Birthplace: Chicago, IL
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Prime time CNN news anchor
Military service: U.S. Marine Corps, 1959-63
Bernard Shaw was one of the last of the "old school" journalists on TV. He was always dead serious on the air, never a jovial bantering newsman. He delivered the news with solemn impartiality -- not like most present-day reporters who seem to have attended drama school, and "report the news" as much with their facial expressions and tone of voice as with the words they read.
Shaw started in broadcast journalism at a local station in Chicago in 1963, and eventually worked for Westinghouse Broadcasting, CBS News, and ABC News. He was ABC's Capital Hill reporter when he quit to join "Turner's folly", as Cable News Network was derisively called before its birth in 1980. It was predicted that few people would turn to an upstart cable channel from Atlanta for news, instead of the big three networks and their star anchors. Shaw ended the new network's first newscast with a promise: "You can depend on us being here all the time." And for years, it was true. As the broadcast networks reduced their news departments, CNN was the channel to turn to for breaking news. (This, of course, was long before CNN had cable-news competition from MSNBC and Fox News and others, and before CNN itself devolved into a glorified round-the-clock Entertainment Tonight.)
Shaw broadcast live from the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square, until the Chinese government pulled the plug on CNN's satellite access. But Shaw and his crew still faxed photographs to America, and smuggled videotapes out of China with departing travelers.
It was Shaw who asked 1988 presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, "Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?" The candidate's cold, bland answer ("No, I don't, Bernard, and I think you know that I've opposed the death penalty ...") was a major factor in tipping that election to George H.W. Bush.
Shaw interviewed Saddam Hussein, covered the Challenger explosion, and reported live from the Oklahoma City bombing. More than a billion people watched Shaw's broadcasts from Baghdad as America's first war with Iraq began in 1991. "The skies over Baghdad have been illuminated", he said. "This is thunder, this is lightning, this is death -- this is hell."
In his career, Shaw won two Emmys, four ACE Awards, and a Peabody. When he announced his retirement from CNN in 2000, CNN covered it through their "entertainment desk".
Wife: Linda Allston (m. 1974)
Son: Amar Edgar
Daughter: Anil Louise
University: University of Illinois at Chicago (1968)
Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame
Roast: Bob Woodruff (2007)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Contact (11-Jul-1997) · Himself
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (23-May-1997) · CNN Anchor -- Himself
Getting Away with Murder (12-Apr-1996) · Himself
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