Mark Shields, TV Political Columnist & Commentator, Dies at 85 @ Celebrity Exit

Mark Shields, TV Political Columnist & Commentator, Dies at 85 @ Celebrity Exit
Mark Shields, TV Political Columnist & Commentator, Dies at 85 @ Celebrity Exit

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Placeholder while loading stock for articlesMark Shields, a former head of marketing campaigns who became one of Washington’s most respected political commentators, both as a syndicated columnist and as a cool liberal counterpart to several conservative training partners in ” PBS NewsHour,” he died June 18 at his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He was 85 years old. Problems with kidney disease were the trigger, said his daughter, Amy Doyle. Shields spent more than a decade working on Capitol Hill and running Democratic political campaigns before turning to commentary in 1979, when he joined the editorial board of The Washington Post. He quickly grew to become a nationally syndicated columnist and daily television presence, ultimately spending 33 years as a commentator on PBS. The Wall Road Journal once referred to Mr. Shields as one of “America’s wittiest political journalists” and “relentlessly essentially the most scathing, unbiased and thoughtful.” In a press release, PBS NewsHour host Judy Woodruff said, “Mark Shields had a magical combination of skills: unsurpassed political experience and irrepressible enthusiasm, delight and humor that shone through in all of his work.” . by his personal admission, a standard liberal from Massachusetts within one of his political heroes, Senator Robert F. Kennedy (DN.Y.). He helped organize Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1968, which was gaining momentum before Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles in June 1968. Thereafter, Shields tended to view politics with a touch of remorseful sadness. He often reflected that if Kennedy had been elected, he would have become the most inspirational and transformational president of an era. Instead, Shields measured the aspirations and achievements of later politicians with a bewildered humor bordered on the frustration of reality. “I will go to my grave believing that Robert Kennedy would have been the most effective president of my life.” He ran the New York caucus in 1993. As a political operative in the 1960s and 1970s, Shields worked in 38 states and ran John J. Gilligan’s successful 1970 gubernatorial campaign in Ohio. He also ran one of Boston Mayor Kevin H. White’s many profitable re-election campaigns for four terms. By the late 1970s, Shields was a fixture in Washington. The waiters at the old-fashioned restaurants in the city’s center of power (Duke Zeibert’s and Mel Krupin’s) gave him top tables and knew his favorite order of crab and Tab truffles. (He stopped drinking alcohol in 1974.) Mr. Shields walked away from labor campaigns after pointing out that most of his candidates were off the mark. He joked that he had written more concession speeches than anyone in Washington. He began to combine his understanding of politics with his simple sympathy and his talent for storytelling: “Remember the candidate who set his hair on fire with the blowtorch dedicating the sheet metal fabrication unit? There we were, trying to cut his hair…”. In 1979, he contributed his first columns to The Post, presciently suggesting that President Jimmy Carter’s re-election efforts were in trouble because he couldn’t run the same campaign. model that earned him the presidency in 1976. “Your survival intuition of him might be to go back to the system and the systems that won for him before,” Shields wrote. “In 1980, however, he was unable to visit a local activist and tell her something about himself. … What he does or does not do as president will overshadow what he says or does not say as a candidate in Sioux Metropolis or Manchester.” Regardless of his liberal leanings, Shields was one of the first experts to predict that Republican Ronald Reagan would defeat Carter in 1980. After leaving The Post in 1981, he continued to write a syndicated column for 40 years. public television stations. He interviewed Republican and Democratic lawmakers and, in a now-outdated display of bipartisan camaraderie, had pleasant conversations with nearly all of them, including House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr. (D-Mass. ) and Republican Senator Alan Ok. Simpson (Wyoming). “He brings a breath of fresh air to that form of exercise,” Simpson told The Post in 1983. “He’s a dragon slayer and he has brisk, smooth, racy, ironic humor. .”After “Inside Washington” closed in 1983, Shields appeared on other panel shows, including “Capital Gang,” where he was a daily newspaper from 1988 to 2005. He joined “PBS NewsHour” in 1987. Republicans, but Shields could be a scourge to his fellow Democrats. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, he joked that “George Washington was the president who would never tell a lie; Richard Nixon was the president who could in no way inform reality; and Bill Clinton is the president who can’t tell the difference.” In one of his last appearances on “NewsHour” in 2020, Shields pointed out that the Democratic Rally had historically been the political home of lunchbox, working-class white males. The problem of social gathering in the 21st century, he said, “is certainly one of perspective as well as platform. I mean, Democrats, once a shots and beer meeting turned into a sauvignon blanc meeting arguing about which wine is more delicate.” However, he found little humor in the administration of President Donald Trump. “I mean, what this president has accomplished is not outrageous. He is not indefensible. He is prison,” Shields said on “NewsHour” in 2019, during the first Trump impeachment inquiry. “He has abdicated, abrogated and completely corrupted his oath in the workplace.” NewsHour,” New York Times columnist David Brooks. In 2012, he and Brooks won an award for “civility in public life,” presented by the Allegheny School of Pennsylvania. Accepting the dignity, Shields said his impartial approach was inspired on “NewsHour,” first by anchors Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer and later by Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill. Gwen Ifill, who overcame obstacles as a black journalist, dies at 61, she said She tried to remember that “in every conversation that the person on the other end probably loves their country as much as you love our country; who care about the future of their children and grandchildren as much as you do; who treasure reality as much as you do; and don’t demonize anyone on the other side.” Mark Stephen Shields was born on May 25, 1937, in South Weymouth, Massachusetts. His father worked in sales for a paper company and his mother had been a teacher. His family was steeped in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Democratic politics, and Mr. Shields grew up reading five newspapers a day. He graduated in 1959 from the University of Notre Dame, then served in the Marine Corps for two years. (He said profit-hungry companies should follow the Marine philosophy that enlisted personnel always eat before officers.) Shields then moved to Hollywood, where he worked for a corporation that garnered studio audiences for television shows. He came to Washington in 1964 and was on Sen. William Proxmire’s (D-Wisconsin) team before becoming a campaign clerk. Shields retired from “NewsHour” in December 2020 and resigned from his column in 2021. He taught at the College of Pennsylvania and Georgetown College and was in demand as a speaker and master of ceremonies. He was a longtime member of the National Press Membership and the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Washington. Survivors include his wife of 55 years, the former Anne Hudson, an attorney and federal official; his daughter, Amy Doyle; and two grandchildren.Mr. Shields noted that many candidates for federal office ran on a platform of how much they despised Washington. However, once chosen, they tended to stick around. He quoted a line from Sen. Claiborne Pell (DR.I.) as if it were an immutable law: “There are only two ways people leave Washington. For the electoral field or the funeral home field.”

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Mark Shields, TV political columnist and commentator, dies at 85 on Superstar Exit