CNN anchor Bernard Shaw dead at 82

Former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw died Wednesday at a Washington, D.C. hospital from pneumonia unrelated to Covid-19, Shaw’s family said Thursday. The show was 82 years old.

The show was CNN’s first main anchor and worked with the network when it launched on June 1, 1980. He retired from CNN after over 20 years on February 28, 2001.

Throughout his storied career, Shaw covered some of the most high-profile events of the day, including the Tiananmen Square student riot in May 1989, the First Gulf War live from Baghdad in 1991, and the 2000 presidential election.

Beloved CNN host and colleague Bernard Shaw passed away yesterday at the age of 82. Bernie was a CNN lighthouse and was our DC anchor when we launched on June 1, 1980,” Chris Licht, chairman and CEO of CNN, said in an interview. statement on Thursday. “He was our anchor for the next twenty years, from coverage of the presidential election to his iconic coverage of the First Gulf War, live from Baghdad in 1991. Even after he left CNN, Bernie has remained a close member of our CNN family, providing our viewers with context about historical events as recently as last year. We all at CNN offer our condolences to his wife Linda and his children.”

Shaw’s funeral will be closed to family and invited guests only, with a public memorial service scheduled for a later time, his family said.

“Instead of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the Bernard Shaw Scholarship Fund at the University of Chicago. The Shaw family requires complete confidentiality at this time,” the family said in a statement provided by former CNN CEO Tom Johnson.

In a statement, Johnson said that Shaw “has shown excellence in his life” and will be “remembered as a fierce advocate for responsible journalism.”

“As a journalist, he demanded accuracy and fairness in news coverage. He has earned the respect of millions of viewers around the world for his integrity and independence. He strongly resisted any reduction in ethical news standards or any compromise with reliable news coverage. He could always be trusted as a reporter and as an anchor,” Johnson said.

“Bernie has been my personal friend and colleague for over 55 years. I will miss him very much,” he added. “My wife Edwina and I offer our most sincere condolences to Bernie’s wife Linda and his family.”

CNN founder Ted Turner (center/right) with hosts Larry King (left), Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw (right) after receiving the award at the CNN 20th Anniversary gala at Philips Arena in Atlanta on June 1, 2000.
Shaw was born on May 22, 1940 in Chicago to Edgar Shaw and Camilla Shaw.

He spent four years in the Marine Corps, during which he was stationed in Hawaii, when he turned to TV news legend Walter Cronkite for advice on becoming a journalist.

Shaw began his career as a radio reporter in Chicago, during which he interviewed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who told him, “One day you’ll be successful, just do something good,” Shaw recalled.

His first TV job was as a political reporter for CBS, helping cover the Watergate scandal. He later became ABC’s Latin America correspondent and bureau chief, where he and his team took the only aerial photographs of the Jonestown, Guyana massacre.

He left ABC to take a job with the Ted Turner Cable News Network, the world’s first 24-hour television news network. According to him, many of his former colleagues considered this decision insane. “I thought this was the last frontier in network TV news,” he said.

The show is often credited with raising CNN’s international profile and making CNN the news leader it is today. He was also known for his composure under pressure, exemplified by his coverage of the First Gulf War.

He and fellow reporters, John Holliman and Peter Arnett, made TV history by broadcasting the night of the first attack in Baghdad in real time, and became known as the “Baghdad Boys”.

“The sky over Baghdad lit up. We see bright flashes all over the sky,” Shaw said, reporting from a Baghdad hotel as the bombs were raining down.

Arnett recalled how in the first moments of the bombing: “I rushed to the microphone, and then Bernie -” Atlanta, come to Baghdad, come to Baghdad “”.

“At first he had a microphone, an instinct to broadcast, to be there,” Arnett said. “He didn’t hesitate. He took over the world.”

Shaw told NPR in 2014 that “one of the things I was aiming for was to be able to control my emotions in the middle of all hell broke loose.”

“The more intense news I cover, the cooler I want to be. The more I suppress my emotions, even my tone of voice, because people depend on you to accurately and impartially describe what is going on. And it would be a disservice to news consumers – whether readers, listeners or viewers – if I got emotional and carried away,” he said.

Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Joseph Lieberman (left) and Republican presidential nominee Richard Cheney (right) join CNN’s moderator Bernard Shaw on stage during their debate at the Norton Center College Center for the Arts in Danville, Kentucky, 5 October 2000. the vice president’s debate is scheduled before the November 7 election.
CNN debuted The Show as an anchor in Washington at a time when other networks had white male anchors.

Less than a year later on CNN, Shaw led the network’s coverage of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. When other networks reported that White House press secretary James Brady had been killed, Shaw held off on reporting until he received official confirmation, which never came, and other networks had to drop.

The show has also earned a reputation for delivering tough interviews. His poignant question came to light when, in 1988, he became the first African-American journalist to moderate a presidential debate.

In the second standoff between then-Vice President George W. Bush and Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis, Shaw asked the candidates to talk about the death penalty.

When Dukakis said he was against the death penalty, Shaw asked, “If Kitty Dukakis (Dukakis’ wife) was raped and murdered, would you support a permanent death penalty for the killer?”

The question was tricked by a career killer candidate and, according to some, changed the trajectory of the race.

CNN host Bernard Shaw speaks to his viewers during filming at the network’s headquarters in Atlanta on Friday, November 10, 2000. Shaw, a 20-year CNN veteran, said he would leave the network early next year to write books and spend more. time with your family.
In November 2000, Shaw announced that he was leaving CNN to spend time with his family and write books.

“It was best for me to just be here, helping to do what attracts you, our viewers, your demand for instant information with contextual knowledge and understanding. And to you around the world and throughout our great land here in the United States, more than your praise, I appreciate your criticism and your suggestions. Careful study can be instructive,” he told viewers.

“It’s harder than getting in and out of this business and leaving CNN, especially after 20 years here. But you know, some roses are so fragrant. And as a gardener, I want to grow more of them and smell them when I’m not writing.”

Shaw has received numerous awards for his journalism, including the Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Broadcasting, and was inducted into the Broadcast and Cable Hall of Fame in 1999.

“We were a team. That’s the only way the network succeeded. That’s how the network made history,” he told CNN staff and alumni at CNN’s 35th anniversary celebration in Atlanta in 2015. “We succeeded because you made perfection a habit. You did it every day… you kept on fighting.”

Shaw said he always believed that “the most important chair is not the anchor chair.”

“The most important chair was the desk chair. The most important chair was the sound engineer’s chair, the director’s chair, the editor’s chair, the reporter’s chair.”

His advice to employees: “Make a promise that when you show up for work as a CNN employee, you’ll work to take it one step further.”

Shaw is survived by his wife Linda and their two children, Amar Edgar and Anil Louise.

This story has been updated with additional information.

Rate the Article
Share it with your friends