We’ve known, I guess, since April that former CNN news anchor Paula Zahn and her husband of 20 years, real estate mogul Richard Cohen, were separating. We’ve also known that she had an affair. Celebrity marriages come and go like fashion trends, so I guess no one was very surprised. I don’t think I reacted at all, nor did I really even take notice of the news story when it unfolded.
Now, however, some additional facts are coming to light which actually do amaze and disgust me. First, the affair wasn’t a transient thing, but had been going on for at least two years. Second, the affair was with family friend and ContiGroup CEO Paul Fribourg, who often played golf with her husband. Third, Fribourg is himself married and has four children who are no doubt now learning what sort of man their father is. Fourth, to add insult to injury, Zahn wrote about her affair in lurid detail in a manuscript which her husband discovered; this is how he learned of the affair.
The media’s treatment of this is even more maddening. From TV Guide’s Ileane Rudolph:
Has Paula Zahn‘s love diary finished her? A journal detailing her extramarital affair with billionaire Paul Fribourg has put the former CNN anchor in the news. Zahn’s husband, Realtor Richard Cohen, discovered the incriminating chronicle “a while ago,” a friend of his tells TV Guide, but it was only leaked after Zahn sued her estranged spouse for mismanagement of more than $25 million in investments. His friend insists Cohen intends to honor their prenup, worth “tens of millions of dollars” to her. So what will the scandal do to Zahn’s career? “If she had been successful at CNN, it could affect her as a lead person,” a media consultant says. “At this point, I’d say she should look to be part of a news team.”
The very idea of Paula Zahn as part of a news team now is completely laughable. Here is a woman who has shown in so many ways that she has no integrity or credibility to speak of, yet we would have her reporting the day’s news or entrust her to bring us accurate information without distortion, concealment, or bias? What a joke! I’d rather hear a news program starring Ollie North or G. Gordon Liddy.
I reject all the arguments that apologists (who seem to come out of the woodwork every time a celebrity screws up) are offering to excuse her actions. Her marriage to Cohen was sexless and unsatisfying? That’s what divorces are for. She had a prenuptial agreement with Cohen that would have left her a very rich woman if she’d done the honorable thing and said goodbye to him before indulging herself. Cohen mismanaged her earnings? Suing him is acceptable, sleeping around on him is not, and that’s clear to anyone with a conscience.
I had some respect for Paula Zahn once as a journalist, but these actions go to her lack of credibility, and I hope no one even thinks of putting this reprehensible, morally bankrupt woman on the air anywhere!
Well, wait. That’s hasty. She might do just fine on a reality show, if they ever bring back something like Temptation Island.