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tv   Open to Debate  CSPAN  December 4, 2016 3:00pm-4:16pm EST

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is "', 1941." steve tommy, countdown to pearl harbor, and craig nelson, pale hash lower is the name of the book, thank you for being on booktv. >> in 1979 c-span was created as a service by the nation's cable companies. >> okay. welcome to the hoover institution's washington, dc office. i'm make frank, the contributor here and it's my real today to be able to introduce our honored guest, heather hendershot is a professor at m.i.t., a professor of film and media there, has written a number of books.
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we met a year ago at a conference put on by the buckley program at yale, and i can see that she -- at the time she has a real affinity for trying to understand the connection between the communications world and the media world, on the one hand, and different elements of the conservative movement on the other. so it's -- this is a natural kind of outgrowth of her previous work, looking at that general area. open to debate is the book, heather has watched not maybe every single one of 33 years worth of "firing line" episodes but pretty close to it so probably the reigning expert on all things related to "firing line." so help me welcome heather hendershot to the program. [applause] >> thank you so much. it's really great to be here, particularly here at the hoover institution, because the hoover was so important to the research i did on the book.
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i was out at stanford where all the papers are, and of course they have -- preserved all the episodes and son but the papers and transcripts-couldn't have done it without ohoover institution so it's great to be here. the first thing that people ask me about this book is, why did you write it? and the short, quick answer well, in part it's this guy. i had been working on the book since 2011, and by about a year and a half ago it became more urgent as our level of discourse seemed to be deteriorating and the shouting matches seem to be increasing. seemed like a particularly important time to be talking bat show that really valued civil discourse, civil debate between people who disagreed with each other, and so part of the reason and the genesis of the book is from the impulse. the other force of the boost is more personal but my
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intellectual development. the book in 2011, called broadcast fog the public , into was that extremists who emerged in radio and television, mostly radio, local radio, and also somewhat on tv, in the year falls barry goldwater's defeat in 1964. so barry goldwater totally flame i out in the election. got 10 million votes beau return toed. people had a sense that liberalism has won for, the conservative movement is dead but a conservative movement blossomed in the wake of that defeat and some was on the more legitimate side which william f. buck lee was advocating for and also a lot of extremism, con pierer toal thinking, john birch society, peel thought -- that president eisenhower was an pat
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of the john birch society. and these poock to the air with as and anticivil rights and so on, and buckley at first was appearing on some of their tv shows. this is him in the early '50s on a show called fox form, which is created by hl hunt, the texas oil billionaire who put a lot of his fortunate into everyone communist television and radio, and buckley was a regular guest on he show but figured out this guy was bad for the movement, bad for the image of conservatism, an extremist and paranoid and so on. and just to tell you a little bit about buckley. he emerged as a national figure in 1951 with the publication of "god and man at yale," an attack on his alma matter and made hill a minor celebrity. the book edged into the
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bestseller list at number 14 so he became known from the book. but he really became known for a few years later, 1965, when wi he ran for mayor of new york, and you become a national figure and he ran as a protest candidate, protest can that john lindsey, was running on the republican ticket but was not conservative in any way. and buckley very famously was asked, what would you do -- the first thing you'll if elected and she said, demand a recount blot it just seemed so unlikely. and sure enough he did not win but staked a claim for conservative republicanism. and this put him in a really good position to start his own tv show, just one year later. because he was so articulate in the media and there was a great
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coup for his campaign where there was a newspaper strike so that maintain the radio and tv coverage the campaign increased dramatically, and buckley was great on tv. and he was great in part not only because he was so articulate some so smart and charming and used really long words that a lot of people didn't understand, sounds great, but he was not afraid to show what he really thought and felt. so, here he is, with john lindsey, lindsey looks peeved. and buckley is so bored because lindsey is not very articulate smart and buckley complained about lid si wrote his own speeches with ear-clanging sin -- sin tax, and people wrote letters to buckley and said i disagree with you and would never vote for you but thanks a lot for being honest and pointing to how much politics was rigmarole.
