Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bernard Shaw Leaving CNN Autobiography, Family in Plans

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bernard Shaw Leaving CNN Autobiography, Family in Plans

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Bernard Shaw, chief anchorman for most major stories during CNN's 20-year history, told The Associated Press yesterday he will leave the network early next year to write books and spend more time with his family.

Shaw, 60, said he planned to tell viewers about his decision yesterday at the end of Inside Politics, the daily show he anchors with Judy Woodruff.

Along with Larry King and Christiane Amanpour, Shaw is the most visible face on the Cable News Network. He's been there since the beginning, leaving a job as reporter for ABC News to join CNN in 1980 when it was an idea, not a network.

"Harder than entering this business is leaving it and leaving CNN," he said. "But you know, some roses are so fragrant. And as a gardener, I want to grow and smell them more, when I'm not writing."

Shaw's reports from Baghdad at the beginning of the Persian Gulf war in 1991, with bombs bursting outside his hotel window, were arguably the pivotal moment in establishing CNN as a network many Americans turn to during major stories.

He was the last of the remaining chief on-air reporters with CNN from then. Peter Arnett left CNN under a cloud after the retracted Tailwind story, which accused the U.S. military of using nerve gas on Vietnam War-era defectors, and John Holliman died in a car crash in 1998.

As a moderator of a 1988 presidential debate between George Bush and Michael Dukakis, Shaw grabbed headlines with his opening question: "Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?" Dukakis' unemotional response was widely criticized.

Shaw said later the question "will follow me to my grave."

Shaw will leave when his contract expires Feb. 28. He said he may be enticed into occasional on-air work, and network founder Ted Turner said Shaw "will always have a home at CNN."

"Bernie Shaw is one of a handful of CNN 'founders' who helped take 24-hour news from an exciting concept 20 years ago to a fact of life for 1 billion people around the globe today," Turner said.

Many of his colleagues "thought I was crazy" for leaving ABC to work at CNN, he said. …

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