November 16, 2000
Growing up and feeling older - THE COMMENTARY
By Joseph Planta
VANCOUVER -- Itís a Saturday morning and Iíve been up for a while. Just gone through the two daily papers that come to the house, The National Post and The Vancouver Sun. Iíve also gone through the Western Jewish Bulletin and the copy of Saturday Night thatís in my weekend Post.
A couple of thoughts: I checked my overnight e-mails and learned of Bernard Shawís impending departure from CNN. Bernie is the anchorman who anchored CNNís coverage of Election 2000 alongside Judy Woodruff, the brilliant Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schnieder. Iíve long admired Bernie Shaw, as I can vividly remember that fateful night almost a decade ago when he Peter Arnett and the late John Holliman were trapped in a Baghdad hotel room, when American forces began bombing that town. They broadcast live and they kept me, an 8 year old kid, glued to the TV watching their coverage.
I distinctly remember retelling their exploits in my elementary school journal the next morning. To say they didnít have an impact is absolutely naive. They did. Mr. Arnett subsequently left CNN after some fibbing done on a documentary and Mr. Holliman was tragically killed about two years ago in an automobile accident. I remember learning of John Hollimanís death and conjuring up images, in my minds eye, of their narration as the skies of Baghdad were lit up with American fire. Upon his death I posted a personal tribute to John, saying he and his colleaguesí endeavours that night, impacted my young life. Trivially, they brought war into my consciousness.
So, Bernie Shaw is leaving. Heís probably CNNís chief anchorman and from the old school of Walter Cronkite. Bernie, was actually an apprentice many, many years ago, when Uncle Walter was doing the CBS Evening News. Unlike Cronkite, however, Bernie is good on his feet. Heís a masterful ad-libber, except that instance a couple of years ago, when expletives were seen/heard to leave Shawís mouth. I guess itís an end of an era. That live coverage CNN did during the Gulf War was their work and it defined CNNís role as the worldís news leader. I guess, if it isnít live on CNN, itís not Ďbreaking newsí. Arnett, Holliman and Shaw defined their employer that night in 1991.
With that triumvirate gone from CNN, it gives me pause and makes me think of my life. I grew up with people like Bernie Shaw in my consciousness. I wasnít a fan, but immediately when thinking of news personalities in America, Bernie Shaw is up there with Jennings, Rather and Wallace. I guess the correlation to my life is that I feel older.
Sinatra, who I idolised as a youth is dead. Trudeau, who I did the same, is gone. Steve Allen, who left us a couple weeks ago, had tremendous impact on my life. (As an aside, I recently heard of Fred Rogersí upcoming retirement.)
I donít remember a hell of a lot growing up, but a lot of those memorable moments, now see their players exiting. I guess Iím feeling older. I guess Iím growing up.
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