Washington DC. (CW44 News At 10 | CNN) -Mark Shields, a political analyst for CNN and PBS, died Saturday morning at the age of 85, the anchor from PBS NewsHour confirmed.
Shields was known for his “encyclopedic knowledge of American politics, his sense of humor and, above all, his big heart,” Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of NewsHour, wrote in a tweet announcing his death.
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Shields was a liberal political commentator on the broadcast for 33 years through six presidential administrations until he decided to retire in 2020.
He was also a regular presence on CNN for decades, primarily as a co-host of the weekly panel debate show “Capital Gang” from 1988 to 2005, where he challenged conservative co-hosts such as Robert Novak, Pat Buchanan and Kate O’Beirne.
“We at CNN were fortunate to work with such a kind, ingenious, funny man who was the same person for the powerful politicians as he was for the youngest employee on our team,” said Rick Davis, a former executive vice president. at CNN, who was previously executive producer of “Capital Gang”. Shields was “as good as a man you will meet in this business,” he added.
Shields, originally from Weymouth, Massachusetts, graduated from the University of Notre Dame before serving in the United States Marine Corps. He worked for several local and national Democratic political campaigns, including Robert F. Kennedy’s candidacy for the 1968 presidential election, and gained first-hand experience, which he later shared with readers and viewers.
In 1979, he became a columnist for The Washington Post, and before long, the column was carried nationally by the Creators Syndicate.
“I believe in politics,” Shields wrote for NPR’s “This I Believe” series in 2006, expressing both optimism about peaceful conflict resolution and pragmatism about the need for compromise. He also read the essay aloud on Morning Edition.
“At their worst, politicians – like the rest of us – can be petty, venal and self-centered,” he wrote. “But I believe that politics, at its best, can help make ours a world where the powerful are truly more just and the poor are more secure.”
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Shields brought that perspective to television in 1988 when he was named to his PBS analysis post. A partner in these regular segments was David Gergen, the veteran presidential adviser.
Gergen wrote on Saturday that Shields “was one of the best partners in TV history – thoughtful, witty, always a master of the little guy. He brought out the best in everyone he touched.”
He also matched Sense with Paul Gigot, editorial editor of The Wall Street Journal, and columnist David Brooks of The New York Times.
In a tweet Saturday, Brooks described Shields as “one of the finest and most beloved men I’ve ever known,” adding a 2020 story he had written with the headline “Mark Shields and the Best of American Liberalism.”
At the time of his retirement from NewsHour, Shields, with his typical self-effacing humor, called his Friday night discussions with Brooks “the most rewarding professional experience of my admittedly checkered career.”
“It’s been 33 wonderful years,” he said during his farewell broadcast.
His television conversations represented a more ingenious time in American politics and television news, with an abundance of deep insights and thought-provoking discussions rather than the barbs and insults often promoted today.
Shields died of kidney failure at his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, NewsHour spokesman Nick Massella told NPR. His wife Anne was by his side, Woodruff wrote in his tweet.
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