Why is CNN's Paula Zahn acting as Rush Limbaugh's megaphone?

››› ››› NICOLE CASTA

In the last six weeks, CNN host Paula Zahn has aired audio clips from The Rush Limbaugh Show on Paula Zahn Now on five separate occasions; on three of those five occasions, she offered no counterpoint. Media Matters for America has documented radio host Limbaugh's use of extreme, hateful speech and his reckless disregard for facts and the truth.

On September 20, Zahn aired clips of Limbaugh and radio host Randi Rhodes commenting on the controversy over the authenticity of memos that CBS's 60 Minutes revealed on September 8:

ZAHN: But first, the CBS story is playing in the world of talk radio from the right and the left.

[begin audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: If anybody now believes this didn't come from somewhere within the ranks of the Democratic Party then you need have your head examined. You need to go back in for a brain transplant or perhaps go in and get some IQ drugs, because there's something you are seriously missing what is happening here.

[end first audio clip; begin second audio clip]

RHODES: I'm not even going to bother with it except to say bad, bad, bad, bad form, CBS. Really bad form. In these days and in this troubled time, you really got to check your facts.

[end audio clip]

On September 22, Zahn aired clips of Limbaugh and radio host Ed Schultz commenting on the CBS memos:

ZAHN: [T]he buzz about the CBS story today from talk radio's right and left.

[begin audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: The idea that CBS has to even appoint an independent commission, what does that say about them? Stop and think of that. CBS is admitting that we can't trust them to investigate themselves.

[end first audio clip; begin second audio clip]

SCHULTZ: The righties are using this Rather story, and, of course, Rather handed them the gun. You have got to admit that. They have made serious mistakes at CBS. But they're [conservatives] just carrying that out, carrying this out, and trying to milk this for everything it's worth.

[end audio clip]

On September 29, Zahn aired a clip of Limbaugh commenting on the next day's presidential debate:

ZAHN: [H]ere is what conservative talk radio is saying about tomorrow's match-up in Miami.

[begin audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: There's a piece in The New York Times today: [former presidential candidate and Vice President] Al Gore advising [Senator John] Kerry on how to debate Bush. Folks, I will tell you, what have I always told you? The more you fail in the Democratic Party, the higher your status is in that party.

[end audio clip]

On October 4, Zahn aired a clip of Limbaugh commenting on Kerry's voting record:

[begin audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: Senator Kerry, show us in your records, sir, your 20-year record where anything that you're saying you want to do notice -- I don't care, senator, if it's foreign policy or you want to talk about domestic policy. You show me, anywhere in your voting record, where what you voted for is anything like what you say you want to do today.

[end audio clip]

ZAHN: Well, that's what Rush Limbaugh wants to hear from Senator Kerry on Friday night.

On October 26, Zahn aired a clip of Limbaugh commenting on the nearly 380 tons of missing explosives in Iraq:

ZAHN: And here is the take on the missing explosives from talk radio's Rush Limbaugh.

[begin audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: It seems that The New York Times is the daily talking points for the Kerry campaign. Anyway, whatever's on their front page ends up being what Kerry talks about on a given day. He called it one of the greatest blunders of Iraq. He trashed Bush for failing to guard a pile of explosives, and, by implication, he trashed our military that he so fondly supports. These are the people that support the troops, folks.

[end audio clip]

On October 26, MMFA wrote to NBC, asking that network not to feature Limbaugh as a political commentator during its election night coverage, as it did in 2002.

Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.