This promotion comes on the heels of the news that longtime Fox personality Jesse Watters will take over the 7 p.m. hour as the permanent host of Jesse Watters Primetime, leaving his weekend show Watters’ World. Pirro will also be giving up her weekend show, which airs on Saturdays at 9 p.m., and “a new weekend line-up” will “be announced at a later date.” The press release about Pirro also said network contributors Jessica Tarlov, Harold Ford Jr., and Geraldo Rivera will be The Five’s rotating liberal co-hosts.
Pirro’s history of starring in some of the network’s most despicable and unethical scandals creates a quagmire for advertisers who wrongly thought The Five was a safe haven on the network. Large companies like Liberty Mutual, General Motors, Ford, Progressive, Kraft Heinz, and others will now have to navigate the impossible task of avoiding the landmines of conspiracy theories and bigotry Pirro will undoubtedly bring to the hour, if history is any guide.
Pirro was named alongside Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, and others in both of the billion-dollar lawsuits filed by voting systems companies Smartmatic and Dominion after she and her colleagues pushed a smear campaign against the companies in an effort to support Donald Trump’s bogus claims that he won the 2020 presidential election.
While Dobbs was unceremoniously fired in a panicked effort by Fox to save face after the lawsuits were filed, less than a year later the network is rewarding Pirro for pushing many of the same talking points. Here are just a few of the lies she pushed about the election:
- Pirro amplified the Trump campaign’s claim that Dominion Voting Systems was “flipping votes” for Joe Biden while calling for continued challenges to the election, saying, “They say the risk of our giving false hope should be enough to stop us two weeks later. I say the risk of not looking at what is staring us in the face is too great to not stop us.”
- Pirro hosted conservative attorney and election fraud conspiracy theorist Lin Wood to claim Democrats were “destroying ballots” and “tried to steal this election.” (In October 2020, she attended Wood’s speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual conference, reportedly as his date.)
- She promoted Sidney Powell’s outlandish lies about election fraud, asking QAnon figure and former General Michael Flynn, “Do you think that she’s on to something?” days after Flynn called for a military coup to steal the election.
- On her radio show, Pirro promoted a debunked conspiracy theory about servers used in the election being seized, quoted Wood’s claim that operatives were “shredding” boxes of ballots, and said, “This president is not giving up, and neither are we.”
- Pirro said Democrats changed election rules to cheat “under the cover of COVID” and touted Wood’s lawsuits over bogus voter fraud claims.
- Pirro attacked Bill Barr after the former attorney general said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the presidential election, running through a list of allegations that she said the Department of Justice needed to investigate.
- In an interview with Rep. Jim Jordan, (R-OH), Pirro said, “It's interesting. When you think about the fact that 73 million people voted for the president. What is it? Nine million more than last time when he ran for president? And yet, and everybody’s winning in the lower down ballot. It really doesn't make sense."
Pirro was a full-throated supporter of targeting Congress on January 6 in the effort to overturn Biden’s victory. In her opening monologue on January 2, 2021, she compared the upcoming certification of the Electoral College in Congress to Washington crossing the Delaware, saying election “irregularities were beyond minimal” and “January 6 will tell us whether there are any in Congress willing to battle for the America that those soldiers fought for, the one that you and I believe in.”
During that same hour, in an interview with Trump administration official Peter Navarro, she embraced the theory that Pence could object to the certification of the elections on January 6 and create a “10-day window” to overturn the Electoral College’s vote for Biden.
Off Fox and behind the scenes, Pirro was making moves in support of Trump’s anti-democracy campaign. According to a report in The Washington Post, Pirro successfully urged the Trump campaign to financially assist the sinister efforts underway in the Willard Hotel “war room” and help pay for the hotel rooms populated by Bernie Kerik, John Eastman, Steve Bannon, and others plotting to subvert the election and focusing their efforts on January 6.
In addition to her pernicious role in Trump’s attempt to illegitimately serve a second term, during the pandemic era she’s attacked public health measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and downplay the threat of the pandemic.
- In July 2020, Pirro appeared on London Real, a digital program that has previously hosted discredited anti-vaccination activists. She told host Brian Rose she wouldn’t get the coronavirus vaccine and said the point of wearing masks is to “dehumanize” and “frighten people.”
- Pirro fearmongered about contact tracing to track the spread of COVID-19: “Don’t you even think about tracing or tracking or giving me a card. It ain't happening.”
- Pirro praised Michigan protests against COVID mitigation efforts and said there will be more “all over the country.”
- At the very beginning of the pandemic, she said Democrats “over-blew what was going to happen in terms of the number of people who are going to die and now you're still telling us we have to stay home?”
- In March 2020, she said that “all the talk about coronavirus being so much more deadly” than the flu “doesn't reflect reality.”
Pirro has made a number of wildly anti-immigrant remarks. She has promoted the white nationalist conspiracy theory (the ADL called her out over it). In 2021 alone, Pirro accused immigrants of bringing “all kinds of diseases” into the country; she also said that “we are promoting a lower level of human being” with the immigrants who are coming to the country.
Pirro also blamed the Oxford, MI school shooting on “liberal school personnel.”
And it’s impossible to write about Pirro’s promotion without mentioning the time she was suspended from the network for saying Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) hijab means she’s against the Constitution. It was just one in a long history of bigoted anti-Muslim comments from the host.
While the network never addressed her absence at the time, months later, Pirro was caught on a hot mic confirming she had been suspended.
Unfortunately, conspiracy theories, bigotry, and sloppiness are apparently just what Fox is looking for in a host on The Five. Pirro’s promotion is yet another example that no hour of Fox News is safe for advertisers, and the brand-safety plan is to jump ship.