Bernard Shaw (journalist)

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Bernard Shaw
Bernard Shaw.JPG
Shaw speaking in 2004
Born (1940-05-22) May 22, 1940 (age 81)
EducationUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
Indiana University
Years active1971–2001
Linda Allston
(m. 1974)
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Battles/warsVietnam War

Bernard Shaw (born May 22, 1940) is a retired American journalist and former lead news anchor for CNN from 1980 until his retirement in March 2001.

Early life[edit]

Shaw was born in Chicago, Illinois to Edgar Shaw, a railroad employee and house painter, and Camilla (Murphy) Shaw, a housekeeper.[1] He attended the University of Illinois at Chicago from 1963 to 1968. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps, including stints in Hawaii and at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, where in 1962 he was a "Message Center" specialist, achieving the rank of Corporal, E-4. He exhibited a passionate interest in the print media, clipping articles from newspapers, and often traveled on weekends to Washington, D.C. He cultivated an acquaintance with Walter Cronkite and had an interest in baseball.[2][3]


Shaw began his broadcasting career as an anchor and reporter for WNUS in Chicago. He then worked as a reporter for the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company in Chicago, moving later to Washington as the White House correspondent. He worked as a correspondent in the Washington Bureau of CBS News from 1971 to 1977. In 1977, he moved to ABC News as Latin American correspondent and bureau chief before becoming the Capitol Hill Senior Correspondent. He left ABC in 1980 to move to CNN as co-anchor of its PrimeNews broadcast, anchoring from Washington, D.C.. Shaw's coverage of the 1981 assassination attempt on U.S. president Ronald Reagan (with Shaw joined by former CBS News correspondent Daniel Schorr, one of the first on-air personalities hired by the fledgling cable channel) is credited as helping to establish CNN as a credible and reliable broadcast news source at an early point in the network's history.[4]

Shaw is widely known for the question he posed to Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Michael Dukakis at his second Presidential debate with George H. W. Bush during the 1988 election, which Shaw was moderating. Knowing that Dukakis opposed the death penalty, Shaw asked him if he would support an irrevocable death penalty for a man who hypothetically raped and murdered Dukakis's wife. Dukakis responded that he would not; critics felt he framed his response too legalistically and logically, and did not address it sufficiently on a personal level. Kitty Dukakis, among other public figures, found the question inflammatory and unwarranted at a presidential debate. Several journalists also on the panel with Shaw, including Ann Compton, Andrea Mitchell, and Margaret Garrard Warner, expressed an interest in leaving Dukakis's name out of the question.[5]

He is also remembered for his reporting on the 1991 Gulf War.[6] Reporting with CNN correspondents John Holliman and Peter Arnett from the Al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad, he found shelter under a desk as he reported cruise missiles flying past his window. He also made frequent trips back and forth from the hotel's bomb shelter. While describing the situation in Baghdad, he famously stated "Clearly I've never been there, but this feels like we're in the center of hell."

He moderated the October 2000 vice-presidential debate between Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman.

Shaw co-anchored CNN's Inside Politics from 1992 until he retired from CNN in 2001. He has still occasionally appeared on CNN, including in May 2005 when a plane flew into restricted air space in Washington, D.C. He also co-anchored Judy Woodruff's last broadcast on CNN in June 2005. Shaw noted that after 41 years in the business, given what he missed in his personal life, the cost was not worth it.[7] Shaw appeared on the June 1, 2020 episode of CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront to recognize the 40th anniversary of the start of the network.


Personal life[edit]

Shaw is married to Linda Allston (March 30, 1974 – present). They have two children: Amar Edgar and Anil Louise.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Research, CNN Editorial. "Bernard Shaw Fast Facts". CNN. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  2. ^ "CNN Transcript: A Farewell Tribute to Bernard Shaw". CNN. March 2, 2001.
  3. ^ Miller, Zell (1998). Corps Values: Everything You Need to Know I Learned In the Marines. Bantam.
  4. ^ Napoli, Lisa. "How CNN's Raw, Unfolding Reagan Coverage Heralded the Nonstop News Cycle". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  5. ^ McNulty, Timothy J. (October 15, 1988). "'Outrageous' Debate Question Angers Kitty Dukakis". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  6. ^ "Where Are They Now? Bernard Shaw". The Washington Times. October 2, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  7. ^ "Former CNN Anchor Kept Cool, But Paid The Price Of Success". NPR. July 31, 2014. ...but all the things that I missed within my family because I was out doing - I don't think it was worth it
  8. ^ Arizona State University (January 29, 2009). "Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  9. ^ "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  10. ^ "Laureates by Year - The Lincoln Academy of Illinois". The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
  11. ^ Research, CNN Editorial. "Bernard Shaw Fast Facts". CNN. Retrieved June 2, 2020.

External links[edit]