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he would decline to go to parades. because he said we're not going to talk about policy at parades. that's just image stuff and he was running his magazine, writing editorial columns and so on. so he was seen as a sort of honest candidate, even by people who thought he was much too right wing and too conservative for them. so the year after the campaign, he started his television show, "firing line," which ran from 1966 to 1999, 1500 episodes. and i want to show you a clip from that very first year with david suskind as a guest. suskind was a tv talk show host, a liberal, and had a show called "open end" because it was open-ended. if the conversation wag -- was going well they would keep talking.
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if it wasn't going well they would cut it off. i will show you actually two clips from the show to give you a sense of the flavor of the program. >> perhaps the first time in television history, the people are interesting, it was he who offended the program "open end" precisely to that proposition which committed viewers to listen for as many as three hours to playwright, artisted, thieves, prostitutes, ideologies. so this we are very grateful to him. sometimes a staunch liberal. if there were a con tennessee cob- -- contest titled mr. eleanor roosevelt he would win. there i a discuss is a prevailing bias, and if so, where does it pound and you are most welcome.
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would you in 2,000 words give us your preliminary views. >> i wonder if i were unwelcome how you would introduce me. i say rude and insulting book. i hopes you were having your own television program you would abandon your personal penchant for bitchiness and your rude behavior is congenital and compulsive. >> i'm always unabashed by your broad spirit. >> what a genteel discussion. suskind has a short fuse and buck leaver has a long fuse. a charming meeting of people who can't stand each other. and i'll show you one more clip from the same episode. >> certainly not here to deny that by and large, the news services and the television industry and the schools and
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universities are liberal dominated, are you, or are you. >> well, if you use is in a pejorative way, of course die. the entire thrust of cower country in at the last 40 years has been a liberal thrust in our legislation, churches, schools, and communications media. nothing sinister or evil. we call that progress. >> suskind is expressing the dominant line at the time. it opinions to how loon tack it would have seeped to have a conservative public affairs talk show in 1966. it's a labral country. what are you talking about? so it's kind of amazing in addition to political guests, buckley also had cultural figures, artistic figures, bach specialists. he was devoted to bach and would have -- discussing bach and i wanted to show you a clip from the episode with norman mailer, just to give you a sense what he did outside of the strictly
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political kind of discussion. this conversation is not apolitical. it's from 1968, and mailer has just published "armies of the night" and it won the pulitzer prize about the march on the pentagon, and the opening here is buckley reading aloud from i believe "time" magazine, their coverage of mailer at this event. >> after more obscenity, mailer introduced law who got annoyed and requested to speak later. i'll bellow but won't do any good. by the time the -- mailer was perky enough to get himself arrested. he explained with some pride on the way to the lockup. so, a tech. >> that's your time.
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>> it's good for the time. >> you were talking about maturation. i never -- >> i don't know what that means. >> that's the -- continuing correspondence. that's -- they talk of engaging in a scatological solo. that's what you get from the idea. so the confession i made what about victorrization. -- between the -- the intervention. >> you can see you're a student of the subject. >> keep up with me. >> trying to refocus the discussion. the "time magazine" observed -- >> okay so maybe the first and
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last time the word was used on american television, and really on any television show. i'm sure all of you are very sophisticated and know what it means but is means urination. so, it's a very sophisticated discussion about the scatological about -- a charming debate between people with very different world views but people enjoy this kind of sparring match, talking about their ideas on the show. buckley also had the spokespeople of radical movements in '60s and '70s. he had black power folks on the short-this milton henley and he is wearing a giant onc and had two security guards in fatigues behind him, who never moved throughout the whole thing, and they're up armed but probably usually are armed. some kind of negotiation with the producer to not have guns on she, and buckley never acknowledges they're there.
