Bernard Shaw, CNN’s first CEO, dies at 82

Bernard Shaw, CNN’s first chief curator and pioneering black journalist remembered for calmly reporting the beginnings of the Gulf War in 1991 from Baghdad while it was under attack, is over. life at the age of 82.

According to Tom Johnson, a former CNN executive, he died of pneumonia, unrelated to Covid-19, Wednesday at a hospital in Washington.

A former reporter for CBS and ABC, Shaw seized the opportunity and accepted an offer to become CNN’s chief curator upon its launch in 1980.

He then reported before a camera was hurriedly placed in a newsroom following the assassination of President Ronald Regan in 1981.


Bernard Shaw on set at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters in 2000 (Erik S Lesser/AP)

He retired at the age of 61 in 2001.

As moderator of the 1988 presidential debate between George HW Bush and Michael Dukakis, he asked the Democrat – an opponent of the death penalty – if he would support that punishment for the convicted. raped and murdered Kitty, Dukakis’ wife or not.

Dukakis’ cold technical response was seen by many as damaging to his campaign, and Shaw said he later received numerous hate mails for asking about it.

“Since when does a question hurt a politician?” Shaw said in an interview aired by CSPAN in 2001.

“That’s not the question. That’s the answer. “

Shaw delivered memorable coverage, with reporters Peter Arnett and John Holliman, from a hotel room in Baghdad as CNN showed stunning footage of air strikes and anti-aircraft fire at the beginning of the American invasion to liberate Kuwait.

“I’ve never been there,” he said that night, “but this feels like we’re in the center of hell.”

He put CNN on the mapFrank Sesno, former CNN Washington bureau chief

Reports were crucial in the founding of CNN as it was the only cable news network and US broadcasters ABC, CBS and NBC dominated television news.

“He put CNN on the map,” said Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief and now a professor at George Washington University.

Shaw, who grew up in Chicago, wanted to be a journalist and admired popular CBS reporters Edward R Murrow and Walter Cronkite, realized it was a pivotal moment.

Shaw said in a 2014 interview with NPR: “In all my years of preparing for anchoring, one of the things I try to do is be able to control my emotions in the midst of a hellish outbreak.

“And I personally feel that I passed my rigorous test for that in Baghdad.”

Shaw covered China’s Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, initialing when authorities asked CNN to stop broadcasting.

While at ABC, he was one of the first reporters to arrive at the scene of the 1978 Jonestown massacre.

On Twitter, CNN’s John King paid tribute to Shaw’s “soft yet booming voice” and said he was a mentor and role model to many.


Ted Turner, center, with Bernard Shaw, left, and Larry King at a 1995 reception in Beverly Hills, California (Micheal Tweed/AP)

Johnson said: “Bernard Shaw is an outstanding example in his life.

“He will be remembered as a staunch advocate for responsible journalism.”

Current CNN CEO Chris Licht paid tribute to Shaw as a CNN native, who appeared on the network most recently last year to provide comment.

So, in case of any bias that he didn’t vote, Shaw posed tough questions to some politicians.

He asked George HW Bush to pick vice president Dan Quayle, if “fear of being killed in Vietnam” led to Quayle joining the National Guard in 1969.

As a member of the United States Marine Corps, Shaw began meeting one of his heroes, Cronkite, in Hawaii in 1961.

I was about to give him five reluctant minutes and ended up talking to him for half an hour. He’s just determined to be a journalistWalter Cronkite on Bernard Shaw

“He was the most persistent man I ever met in my life,” the late Cronkite told the Washington Post in 1991.

“I was about to give him five minutes of reluctance and ended up talking to him for half an hour. He was just determined to be a journalist.”

He got a radio job in Chicago, where an initial assignment was the appearance of Martin Luther King.

Shaw told CNN King told him, “one day you’ll be successful. Just do some good things.”

When he retired at a relatively young age, Shaw admitted that his personal life came with being a successful journalist.

Because of all the things he’s missed with his family while working, he told NPR, “I don’t think it’s worth it.”

His funeral will be private, with a public memorial planned for later, Johnson said.

He is survived by his wife, Linda, and two children. Bernard Shaw, CNN’s first CEO, dies at 82

Fry Electronics Team

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