How Dan Bongino Parlayed His Nearly Daily Fox News Guest Spots Into A Trump Book Endorsement

Bongino is not under contract with Fox but is an ubiquitous presence on the network's opinion programming.

Dan Bongino is having a moment right now.

The three-time failed political candidate and former Secret Service agent has seen his name thrust into the mainstream in recent months due to the President of the United States blasting out his quotes on his Twitter account. Since May, President Trump has highlighted Bongino’s commentary on the Russia probe — which has all been negative, of course — five times.

The most recent tweet gave Bongino the prize every pro-Trump pundit covets — the Trump book endorsement.

What has helped Bongino get name-checked on the regular by the president and become a leading voice in the MAGAsphere has been his near-constant presence on Fox News. According to a transcript review through media monitoring service TVEyes, Bongino has appeared on Fox News and Fox Business over 160 times since February 1st. That breaks down to about 26 Fox hits a month. His appearances have been limited almost exclusively to the pro-Trump opinion/entertainment programs that the president loves to livetweet.

Here’s a breakdown of Bongino’s Fox appearances through August 15:

Fox & Friends/Fox & Friends Weekend: 62 times
Hannity: 44
Tucker Carlson Tonight: 24
The Ingraham Angle: 18
Justice with Judge Jeanine: 6
Lou Dobbs Tonight: 4
The Story with Martha MacCallum: 2
The Five: 1
Life, Liberty and Levin: 1
Outnumbered: 1
Watters’ World: 1

These numbers are typically what you would expect from a highly-paid network commentator or analyst. Bongino, however, is not a Fox News contributor. Currently, he is an NRATV host — who can forget how he owned the libs by blending whole lemons? — and a contributor to CRTV, which airs his podcast The Dan Bongino Show. And during his Fox segments, this is typically how he’s identified — podcast host or NRATV guy.

While Bongino’s level of notoriety is probably at its highest level right now, he’s been seeking political/media celebrity for a few years now. He left the Secret Service in 2011 to run for the Senate in Maryland, getting trounced in the general election by Democrat Ben Cardin. Since then, he’s traded on his Secret Service experience to write a couple of anti-Obama books that made it onto the New York Times Best Seller’s list (and, as we know, he has one in the chamber) and lose another couple of elections, including one in Florida after he moved from Maryland following his second defeat in that state.

That 2016 Florida election led to one of Bongino’s most notorious moments — an incident that has helped shape his public persona since. In a phone call with Politico’s Marc Caputo over Bongino’s criticism of a local news story, the then-Congressional candidate lost his temper at Caputo and yelled “shut the fuck up! … Go fuck yourself, you piece of shit!” before hanging up. Following Trump’s election, Bongino has played up his lib-slaying personality to the hilt, which one would guess is a major reason why Fox opinion show hosts have gravitated towards him.

But one has to wonder — if Fox values his commentary so much, why hasn’t he been brought on as a contributor with the network? Especially as he’s generally used for hot-button political and social commentary — specifically, the Russia investigation, which he has called an “obvious frame job” — and typically not specialized topics, such as law enforcement, in which he could be seen as a subject matter expert. On top of that, why is he essentially confined to opinion shows and not utilized on the network’s straight news programs to provide analysis? Is his analysis not deemed worthy for network’s news division?

We reached out to Bongino and asked whether he’d been approached by Fox News for a paid role as a contributor. We also questioned whether any of Fox’s daily ‘hard news’ programs — Special Report, Shepard Smith Reporting, America’s Newsroom — had approached him in the past few months to appear.

It was recently reported that another frequent Hannity guest, Fox News analyst Seb Gorka, has been banned from appearing on those shows as he is not seen by the news division as credible. It has also been observed that another member of the Sean Hannity Expanded Universe, Fox News contributor and investigative reporter Sara Carter, only appears on opinion programs.

We have also reached out to Fox News on Bongino’s status with the network and whether or not he is only booked to appear on opinion shows. The network confirmed he appears on Fox as a guest commentator but did not elaborate as to which programs book him.

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Media

Justin Baragona is the founder and publisher of Contemptor. He was previously the Cable News Correspondent for Mediaite and prior to starting Contemptor, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.
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