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never even makes eye contact. just talks to milton henry. and what is radical in part about the appearance of black power on the show is that the coverage of black power elsewhere was mostly sensationalist, up so bides and nixon conveyed to the network in the early '70s they shouldn't cover back power anymore, and ignore it. he encouraged them not cover vietnam as well but the continued to cover vietnam. but the dead minimize in the coverage of black power so if wasn'ts to learn about black power you didn't subscribe to a newsletter, "firing line" was a good place to learn about it. whether you tight it was a great idea or terrible idea. you could here the ideas expressed unedited on the show and that was remarkable. he also had -- here's eldridge cleaver on the show. he also covered the women's liberation movement on the
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practice he had betty fer dna on early on, and he was not a very good speaker, kind of inarticulate and was not invited back for 18 years and was the voice of the mainstream liberal feminism. a better episodes with we germane greer who was published "at the female eunuch" and buckley enjoyed talking to her. let me show you a clip from that encounter from the early '70s. >> which appeared sometime like a contradiction in my book, i to make he and she words equal or screen out she as forever incapable of equaling he grammatically. >> grammatically. >> you could be antifeminism by suppressing the female in a pronoun. >> the hierarchy. never heard of early man, you
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should refer to early humans which means you can't use -- >> not only that. what it mean is is that the real attitude is going to be concealed by a form of primitive censorship, and the actual situation won't change. it's like calling people -- when they're married. doesn't change the fact of their marriage. it's hypocrisy. >> you think of the answers on nomenclature is preposterous. >> such a trivial aspect of the real struggle and been given so much attention. it's part of the general movement to coopt the struggle for existence, really, and turn it into something -- >> okay, so, it's a really interesting moment because actually the two people agree about the nonsense of the way that liberal feminism wants to change language and both agree that ms. is a bad idea.
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buckley things it's not -- it's so jarring. and she says, it doesn't change the structural relationship of marriage if you call yourself ms., so thought she was kind of loon tack as far as trying to -- lunatic as far as trying to take down the family but they agreed about this issue in laing and after the show he wrote a thank you note, a as he always dade, and sacker god dam it you're good and she did not want to come back on the show but he was a terrific show. they just debated at cambridge student union the week before and she had resoundingly won that debate about women's liberation bay a photo of the cambridge students so in a way this episode was a rematch after that debate. buckley also had of course antifeminists on the show. the subject of the equal rights
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amendment came up and this is phyllis schlafly. the anti-fem is in activist and he also had margaret thatcher on the show twice, and this -- i want to show you a clip from the q & a. she was not there to talk about women's liberation, did not want to talk about gender issues at all but jeff greenfield, one of the common q & a guys at the time on at the questioner panel as a younge man, brought it up. and so this is their exchange. >> i wonder if your reputation, when you a cabinet member, the -- was margaret thatcher, no snatcher because of your ox to the program and that and your ideological stand helped you overcome the stereotypical objections to a woman holding office. >> no. very surprised, as i said, that
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at home on the whole we just look at the person and not necessarily the sex. you're limited. you're a man. certainly. the public -- the interesting thing foss mr. is the local government has not restored the free will despite all the propaganda, but, look, i -- i think these questions are very trivial. you don't mind my saying so. >> you can sense the sweet break -- the sweat breaking out, just been told off by margaret thatcher, and buckley is great because matcher is saying gender is to answer i-in uk and buckley is just poppycock, nonsense. if women are so qualified how come there rant more women in office and pushes back in an interesting way.
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another great episode was he did a few episode is with clare booth luce but this one episode, she specifically asked to be on she show to talk about feminism and they were old friends and he cooperate disagree with the idea of having her on the show so he did and he gave her this long, very positive introduction, and he concluded the introduction by saying, i should like to begin by asking if you find the way that people introduce you on television talk shows to be condescending. here's what she says. >> i thank you for that warm and extraordinary introduction. you would be pleased to know the entire introduction which was --
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only words and not a putdown. this is a high level of achievement for a man introducing a woman. you spoke of her inability on occasion to hold her tongue. now, had you been a man, would spoke out and made enemy for himself in the process, whether he was speaking out, right or wrong, you would have said, he is -- makes enemies by what he said. he is overly candid. you might use many phrases.
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but the phrase "hold her tongue" is a phrase that men frequently use about children and with -- >> opinion of the truth. >> no. it comes out of man's need, desire, highly successful, over the centuries to master women. >> so that's the beginning of the show, and then at the end of the show, as he is about to cut to the q & a session he says to her, the notion that women are inferior to men is an original sin of which i am not guilty, that women are inferior to men never occurred to me. there's different is patently obvious and i would not want to see them behind the wheel of every mac truck but you would find that insult organize would you, he is saying what do you really think. this is her response. >> i'm much too fond of you to tell you what i really think.
