Trump Pressured Fox News Not to Fire Jeanine Pirro

Trump Pressured Fox News Not to Fire Jeanine Pirro April 26, 2019

A few weeks ago, Jeanine Pirro gave a particularly vile monologue on immigration — even for her — and was pulled off the air for a couple weeks. It looked like she might be fired, but Donald Trump actually intervened and called Rupert Murdoch to pressure him not to fire her but to put her back on the air quickly.

That happened in March when Fox suspended Jeanine Pirro for delivering an offensive monologue questioning Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s patriotism. Trump quickly criticized Fox and lashed out at Fox journalists, tweeting: “Were @FoxNews weekend anchors, @ArthelNeville and @LelandVittert, trained by CNN prior to their ratings collapse? In any event, that’s where they should be working, along with their lowest rated anchor, Shepard Smith!” He implored Fox to “keep fighting for Tucker”—Media Matters had uncovered a series of offensive statements Tucker Carlson had made while calling in to Bubba the Love Sponge’s radio show—“and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine.”

Inside Fox, staffers speculated Pirro would be fired, two sources told me, but Trump pre-empted such a move by calling Rupert Murdoch to complain about her suspension. Fox agreed to allow Pirro to come back on the air but cut her opening monologue, a venue for her most incendiary rhetoric. When Trump found out about that, he called Rupert again, a source said. A compromise was proposed: Pirro could return and deliver a shortened version of her opening statement. “Trump called Rupert, and Rupert put pressure on the executives,” a source briefed on the conversations told me.

Because that’s not problematic at all. Can you even imagine if President Obama had called CNN or MSNBC to pressure them to keep a host on the air who had been loudly in his corner on pretty much everything? The right’s heads would explode. This is coming dangerously close to being Pravda, state-run media.

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