by Adam Crohn
God save us, we’re still worshiping a Queen.
Apologies if you tuned in expecting some kind of Queen bashing. There’ll be none of the sort, only Queen love here! No, I’m here to have words with the people that put the death of CNN Anchor Bernard Shaw more than halfway down on CNN’s own home page. I get it, the news cycle and all that “if it bleeds it leads” business. But that’s just it, there was no blood involved (thankfully) in the death of The Queen, the woman was 96 years old. She led a very privileged life of entertaining Ronald Regan on horseback, tea and crumpets with Paddington Bear, and lots of hand waving from her gold encrusted, probably made of chocolate, Charlton Heston drawn chariot. She was the best at what she did, and she wore many hats. And if I’m honest, in my own silly ignorance, I didn’t even know she was still alive. For shame.
And now England awaits the crowning of their new king. I could get behind this if he road a dragon. But even without a dragon I know there are a lot of people that get into that stuff, and I’m sure the royal family still serve some sort of political importance (even though they traditionally claim neutrality) other than keeping England’s hat business afloat (conflict of interest?) But today was a big day in more than just the loss of Queen Elizabeth II. It’s Disney Plus day, folks!
That’s right, more madness. Today is the day where the entity that is slowly assimilating the entire world attempts to get us to forget about our queen and celebrate the greatness of a streaming app by throwing a day for it! Yes, I’m a subscriber. Yes, I’m going to watch Thor Love and Thunder tonight. Yes, I’ll probably also watch the new Obi Kenobi documentary tonight as well and be up until 3am. But what I’d rather do right now is write about the amazing career and contributions of my fellow Chicagoan, Bernard Shaw, or Bernie, as he was known to his friends.
I promised myself I wouldn’t use this blog to complain about stuff. It’s a policy that I try to adhere to throughout all my websites and social media, and especially my podcasts where it can be too easy to bandwagon onto the complaining train. But when the person that helps put your news network on the international map passes away, they at least deserve to be one of the top 10 stories on your own front page, even if it was the same day the Queen died, right? Nope. He was somewhere around 17th, just past hurricane Earl but before the shopping recommendations. CNN strikes again!
Shaw was 82 when he passed. Judy Woodruff, his co-host at CNN, said of Bernie “He never tried to get ahead of a story, and he never said more than he knew.” In a time where most news anchors are merely self-promoting their own brand ahead of the straight facts, that right there would be enough for me to buy the guy a drink. Shaw was a marine and started his career as a journalist by hounding Walter Cronkite for advice (Something I can relate to. What’s up, Walter!) From Chicago he sat with Martin Luther King, jr. who told him “One day you’re going to make it, just do some good.” He covered Watergate for CBS, he covered the Jonestown Massacre for ABC, and was CNN’s Washington Anchor when they launched in 1980.
During his tenure at CNN Shaw was the lead on the assassination attempt of President Regan and was forced off the air by China during his coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests. But as the face of CNN, he is probably best known as one of the “Baghdad Boys” during the Gulf War. Along with colleagues Peter Arnett and John Holliman, they were the first to broadcast a war in real-time. I remember watching the dark green footage of artillery flying from one side of the TV screen to the other, wondering how we were able to see people shooting at each other from a place that was so far away. It was literally because Shaw was there, in it, recording it, living it. He would later go on to reveal that he had PTSD from the experience, and how he sacrificed time with his family to bring that experience to the rest of the world. For right or wrong, he stuck by those choices for another 20 years, bringing us actual, literal news. He was a newsman, and there aren’t many of those left.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I did hours of research pouring through piles of files, and trudging through site after site to bring you these facts, and I’m not much of a politics guy anymore. Most of this information came from a video by CNN, and anyone can go Wikipedia Bernard Shaw and read about far more of his adventures than what I’ve presented here. I just wanted to say that the man is a Legend. Capital ‘L’. It’s a strange day when we can lose two arguably equally impactful people in the same 24-hour span yet not publicly celebrate both equally nor with the same impact just because one came from a duke and duchess, and the other from a railroad worker and housekeeper.
Sure, we lost another legend today, and I look forward to another 17 versions of Candle in the Wind from Sir Elton John. But the only Queen I care to worship is the killer kind. So, Elizabeth, this song’s for you. I’m sure you were dynamite with a laser beam. RIP, Lizzy and Bernie.