ABC promised that The Conners — unlike Roseanne — would steer clear of incendiary Trump-tinged political commentary, but it appears the network found a workaround.
Near the end of Tuesday’s Halloween-themed episode (on the East Coast), the network ran a pro-Republican ad — paid for by President Donald Trump — targeted at midterm voters. The spot declared that “things are getting better” under Trump before warning, “We can’t go back.”
The ad gave the impression that unemployment skyrocketed during Obama’s administration, touting a misleading 9.7 percent jobless rate. Only in the fine print did it note that the data was early into Obama’s first term; the unemployment rate when Obama left office in 2016 was 4.8 percent.
Some viewers expressed revulsion at the ad on social media (see below).
Wow, i was just passing by #TheConners to check it out and saw the worst, lying, pandering political TV ad for Republicans I’ve ever seen. I knew I stay away from network TV for a reason.
— Kate Showalter (@kateshowalter) October 31, 2018
Commercial shown during #TheConners: “Vote Republican”
— Kc (@93pct_stardust) October 31, 2018
This ad paid for by Donald Trump blah blah blah
And this is the reason people watch streaming tv instead of networks. I am mostly enjoying The Conners, but not that ad.
— Rachel (Dropped Her Pen Name) Heney❄️ (@RachelDHeney) October 31, 2018
TVLine has reached out to ABC for comment.
Earlier this month, ahead of The Conners‘ launch, EP Bruce Rasmussen insisted to Variety, “We’re not doing any more of the Trump stuff. It’s more about working-class people and how they live their lives. If that comes off as political in spots then that’s how people will perceive it.”