right there, of the President meeting with the Republican caucus. You see that stern look on his face. He wasn't going to be getting much support from Republicans. The package started to lose some altitude and the White House believes that they turned the corner on getting support for this package, the President went on the road, right there going to Indiana, with the Indiana congressional delegation, going public with that prime-time press conference earlier this week [actually last week]. In Florida with Florida Governor Charlie Crist. And that built up public support for the plan as the week went on.

As we all know, by last Thursday, right there, Rahm Emanuel, the President's Chief of Staff, received word that a compromise has been reached and you see the President taking a little bit of a well-deserved rest right there.

SAWYER: Yeah, I wonder how often they'll take that scrapbook out and look through those pictures.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center