Long-time CNN lead News Anchor Bernard Shaw dies at age 82

Bernard Shaw Former News Anchor at CNN in 2004. By Ann Thomas, Public Domain, https commons.wikimedia.org


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


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 Latin American correspondent and bureau chief before becoming the Capitol Hill Senior Correspondent.

Shaw 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.

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 ComptonAndrea Mitchell, and Margaret Garrard Warner, expressed an interest in leaving Dukakis’s name out of the question.

He is also remembered for his reporting on the 1991 Gulf War. 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.”

Shaw 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 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 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. 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.