October 19, 1987 was such a bad day on Wall Street that we call it “Black Monday.” It started in Hong Kong, where their stock market shredded 45% of its value, and it slowly followed the sun to frontiers of Wall Street. The US market went down 22.7%, the largest one day crash in the history of our stock market. By comparison, the first day of the Great Depression of 1929 showed a loss of only 11%.
Enter TOM CASSIDY of CNN. He was their business and financial anchor. On Black Monday, Cassidy stuck to facts, rejecting OMG/Chicken-Little stories. Other news outlets went bonkers, but Tom Cassidy kept CNN calm. Journalistic.
What most people don’t realize is that Tom Cassidy got news from his doctors that he was HIV positive. He was diagnosed with AIDS on Black Monday, the same day the country needed him to be calm on the air.
In fact, the disease had already progressed to AIDS before he was diagnosed. In 1987, having full-blown AIDS was a death sentence.
So Tom Cassidy anchored Black Monday on the very day he found out he was dying of AIDS, and he anchored coverage calmly and factually.
He died on May 26, 1991.
Everyone would say Rest in Peace, with feelings of gratitude on his coverage of a scariest day ever on Wall Street.
Not so much on CNN.
- Do a search on CNN.com, and Tom doesn’t appear.
- Ask Google to search CNN, and he’s mentioned once in an unrealizable XML file “tom cassidy” site:cnn.com
- Go to the list of CNN anchors at Wikipedia, and he isn’t listed. Wiki does have a short bio.
If one of my employees covered Black Monday with the class Cassidy showed, I’d be screaming his praise as loudly as I could. To CNN, it’s like Tom Cassidy never existed.
I don’t understand what was (and continues to be) CNN’s failure to acknowledge. AIDS fears? Homophobia (Cassidy died when DADT and DOMA were being formulated by so-called gay “friend” Bill Clinton. Why haven’t Anderson Cooper or Don Lemon done anything? The whole thing continues to be weird.
Rest in peace, Tom. Thank you for being a real journalist.