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perhaps -- >> one of the most charming and subtle and sophisticated of mail cough nists. >> i love that. it's flirty and bashful but she says, i never say it to you publicly, and obviously over a three martini lunch at his favorite italian restaurant you can imagine her telling him off quite a bit privately. so it's a wonderful sort of public moment of friendly disagreement between these two. i warrant to read to you from the book from the introduction and then from the chapter on civil rights and black power movement, and give you a sense of the flavor of the book. that's 20 minutes, and then we will open up to q & a.
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all know the program was undenily his for 33 years, "firing line" was not his idea. it's hard to major a tv star lest interested in tv than buckley. he won an emmy for "firing line" in 1969 and was the longest running public affairs show with a single host in u.s. history. but buckley remained a tv industry outsider. it would be somewhat unfair, even uncouth, to describe buckley as a snob. he did write a fun novel about elvis presley, and if he failed to understand how anyone could consider mick jagger a good singer, his voice couldn't be better than that of every fourth person lift nest the tell don't direct hi listeneds the the beatles during sessions with hi personal trainer. but he could not stand the beatle. in 1970 he consented to be interviewed by playboy magazine. made him practically hip.
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the appeared on the show, laugh-in, explaining didn't interview we playboy because i decided it was the only way to communicate my views to my son. and noting that he had only agreed papp on laugh insure because the producers offered to fly him out to california on an airplane with two right wings. at a press conference for buckley where henry gibson kerryed, mr. buckley, whole you're on television you're always seated. does this mean you can't think on your feet? buckley responded it's very hard to stand up carrying the weight of what i know. as though opinion about nudity and entertainment he tersely replied, it's excessive. and asked finally whose image would be more hammered by his appearance on laugh-in, his or she show's, laughed and said i suppose it will make you more respect ail, coy wink, and me
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less so, and both probably to be desired. manage ode play along and be a good sport and remained the dig nye identified spate of conservatism. it's doubtful the watched laugh-in but had a fondses areness for all in family, archie bunker he noted is the greatest anti-conservative ripoff in history of modern offenses you. don't knee karl marx. you just neil archie bunker. son buckley once acknowledgeds that anybody who wants to understand what is going on has to watch tv. the most bookish man i ever now, whether it at the chambers, watched television uninterruptedly from seven until 11:00 every night of his life. yet buckley also note head could's to watch tv and had no
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idea who joba the hut was, admitted to never watching professional football, and during his run for mayor of new york city, he was stumped by a reference to mickey mantle, all of which toy say buckler was neither unaware of the importance of mass culture, no are deeply plugged into it him. a devoteddalitiesman and hallways coloradoist. in a tv shoulder of songs from the school of music, here's the story, of a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls. how audacious it was for buck lee -- buckley to choo an exert senior from a tv show for his theme song. he setted down watch a movie ton tv. buckler loved the power to click from show to show and this family saw fit to slip a jar of peanut butter into his casket and also a remote control. individual program. s were fleeting interests to the
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founder and editor of america's most important conservative journal of pin, a man who tack vacations with the craig -- ronald reagan in barbados, how to a peanut and butter sandwich could only be -- and traveled to switzerland to write a book, taking daily ski breaks with david never vein good-ne have i in. would have been odd i buck lee had written the idea of hosting a tv show, even a political one in his 1989 book on "firing line" buck lee says the idea for the show was pitched to him in 1965 by a young entrepreneur. buckley was agreeable to the notion but deferred production until 18966 so he could complete his symbolic run for mayor of new york. only in this novel of ronald reagan he reveals the "firing line" was the brainchild of tom o'neill o'neill's company
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syndicated the show. and then buckley wents to pbs. "firing line" was a 13-episode series but ultimately ran for almost 1500 episodes. to understand how impress sis the numbers are consider that today a very successful program runs seven seasons to are total of 154 episodes. there were 635 episodes of the long running gun smoke and 456 enseed odd of law and order. buckley claimed from the beginning perhaps with some pride that heirs ratings were ex-signature guisse, which means scanty or meager. in fact, buckley would never turn a profit oregon "firing line" or "national review." these were laubors of love and ideological dedication. buckley, the supreme free market capitalist observed that there are enterprise friday life that simply aren't devicessed to
