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'Best of Enemies' shows how ABC's 1968 political coverage fomented rabid TV news punditry




Buckley v Vidal
Buckley v Vidal

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A new documentary from Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville uses powerful, nostalgic 1960s television footage to show us how two men, Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, altered forever the media as we know it today.

In 1968, ABC News' ratings were so bad, people used to joke that if the network started broadcasting the Vietnam War, it would have been canceled in 13 weeks.

Desperate for a turnaround, the network hired conservative thinker and showman, William F. Buckley, and famed leftist novelist, Gore Vidal, to debate each other during the Democratic and Republican conventions. Their mutual enmity, deep-seated distrust, and magnetic personalities caused a ratings boom and marked the dawn of pundit television (and radio). Do Vidal and Buckley deserve praise or blame for their influence? 

Guests:

Morgan Neville, Co-Director/Co-Producer, "Best of Enemies;" Neville's past films include "Twenty Feet from Stardom," "Johnny Cash's America"

Robert Gordon, Co-Director/Co-Producer, "Best of Enemies;" Gordon is a Grammy Award-winning writer and filmmaker