Politics

Judge Jeanine Pirro’s Book Should Be Number One on New York Times Best-Seller List — Why Isn’t It?

Some suspect anti-conservative bias again, as weekly rankings don't square with those of others

Image Credit: Courtesy, Judge Jeanine Pirro

“Radicals, Resistance and Revenge: The Left’s Plot to Remake America” is Judge Jeanine Pirro’s latest book, published on Aug. 27, 2019 by Center Street, a division of the Hachette Book Group.

Many signs indicate that right out of the gate, the new book is a huge success. “Radicals, Resistance, and Revenge” sold 26,950 copies in its first week after publication — making it number one in adult nonfiction book sales on the Nielsen BookScan list. (NPD BookScan counts U.S. cash register sales of print books at most major retailers by tracking the books’ ISBN numbers.)

Pirro has also widely promoted the book on many Fox News Channel appearances and elsewhere over the past week.

Mincing no words, she examines in the book how “anti-Trump conspirators” have committed possible crimes against the country.

The Fox News personality and host of the popular “Justice with Judge Jeanine” program says that those on the political Left don’t care about the well-being of the United States right now. “We’ve got people on the Left, the socialists, the progressives,” Pirro said recently on “Fox & Friends,” “and I talk about the Democrat clown car … I go through every one of them in this book and what they’re standing for. They want to give Medicare to every illegal who comes into this country and make you pay for it” — as one example.

These “radicals,” she said, are “out to get revenge” for President Donald Trump’s election in November 2016.

She said they’re angry “that the Democrats didn’t win and that we’ve got a president who is out there, who is showing us what America could do, that America can be first.”

Wrote one reader on Amazon about the book, “In colorful and fast-paced language, Judge Jeanine discusses ‘the biggest political upset in history’ and how the socialist Democrats just won’t quit.”

Said another, “Pirro’s style is conversational, yet it’s prose … It’s also extremely obvious that she knows her subject intimately and cares wholeheartedly. This is not a part-time gig for the judge; it’s her passion. She loves this country and has dedicated this stage of her life to shining a light on the flimflam and fodder that has befallen much of politics.”

Judge Jeanine Pirro / Radicals, Resistance and RevengeBefore her successful television career, Pirro was the first woman elected as county court judge in Westchester County, New York, in 1991. Two years later, she became the first woman elected district attorney in the same county. Her prior book, “Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy,” out in 2018, was a number-one New York Times best-seller.

But most people may not know, judging solely by The Times best-seller list, that her new book’s been a runaway best-seller — as Pirro’s book appears only at number three in the new listing, even though it sold that astonishing 26,950 copies in one week.

Here are two other oddities to consider.

Another top book this week, “Educated: A Memoir,” by Tara Westover, had sales figures of 20,547 for the last week. That put it at number two on the Nielsen BookScan list — but number one on The Times best-seller list.

Even stranger, “Becoming” by Michelle Obama — which virtually every liberal outlet in America publicized widely when it first came out in November 2018 — had sales for the past week of only 9,677.

That made it number four on the BookScan list.

Yet it’s listed as number two on The New York Times best-seller list — ahead of Pirro’s book. What’s up?

“This is an obvious move by The New York Times to suppress Judge Jeanine’s voice and impact on the national political dialogue, but it will backfire,” a member of her publicity team told LifeZette on Thursday.

Ronald Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, a presidential historian and author of the forthcoming book “Mary Ball Washington: The Untold Story of George Washington’s Mother,” told LifeZette by phone on Thursday, “The New York Times best-seller list is prestigious in the publishing world, but it’s not representative of book sales outside of the New York metropolitan area.”

Shirley added, “The New York Times looks at the world through rose-colored glasses — but at least it knows it does, unlike other publications,” he added, mentioning in particular The Washington Post.

LifeZette reached out to The New York Times for comment about its best-seller list. A spokesperson, Danielle Rhoades Ha, vice president of communications, shared the following comment by email on Thursday afternoon: “The Times’s best-seller lists are based on a detailed analysis of book sales from a wide range of retailers who provide us with specific and confidential context of their sales each week. These standards are applied consistently, across the board, in order to provide Times’ readers our best assessment of what books are the most broadly popular at that time. Our methodology is published with the lists online. Ms. Pirro is familiar with the integrity of The New York Times. In fact, her New York Times best-seller ranking is the first thing she mentions on her book cover, Twitter page and website.”

The Pirro book ranking this week is not the first time, however, that conservatives have mistrusted what they see on The Times’ best-seller rankings.

In April of 2018, nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist Dennis Prager — the founder of Prager University — wrote about this topic in an article entitled, “The Times Best-Seller List: Another Reason Americans Don’t Trust the Media.”

“As a writer (who, for the record, had a previous book on that list), I have long known it isn’t a best-seller list, and I don’t pay attention to it,” Prager wrote in National Review last year. “But I paid attention last week [in April 2018] to see whether my recently published book, which opened up on Amazon as the second-best-selling book in America, was on the list. It wasn’t.”

