ABC Touts 'Obama-Stock' and 'The American Pilgrimage' of D.C. Visitors

During Monday's "Good Morning America," the show's anchors and reporters did not hold back on the hyperbole while discussing Barack Obama's inauguration. While co-host Diane Sawyer discussed those Americans who drove across country to see the inauguration of the 44th president, an ABC graphic trumpeted, "Inauguration of Barack Obama: The American Pilgrimage."

During an earlier segment, referring to a star-studded concert for the President-elect, Sawyer gushed, "They are calling it Obama-Stock because the performances were unbelievable." In a third piece, former Clinton aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos breathlessly narrated how Obama has been handling final preparations for his speech: "...The President-elect is a real writer...He's in the tinkering stage, which means, like, he's even looking at each word and saying, 'Wait, do I need two syllables and not one?'"

While discussing the soon-to-be President's plans for the first 100 days, Stephanopoulos repeated the misrepresentation that George W. Bush somehow banned stem cell research. The "This Week" host said he expected action "on issues like stem cell research, repealing the ban on stem cell research." Of course, all Bush did with his 2001 decision was limit the use of federal funds for research on infant stem cells. States, private research and adult stem cell studies were unaffected.

A transcript of the George Stephanopoulos segment, which aired at 7:06am, follows:

DIANE SAWYER: And right now we have the bottom line, George Stephanopoulos here. Here come to you, George.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning.

SAWYER: Great to see you. So, bring us up to date on this morning in the life of the President-elect. Is the speech finished?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think Jake is right. I think the speech is basically done. They set aside some time last weekend for the President-elect to do his own real work. He likes to dig in on the speech and he did rehearse over the weekend including trying to get a handle on when you're up at that podium and you've got these hundreds of thousands of people going all the way to the Washington monument it's very hard to get a sense of the crowd and they're trying to warn him to be ready for the silence that you're not going to get a lot back immediately from the crowds. But also, as you know, Diane, the President-elect is a real writer. And now, as Jake said, he's in the tinkering stage, which means, like, he's even looking at each word and saying, "Wait, do I need two syllables and not one?" And really trying to get the rhythm of the speech down. But, it's done. No all-nighters on Monday night for this.

SAWYER: Even though his daughter did say, better be good.

STEPHANOPOULOS: High standard.

SAWYER: Yeah, right. It's great.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Go ahead. Beat Lincoln.

SAWYER: Something else is going to take place today which is also a measure of the bridges they are trying to build. They're going to have a dinner tonight which is going to honor John McCain.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that really is remarkable. This is an amazing story right here coming right out of this election and elections are always bitter. The President-elect and his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel made it a point to reach out to John McCain. They had a meeting in the first week after the election, with John McCain on a host of policy issues. When John McCain went overseas in December, came back and gave an interview to me and said, "First thing I did was called Barack Obama. He called me." Gave him a briefing. They've been vetting national security appointments by John McCain. I think the President-elect knows that he will be judged on his claims of bipartisanship if he can reach out to his opponent and I think he's hoping that John McCain on two big issues, national security and government spending, will be a key, key ally. He's really working it.

SAWYER: We should also say that General Colin Powell will be honored.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Vice President-elect Joe Biden.

SAWYER: And Vice-president elect. There is a story afoot that the White House staff is going to peel off right after- the White House staff-to be now- is going to peel off right after the speech and go right to work.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think that is very, very true. I mean, they have an agenda set for this first 100 hours of the first 100 days where they want to demonstrate, as they say, that they're going to hit the ground running. And it means actions on foreign policy. It means actions, executive order, maybe not in the first minutes but in the first couple of days on issues like stem cell research, repealing the ban on stem cell research. It means appointing new envoys to hot spots like Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan to demonstrate a fresh start in foreign policy, as well.

SAWYER: And we should also point out that the President-elect gave an interview to the Washington Post about race and basically talked about the fact that it will change how black children look at themselves and white children look at black children this election.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we're already see this in the country in our own polling show the number of Americans who see racism is a problem has dropped in half over the last ten years and the election clearly has reinforced that and I don't know how much time you had a chance to walk around here in Washington yesterday, Diane. But you can feel it everywhere. African-American families bringing young kids into Washington, all to capture this moment when an African-American takes the oath and it's just completely different.

SAWYER: Saw it on the train down. Linking arms with white families. They didn't even know and walking into-

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think for very young kids growing up white or Hispanic, it's just going to be natural pace, African-American president.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org