By Reed Irvine and Joe Jablonski
September 26, 2001

      The misnamed Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting had just come out with a report on the alleged right-wing bias of Fox News when Paula Zahn was fired as host of a Fox News Channel show, the Edge. Zahn, a retread from the liberal networks, proved that Fox was not as conservative as some people thought. Looking back, it’s curious she was hired in the first place.

      When Paula Zahn was at CBS, she was regularly criticized by conservatives for having a liberal bias. To cite one example, she was part of the liberal media campaign against welfare reform back in the mid-1990s. She suggested that forcing welfare recipients to work would be devastating. "There is already a great deal of fear and anxiety all over the country over the impact it will have," she said. The Media Research Center found Zahn guilty of smearing conservatives, such as the time she interviewed presidential candidate Pat Buchanan on the CBS This Morning show and said to him:

      "Even your sister concedes…[some voters are] very turned off by some of your social policies. And you know you’ve got political enemies out there calling you an isolationist, a bigot, you’re anti-gay, and some even go as far as saying that your social stands are reminiscent of Nazi Germany. How are you going to win them over?" One of our favorites is the following from Paula Zahn back in 1992, as Bill Clinton was running for president: "Making headlines this morning: Bill Clinton comes up with a plan for the economy – tax the rich, cut the deficit, and help just about everyone."

      Zahn, at CBS, joined the 60 Minutes scare campaign over the use of Alar on apples. She introduced one story on CBS This Morning by asking, "Do you guys like organic food? We’re going to be talking about it coming up. Interestingly enough, about one in four Americans is turning to organic food because they’re scared of Alar and the use of pesticides in their food." Of course, there was nothing to fear from Alar. It was a hoax concocted by 60 Minutes working with a radical environmental group.

      In 1989, when she was at ABC, Paula Zahn sang the praises of the Castro dictatorship, saying, "He [Castro] said he wants to make a better life for Cuba’s poor. Many who lived through the revolution say he succeeded.... Today even the poorest Cubans have food to eat, their children are educated and even critics of the regime say Cubans have better health care than most Latin Americans." This was also bunk.

      She apparently was hired at Fox because her name was well-known. Other former big three network personalities who have been hired by Fox included former ABC newsman Brit Hume, NBC’s Jon Scott and Linda Vester, ABC/NPR reporter Jim Angle, and former MSNBC anchors Laurie Dhue and John Gibson. But Even at Fox, Zahn didn’t sound conservative. She once interviewed George W. Bush and skewered him about his proposed tax cut, saying, "…even members of your own party aren’t crazy about your tax-cut idea. They think it’s too big…They’re abandoning you. Why?" It didn’t sound like Paula Zahn was ever a conservative on a right-wing news channel. She’ll be more at home at CNN.

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