Saturday, January 28, 2023

Mark Shields, columnist and TV political commentator, dies at 85


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Mark Shields, a onetime marketing campaign supervisor who turned certainly one of Washington’s most revered political commentators, each as a syndicated columnist and as a genial liberal counterpart to a number of conservative sparring companions on PBS NewsHour, died June 18 at his house in Chevy Chase, Md. He was 85.

The trigger was kidney illness, mentioned his daughter, Amy Doyle.

Mr. Shields spent greater than a decade engaged on Capitol Hill and managing Democratic political campaigns earlier than turning to commentary in 1979, when he joined the editorial board of The Washington Post. He quickly turned a nationally syndicated columnist and a daily presence on tv panel reveals, finally spending 33 years as a commentator for what’s now PBS NewsHour.

The Wall Street Journal as soon as referred to as Mr. Shields one of many “wittiest political journalists in America” and “frequently the most trenchant, fair-minded, and thoughtful.”

He was, by his personal admission, a standard Massachusetts liberal within the mould of certainly one of his political heroes, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.). He helped arrange Kennedy’s 1968 presidential marketing campaign, which was gaining momentum earlier than Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles in June 1968.

Thereafter, Mr. Shields tended to view politics with a contact of sorrow-filled remorse. He usually mused that if Kennedy had been elected he would have develop into essentially the most inspiring and transformative president in a era. Instead, Mr. Shields was left to measure the aspirations and achievements of later generations of political figures, usually couching his views with bemused humorousness, brushed with the frustration of actuality.

Despite his liberal leanings, he was among the many first pundits to foretell Ronald Reagan’s runaway victory over incumbent President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

At totally different instances in his profession, Mr. Shields was paired with conservative commentators Robert Novak, David Gergen, Paul Gigot and, for nearly 20 years, New York Times columnist David Brooks. Mr. Shields interviewed Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the air and, in an more and more uncommon show of bipartisan camaraderie, remained on pleasant phrases with almost all of them, even after typically heated political disagreements.

In 2012, he and Brooks obtained a first-ever award for “civility in public life,” introduced by Allegheny College. Accepting the respect, Mr. Shields mentioned his evenhanded method was fostered at “NewsHour,” first by hosts Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer and later Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill.

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He mentioned he sought to keep in mind that “in every discussion that the person on the other side probably loves their country as much as you love our country; that they care about their children’s and grandchildren’s future as much as you do; that they treasure the truth as much as you do; and that you don’t demonize somebody on the other side.”

This is a growing story. A whole obituary will observe.

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