ABC News unveiled a new promotional campaign Tuesday in which “Roseanne” star John Goodman narrates – and some critics are pouncing on it.
“Your mom said, ‘Comb your hair.’ Your dad told you, ‘Smarten up.’ Your dog is judging you right now, and your best friend just called you crazy. We all need someone who will pull no punches and give it to us straight,” Goodman says.
The actor continues: “Now imagine getting your news like that. No bull, no spin. Just give it to me straight. Straightforward news. Straight to the heart of the story. ABC News. Straightforward.”
The ad features an adorable dog and an assortment of people of different ages, genders and ethnicities. One longtime media executive said it’s a clear attempt to capitalize on the success of “Roseanne,” pointing out that ABC has done similar things with other programming at peak popularity.
Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor said it’s the kind of promo that news outlets create when they are desperate not to promote their anchors, adding, “Who can blame them when they employ long-term Democrat operative George Stephanopoulos as their chief anchor and anchor of both ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘This Week?’”
Stephanopoulos is a former top aide to President Bill Clinton and a close friend of Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
The ad is in stark contrast with an early 1990s campaign that featured iconic anchors Peter Jennings, Diane Sawyer, David Brinkley and Sam Donaldson.
The managing editor of NewsBusters, Curtis Houck, said “it’s a little late” for ABC to tout straightforward news.
“Whether it's the violence in Gaza right now or going back years ago to ‘World News Tonight’ almost ignoring the 2014 midterm elections altogether, ABC is not any less worse than CBS or NBC in their inability to give it to us straight,” Houck said.
Some critics took to Twitter to declare that ABC must be attempting to reach conservative viewers by using Goodman. His most recent credit is as blue-collar husband and father Dan Conner in the network's revival of the sitcom “Roseanne,” which features Roseanne Barr as the pro-Trump main character Roseanne Conner, Dan's wife.
However, ABC's entertainment president, Channing Dungey, said on Tuesday that the network would scale back political storylines when the show returns next season.
ABC News has been under fire on several fronts of late. These include “View” co-host Joy Behar's having to apologize after mocking Vice President Mike Pence’s Christian faith.
Additionally, ABC News took some flak for an interview with former FBI Director James Comey that was “aggressively edited,” and it demoted its chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross, after he botched an “exclusive” report on Donald Trump and Russia. Ross was reassigned to ABC News’ outside production house, Lincoln Square Productions, after a four-week, unpaid suspension for the gaffe.
ABC News did not respond when asked if the people featured in the ad werer paid actors.