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Bernard Shaw, CNN’s Lead Anchor for 20 Years, Dies at 82

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Bernard Shaw has been CNN’s main primetime anchor for 20 years, and has been a key figure in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square during the Chinese government’s crackdown on protesters in 1989, and steel from Baghdad two years later at the start of the Persian Gulf War. It was also known for reports such as He died Wednesday. he was 82 years old.

The death was confirmed at a Washington hospital in a statement from CNN Chairman and CEO Chris Licht. The cause was pneumonia.

When the Gulf War began in January 1991, Shaw watched from his balcony at the Al Rashid Hotel as air strikes and anti-aircraft fire filled the air in the Iraqi capital.

“Wow! The skies in Baghdad have lightened up.” He said“You see flashes all over the sky.” Sam Feist, CNN’s Washington bureau chief, said in a telephone interview, “He really was the world’s eye on history.”

Two years ago, when he was anchoring CNN’s coverage from Tiananmen Square, he told viewers that he was trying to shut down the network’s coverage live before the Chinese government approved it.

Known for his anchor desk and steady influence on the ground, Mr. Shaw worked for CBS News and ABC News before leaving the comfort of news broadcasting to join Ted Turner’s fledgling cable news network in 1980. embarked on a career gamble.

He was one of the first black anchors on the network’s evening news program, following Max Robinson, who became co-anchor of ABC News’ World News Tonight in 1978.

Wolf BlitzerThe CNN anchor said Shaw, who worked with colleagues in the press, Peter Arnett When John Holliman, remained in Baghdad for several days, despite the danger of the quota. “When he came back, I told him how nervous we were and that he was risking his life for all of us,” Blitzer said.

Lisa Napoli, author of Up All Night: Ted Turner, CNN, and the Birth of 24 Hour News (2020), wrote in an email that when CNN started, “the show defined CNN for a small audience.” Writing, “He showed the network that the concept of all news channels is powerful.”

One of Shaw’s most dramatic and controversial moments on CNN came in 1988 when he moderated the presidential debate between Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis and Vice President George HW Bush.

Mr. Shaw opened the debate on the issue of the death penalty by asking a frank hypothetical question about Mr. Dukakis’ wife. “Governor, if Kitty Dukakis is raped and murdered, Do you want murderers to be irrevocably put to death? “

“No, I don’t know, Bernard,” replied Mr. Dukakis calmly, not referring to his wife but focusing on his position on the issue. I think you know

The question offended many Democrats as dry, with Mrs. Dukakis herself calling it “outrageous.”But Mr. Shaw told the Washington Post Shortly thereafter, he submitted it to Mr. Dukakis “as a stethoscope to see how he feels about the matter.”

“Bush was hitting Dukakis hard in the head and shoulder, accusing him of being criminally weak,” he said.

Bernard Shaw was born in Chicago on May 22, 1940. His father, Edgar, was a railroad worker and house painter, and his mother, Camilla (Murphy) Shaw, was a housekeeper. Bernard had an early interest in the news industry. His father brought home his four newspapers a day. He idolized his CBS News correspondent Edward R. Murrow. In his teens, he attended his 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

“When I looked up at the anchor booth, I knew I was looking at the altar,” he told Time magazine.

In 1961, while serving in the Marine Corps for four years, he was stationed in Hawaii and learned that CBS news station Walter Cronkite was writing an article in Honolulu. He left Mr. Cronkite a message, which led to a meeting in the hotel lobby.

Mr. Shaw told The New York Times in 1988 that Mr. Cronkite “told him, ‘The important thing is to read.'”

After graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in history, Mr. Shaw worked for local Chicago radio and television stations until 1971, when he was hired by CBS News as a political reporter. His duties included the Watergate scandal. In 1977 he moved to ABC News, where he became a Latin American correspondent, covering the mass murders and suicides of his cult in Jonestown, Guyana.

At CNN, Shaw became one of the most prominent journalists hired to carry out Turner’s arduous challenge. It was about quickly establishing around-the-clock startup credibility in the news business, then known primarily for CBS, NBC, and ABC. A 30-minute evening news program.

In tribute to Shaw when he retired in 2001, Judy Woodruff, who co-anchored CNN’s “Inside Politics” program and is now a PBS newscaster, said that his “manners and voice attracts everyone,” he said. Words you can trust. The coolest attitude in the hottest situations. Cut-to-the-quick interview style. And what underlies him is a powerful combination of journalistic honesty and pure instinct. “

His thoughtfulness was demonstrated after the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan when CBS and ABC mistakenly reported the death of Reagan’s press secretary, James Brady. He was wounded in a gunshot. Mr. Shaw declined to make a similar announcement because the information CNN obtained was indirect. Mr. Brady survived the shooting (and died in 2014).

Shaw was in Beijing to cover anti-government protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989. When Martial Law Is DeclaredThe CNN contingent departed 58 minutes before the network went off the air.

“And at the last minute before the plug was pulled, we were able to give Bernie a chance to sign off after a lot of intimidation and negotiations with China and bring this whole operation to an end,” Beijing said. Mike Chinoy said. The then bureau chief said in a retirement tribute to Shaw.

During the signing, Shaw told viewers: Dear CNN hardworking men and women, goodbye from Beijing. “

Until his retirement, Mr. Shaw continued to drop anchor from major news sites such as Washington and Oklahoma City, where he spent two weeks following the Alfred P. Mueller bombing of the Federal Building in 1995, which killed 168 people. I was.

He is survived by his wife Linda (Allston) Shaw. daughter, Anil. and son Amal.

In 2014, When he was interviewed by NPR, Mr. Shaw said he tried to keep his emotions under control while covering major stories, just as he had done in Baghdad.

“People are counting on you for an accurate and sober account of what’s going on,” he said. “And my being emotional or preoccupied would be to the detriment of news consumers, whether readers, listeners or viewers.”

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