Fox News Clamps Down on Trump Pal Jeanine Pirro

Jeanine Pirro - H 2015
Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

The opinion host says she's blocked from appearing on Newsmax and Bill O'Reilly's podcast to promote her new book. Add a Sinclair TV show to the list.

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro has a new book to promote, but her employer isn't making it easy on her.

During a radio interview with Sebastian Gorka on Tuesday, Pirro said that Fox has restricted her outside media appearances to promote the book, Radicals, Resistance, and Revenge: The Left's Plot to Remake America.

"You know Fox reviews everything. They're unbelievable," Pirro told Gorka during a commercial break on Tuesday. "They're still saying you cannot do Bill O'Reilly, you cannot do Newsmax."

Another conservative media company can be added to that no-go list: Sinclair Broadcast Group.

"I asked for Jeanine (who's a dear friend of mine) to come on my show, America This Week on Sinclair, to promote her book," former Fox News host Eric Bolling told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. "Her book PR guy, Adam Weiss, told me Fox rejected my request." (Weiss has not responded to a request for comment.)

Gorka, a former Fox News contributor, suggested on Tuesday's show that Pirro has a "carve out" to promote her book outside the network, to which Pirro replied "no."

According to an individual with knowledge of the network's practices, Fox News personalities are often given a three-week window to appear on outside media organizations to promote books they've authored.

Competitive impulses could also factor into the network's reluctance to let Pirro promote the book on other networks, as both Newsmax and Sinclair court the conservative viewers that flock to Fox. (The network has taken pains to distance itself from O'Reilly, who was forced out in the spring of 2017.)

Newsmax boss Chris Ruddy, who has taken rhetorical shots at the network in recent interviews, wasn't pleased by Pirro's admission. "I think it shows Fox News is deeply worried about us," he told THR in an email. "We are growing quickly and we’re now in 70 million cable homes, ready to go head-to-head with Fox. As you know, talent from competing networks usually are allowed to go on other networks to talk about their books. Fox is signaling they don’t have a lot of confidence in themselves."

Former Fox News executive Ken LaCorte said the network sees Newsmax as a competitor, albeit a much smaller one that doesn't pose a major challenge to its cable news ratings dominance. "It makes sense they wouldn’t want their people to be promoting them or One America News Network," he said.

On Tuesday's show, Pirro also confirmed to Gorka that Fox suspended her in March, when she made inappropriate comments about Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

A longtime friend of the Trump family, Pirro has broken from some of her fellow Fox opinion hosts by making regular speeches to organizations that support the president's re-election, despite a network ban on "any talent participating in campaign events."

On Oct. 20, Pirro is scheduled to appear at a brunch organized by JEXIT, a nonprofit organization founded "to educate and encourage American Jews to leave the Democratic Party … and join President Trump, the greatest friend to Israel and the Jewish People." The brunch, part of Pirro's book tour, will be held at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

She's also scheduled to promote her book at three events held later this month by a group called Trump Team 2020 Florida, as well as a "Liberty Dinner and Auction" held on Oct. 25 by the King County Republican Party. (A Fox spokesperson did not respond when asked twice in July whether Pirro's scheduled appearance at the event is in line with company policy.)