Bernard Shaw (journalist)

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Bernard Shaw
Shaw in 2004
Born(1940-05-22)May 22, 1940
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedSeptember 7, 2022(2022-09-07) (aged 82)
EducationUniversity of Illinois, Chicago (BA)
Years active1971–2001
Linda Allston
(m. 1974)
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Battles/warsVietnam War

Bernard Shaw (May 22, 1940 – September 7, 2022) was an American journalist and lead news anchor for CNN from 1980 until his retirement on March 2, 2001. Prior to his time at CNN, he was a reporter and anchor for WNUS, Westinghouse Broadcasting, CBS News, and ABC News.

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 Chicago from 1963 to 1968. He served in the United States 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 in 1964. 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 a Latin American correspondent and bureau chief before becoming the Capitol Hill Senior Correspondent.[4]

Shaw left ABC in 1980 to move to CNN as co-anchor of its PrimeNews broadcast, anchoring from Washington, D.C.[4] 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.[5]

As the leading anchor of Cable News Network, Bernard Shaw covered a variety of events that shaped the political and societal reality of the 20th century. The student revolt in Tiananmen Square in 1989, the California earthquake of 1994, death and funeral of Princess Diana in 1997, and the 2000 presidential race of the United States, were some of the news that he reported.[6]

Shaw was 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.[7]

He is also remembered for his reporting on the 1991 Gulf War.[8] His journalistic involvement in this moment of history led him to be recognized as one of the “Boys of Baghdad”[9] (Vargas, 2022). 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."[10]

Shaw moderated the October 2000 vice-presidential debate between Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman.[11]

Shaw co-anchored CNN's Inside Politics from 1992 until he retired from CNN in March 2001. He then occasionally appeared on CNN, including in May 2005, when a plane flew into restricted air space in Washington, D.C. He co-anchored Judy Woodruff's last broadcast on CNN in June 2005. Shaw reflected over his 41 years in journalism, that what he missed in his personal life was not worth the success.[12] 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.[13]


Personal life[edit]

Shaw was married to Linda Allston from March 30, 1974, until his death. They had two children: Amar Edgar and Anil Louise.[18]

Shaw died at a hospital in Washington, D.C., on September 7, 2022, at the age of 82, after contracting pneumonia that was not related to COVID-19.[19][20]


  1. ^ "Bernard Shaw Fast Facts". CNN. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  2. ^ "CNN Transcript: A Farewell Tribute to Bernard Shaw". CNN. March 2, 2001. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2007.
  3. ^ Miller, Zell (1998). Corps Values: Everything You Need to Know I Learned In the Marines. Bantam.
  4. ^ a b Sharbutt, Jay (April 30, 1989). "Bernard Shaw: Cable News' Mr. Anchor : CNN's no-nonsense reporter has found a place alongside Rather, Jennings and Brokaw". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  5. ^ Napoli, Lisa (April 27, 2020). "How CNN's Raw, Unfolding Reagan Coverage Heralded the Nonstop News Cycle". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  6. ^ Cable News Network (November 20, 2004). "Bernard Shaw". Archived from the original on November 30, 2004.
  7. ^ McNulty, Timothy J. (October 15, 1988). "'Outrageous' Debate Question Angers Kitty Dukakis". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  8. ^ "Where Are They Now? Bernard Shaw". The Washington Times. October 2, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  9. ^ Vargas, Ramon (September 8, 2022). "Bernard Shaw, CNN's first chief anchor, dies of pneumonia aged 82". The Guardian.
  10. ^ "CNN keeps in touch as bombs hit Baghdad – UPI Archives". January 17, 1991. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  11. ^ Yang, Carter M. (October 5, 2000). "Cheney, Lieberman To Debate Tonight". ABC News. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  12. ^ "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
  13. ^ A.J. Katz. "Legendary Former CNN Anchor Bernard Shaw Dies at 82". Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  14. ^ Arizona State University (January 29, 2009). "Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  15. ^ "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Archived from the original on February 25, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  16. ^ "Laureates by Year – The Lincoln Academy of Illinois". The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
  17. ^ a b c CNN Editorial Research (September 8, 2022). "Bernard Shaw Fast Facts". CNN. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  18. ^ "Bernard Shaw Fast Facts". CNN. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  19. ^ Bauder, David (September 8, 2022). "Bernard Shaw, CNN's 1st chief anchor, dies at 82". AP News. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  20. ^ Stracqualursi, Veronica (September 8, 2022). "CNN anchor Bernard Shaw dead at 82". CNN. Retrieved September 8, 2022.

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