He went on: “The book, ‘The Rational Bible: Exodus,’ the first volume of a five-volume commentary on the first five books of the Bible (the Torah), was number two in nonfiction on The Wall Street Journal best-seller list; number two on the Publishers Weekly nonfiction best-seller list; number one on Ingram, the largest book wholesaler in the country; and, according to Nielsen BookScan, the organization that tracks 75 to 85 percent of book sales, number two in hardcover nonfiction. In fact, according to BookScan, it outsold 14 of the 15 books on The New York Times hardcover nonfiction best-seller list. But again, it is not even listed on The New York Times best-seller list,” he added.

Related: Q&A with Dennis Prager: ‘God Will Ask You Why You Didn’t Vote’

He was “told years ago,” he also wrote, that “The Times best-seller list almost never includes overtly religious books. I believe it but cannot prove it. I was told The Times doesn’t even monitor Christian-bookstore sales. (Though many Christians have bought my commentary, few of its sales thus far have been through Christian bookstores.) At least as suggestive of bias is that the number one hardcover nonfiction book on The Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly lists, ’12 Rules for Life’ by Jordan B. Peterson, is also not listed on The New York Times best-seller list.”

“Is it a coincidence that Peterson is a conservative,” Prager asked, “and that I am a conservative and my book is a Bible commentary?”

Prager, very importantly, also wrote this: “The New York Times best-seller list is not a best-seller list — which even the New York Times once acknowledged.”

He explained further: “In the early 1980s, William Peter Blatty, author of the monumental best-seller ‘The Exorcist,’ sued The New York Times for putting his novel on the list only one time, even though it sold in the millions,” Prager also wrote. “In defending itself before the court — as reported by ‘Book History,’ the annual journal of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (Penn State University Press) — The Times said, ‘The list did not purport to be an objective compilation of information but instead was an editorial product.'”

Nearly a year-and-a-half ago, the National Center for Public Policy Research confronted The Times about its best-seller lists at an annual shareholders meeting, in an effort to better understand the process. It didn’t get very far.

“The New York Times claims to be all about truth, but today [at that April 2018 meeting], all I heard were the same denials and lack of transparency that have been the hallmark of The Times best-seller list for years,” said Justin Danhof, general counsel for the group’s Free Enterprise Project. “The company’s executives claimed that there is simply no bias whatsoever in its best-seller selection process. For a company that claims to focus on facts and the truth, this is simply unbelievable.”

The center reported that at the meeting, Arthur Sulzberger, The Times chairman, avoided the question about the best-seller process and claimed the company must protect its methods to avoid a situation in which authors might game the system to get on the list. His son, Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger, “took the façade a step further and claimed that there is simply no bias in the process and that many liberals have also complained about their books not being on the list,” the center also noted.

“When is the first, last, or only time that a liberal author complained that The Times list blocked him due to anti-liberal bias?” asked Danhof.

Conservative radio host and longtime best-selling author Mark Levin has long claimed media bias against conservatives and devotes his best-selling new book, “Unfreedom of the Press,” to precisely this topic. Levin is host of LevinTV, chairman of Landmark Legal Foundation, and host of the Fox News show “Life, Liberty, & Levin.” He’s had six consecutive New York Times number-one bestsellers. To date his new book has sold some 356,470 copies.

“This is America. We’re the greatest country on Earth. Why can’t people recognize our success and the wonder of this country? No, they want to bring it down,” Pirro told Ingraham.

Meantime, Pirro’s new book is right now identified as a number-one best-seller in political commentary and opinion on Amazon.

It is also listed as number one on Publishers Weekly nonfiction hardcover frontlist, as of right now.

Wrote another reviewer on Amazon about Pirro’s new book, “[It] contains facts — lots of them. It’s not just vain platitudes and meanderings. The facts are supported with solid, verifiable research. Both sides or perhaps all three sides of this political agenda are presented. Sure, the conservative voice is singing the lead line but this is most definitely not a solo; this is a fair discourse that represents facts as events occurred and where recorded by the media. They will be eating their own words with this collection.”

Pirro said recently during an interview on Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s podcast, “Radicals [including former FBI head Jim Comey] will do anything they can [against America] … And you know what? This is America. We’re the greatest country on Earth. Why can’t people recognize our success and the wonder of this country? No, they want to bring it down. They want to destroy it, and destroy a presidency. It’s craziness.”

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This article has been updated with the Publishers Weekly data. 

meet the author

LifeZette's Editor-in-Chief Maureen Mackey helped launch the site from its earliest days and previously served as its managing editor. Prior to her time at LifeZette, she held senior editorial positions at several national publications and is a former book editor. Her work has appeared in many outlets including Real Clear Politics, CNBC, The Fiscal Times, A Fine Line, AARP Magazine, Reader's Digest, and Fordham Magazine. She is a member of the Newswomen's Club of New York and the American Legion Auxiliary. She can be reached at [email protected].

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