Bernie Shaw Dead At 82, Remarkable Newsman And Perfect Rolemodel For Journalists

When it comes to television news reporters there is a special mantle on which I place Bernie Shaw.  The famed newsman died today at the age of 82.

If you are my age and enjoy politics the memory of Bernie Shaw and his remarkable work on CNN will easily come to mind.  One of the shows he worked on, and in time would be joined by the equally professional Judy Woodruff, was Inside Politics.  With deep analysis and pointed interviews, the show was designed to not only report on the current events with politicians but look ahead and try to better determine what might next be occurring in the world of politics.  I absolutely loved the show and recorded it each day so I could watch it later in the evening.

I have always felt the question asked by Shaw in a 1988 presidential debate of Democratic nominee Mike Dukakis was not only perfectly aimed but one that allowed the nation insight into the candidate. The death penalty was an issue, and while it might be termed startling to have it asked of a candidate in the way Shaw did, the deer in the headlight’s response from the nominee did aid the nation in making an electoral decision. The question was whether Dukakis would support the death penalty should his wife, Kitty, be raped and murdered. Dukakis responded with “No, I don’t, Bernard, and I think you know that I’ve opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don’t see any evidence that it’s a deterrent and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime.”   While I supported Dukakis and opposed the death penalty it was very clear from his response the election was over.  

Over the years I commented on Shaw and in 1988 noted as the race for Wisconsin’s First Assembly seat grew more intense, and the GOP made it historic for that time by throwing over $50,000 into the Republican’s campaign, I started to stress out. I had started to work in Representative Lary Swoboda’s office the year prior as his Administrative Assistant, By the morning before the election, I was ill to my stomach and spent the day at my home in Madison.  While drinking tea and eating soft foods I watched Bernie Shaw on CNN and knew the polls would be dreadful for the Dukakis campaign.  But on Election Night I was back in the First Assembly District where we secured a comfortable victory.

In 2006, I noted how I felt when Bernie Shaw had left CNN years prior as if  I had lost a friend.  The well-respected reporter, along with his co-anchor Judy Woodruff, made politics and campaigns pop and sizzle with insight and energy on the first all-news cable network.  Their program “Inside Politics” was truly must-see TV.  CNN has changed over the years because of downsizing and altering its news focus, and as a result, the caliber of its political reporting has suffered.

I am hoping that in newsrooms tonight in America there is the memory of the work Bernie Shaw provided our nation, and then use those recollections as a template on how news should be gathered and reported.

Fox News Supporting CNN’s Jim Acosta

UPDATE–No ruling today but another hearing to be scheduled for Friday at 10:00 A.M.

Fox News is supporting CNN in its legal fight against the Trump administration for White House access. Fox News president Jay Wallace released a strong statement and also filed an amicus brief.

“Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the president and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people,” Wallace said in the statement.

According to the CNN public relations Twitter account, Fox News is now far from the only outlet to stand up for CNN. ABC and CBS News expressed their support for CNN and Jim Acosta, filing friend-of-the-court briefings of their own.

A number of free press organizations have also condemned the White House’s move to ban Acosta from having White House access.

The administration on Wednesday asserted “broad discretion” to regulate journalists’ access to the White House, a sweeping claim that could have a dramatic impact on news organizations’ ability to cover government officials if it is upheld in court. Judge Timothy Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia heard arguments Wednesday in the lawsuit.

The judge in the CNN lawsuit against the Trump administration to reinstate White House reporter Acosta is supposed to issue a decision by 3 P.M.

I Stand With Jim Acosta

As a former radio news reporter and broadcaster I stand with those who work in the professional news media.  As an American I stand for the First Amendment.  As such, I am shoulder to shoulder tonight with Jim Acosta.

If Jim were at my kitchen table with a mug of coffee I would say the same as I post here.  If a person in power is going to abuse that power, use bully tactics, and pit citizens in this country against each other, it is your job to call that in question.

Tonight Orange Mussolini took the exceedingly rare step of suspending the White House credentials of Acosta, the chief White House correspondent for CNN.  Earlier today Acosta did his job as a reporter.  Trump was in a snit over the loss of the House in Tuesday’s election and started an intense verbal clash.

This whole episode is nothing short of the utterly disgusting way that Sarah Huckabee Sanders does her job and lives her life.  She is a sham in a dress.  Nothing more and tonight proved it.

Do Cable News Channels Know Of A Place Called Venezuela?

After the all-news cable channels have regurgitated the latest crazy tweet from Donald Trump for the 25th time, or pondered the future of Nancy Pelosi for the umpteenth time, might it be possible to give any air time to–pick a place around the world?

But for this post let us select Venezuela.

In brief, here is the tragic story of the lives of those subjected to the actions of President Nicolás Maduro’s government.

Hundreds of Venezuelans, some of whom walked 900 miles to escape economic disaster back home, saw their journeys abruptly halted this weekend on a frigid, remote border with Ecuador.

Like other Latin American countries hosting thousands of fleeing Venezuelans, Ecuador suddenly erected a new entry barrier on Saturday requiring in this case passports rather than the national I.D. cards they accepted before.

The standoff is part a growing backlash from some of the countries—among them Ecuador, Peru and Brazil—that have received 2.3 million exiled Venezuelan since 2014. The humanitarian exodus from Venezuela, hobbled by 1 million percent inflation this year, rolling blackouts and collapsing public services, has accelerated in recent months with increasingly poor people fleeing, say government officials in Colombia and elsewhere.

The plight of refugees came as Maduro’s government began on Monday rolling out a plan to raise the minimum wage by 6,000%, hike taxes and institute a currency devaluation—measures Venezuelans said would paralyze the economy and prompt more people to flee.

Cable news viewers would only come to know of such reports from the BBC, NPR, or national newspapers like The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.  It is truly amazing, and sad, that so much air-time is given to repeating over and over with different ‘talking heads’ the same headline.  Meanwhile there are places like Gaza, Turkey and a Greek island of Tilos which are making news which our nation needs to be aware of—

Meanwhile, did you know that Trump is not a good speller……..

Deplorables On Parade At Trump Tampa Rally

Donald Trump continually gathers ugly Americans, people once controversially described as “deplorables.” Yet this is clearly deplorable conduct. It is sad that Trump believes he wins by making frightened people feel more afraid. History will not treat him — or them — well!

Recall the words of Republican Senator Jeff Flake.

“So fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ that even [Soviet leader] Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of ‘annihilating such individuals’ who disagreed with the supreme leader.”


This Is An Apple

Enough said.

CNN Correctly Said No To Airing Trump Campaign Ad

Though it creates another opportunity for President Trump to lash out at the media in ways that mimic Joseph Stalin, Premier of the Soviet Union, the recent action by CNN was necessary.

Yesterday Trump’s re-election campaign accused CNN of censorship, alleging the network turned down a paid campaign advertisement released Sunday.  What the trump campaign neglected to mention is that in the ad, media figures, including a slew of CNN’s TV journalists, were labeled “the president’s enemies.”   Just one pair of jackboots away from saying what the Trump Team really wish to say.

CNN has said it will “accept the ad if the images of reporters and anchors are removed.”

As it should be.

There is no responsible political operation–regardless of its partisan nature–who has the right to think attacking a most important part of our democracy is in anyway appropriate.  Given that journalists are more important to a republic than a standing army, and that there is so much violence bring promoted by this White House, it then goes without saying airing an ad that attacks the media is a non-starter.

Please note that as this story was playing out Trump also rightly drew criticism Tuesday for sharing a cartoon photo of a “Trump” train running over a man meant to represent a CNN reporter. Knowing that is was inciting violence that tweet was removed soon after it was posted.

The meme was similar to one Trump re-tweeted in July, which featured Trump at a wrestling event smacking down a man with a CNN logo superimposed on his head.

There is no need to ramp up the bile and vinegar from the Trump team that is only meant to create outrage form their base which doesn’t know better.