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generate profit. they do vital work. and as an art and sad row cat for -- excuse me -- "firing line" was not the only unprofitable public affairs type talk show on tv. there was also david suskind's and -- but "firing line" was the only specific live conservative example of some program. if "firing line" was unique as a public eight fairs program it did mirror the ethis tick of other public affairs describe shows. buckley described i my television show was mod testily designed. no production value, explained one horrified tv executive. it was to say the least, not a good-looking show. the carpeted dyas as drab, never veried and the guests were men in suit, legs crossed, socks,
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and pail white skin. the exemption, black power spokesman wear dashikis. feminists in pant suits and occasional visual relief. one could count on the distraction of buckley others plannerrisms, his almost british accent, inclination to dart his tongue out like a lizard. jeff greenfield, who emceed a celebration program photoed that television is said to be a visual medium. the only element of visual interest on "firing line" is whether mr. buickley would some day warted -- buckley would some day part his hair with his tongue but viewers came for at the views and for the sheer noted of seeing an articulate conservative -- you would find you politics defended and challenges in 1964 richards have steader atruck beads right wing
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thinking to paranoia, intellectualism and status anxiety. buckley seemed to be walking, talking proof of the insufficientty of the claim. and as if to drive the point home one whenever the earliest guests war barry gold earth, to men americans his defeat confirmed suskind's claim that the waning of extremism. buck leaver wanted to show the world that conservatism is alive and well, and that paranoid conspiracy theirists of the john birch society variety. to truly understand "firing line" we must consider how buckley used the show to stake a claim for gold water and what then seemed a pipe dream. the possibility of a thriving conservative movement, purged of the conspiraciry theorists, extremists and kooks.
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those folks who seem to have a stranglehold on american conservative of tim when "firing line" back number 1966. he would have to forge a new image of conservatism from scratch. i'll skip ahead to the chapter on civil rights and black power. in his first ten year once the layer, line line focuses on she civil rights and black power movements. as a right wing conservative buck lee was concerned about the kinds of systemic upheaval called for by boast approaches to the problem of racism. he did not oppose, for example, the elimination of racial discrimination, encourage. of black percentage and economic empower. , the existence of integrated schools or the preferential treatment of blacks in hiring positions but did oppose most federal government intervention in these issues. oning there to express his convictions about fish until his columns and books and quite
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another to deal with them the dialogue with advocates of civil rights and black power or on the other side with the advocates for the maintenance of the racist status quo. this is what makes "firing line" unique. on page he height have seen aligned with the segue degree gracessist strom thurmond on every issue and in person -- it was good conversation about racial issues with conservatives and liberals there many of the subtleties were reveals. black power and civil rights leaders took advantage of the program as a venue in which to air their positions. one does get a subtle sense of the black radicals thought they were using his program to air ideas in full away from the sound bite culture of the media. elsewhere their commend wood be edited. on ion line line that ha tout but with a white guy asking questions but they could express anti-establishment revolutioner
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in and marxist arguments that was usually only saw the light of day in underground newspapers. given this context the radicallists avoided invective there was more self-restraint here, the producer, a large blustery man with a per perpetually untucked in shirt. he so issued allen ginsburg by forbidding direy words that begins during complained he would have to censor his thought pat concern, and buckley suggestedded to cleaver that the ftc feed for cursing would cancel out his payment for appearing on the show. if there was any guest who did not need coaching how not to incur the rath of the ftr is kratz civil rights maverick james farmer, the very picture of decorporal in where does
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the -- decorum. in -- buckleymast arguments' patients having the right to send their children to any school they want else i cleaned people depth discovering new rights and james baldwin was west. baldwin was too mess mystic about what could be accomplished in america. farmer cut a striking fig, radiating dignity and composure defending baldwin and he tried to tamp down with each knew cigarette he lit. in his baritone, shades of james earl jones, he countered that theerns of negro ghetto ares form. farmer, the fact of the matter is most of our victories legislative is spoken to south and not the north and the 17-year-old dropout youth in a harlem street couldn't care his is if cousin in mississippi could buy a hot dog him said what about the rats that bite me. buck lee: why don't they kell the rats?
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a law you can't kill the rat? i'm so tired of that argument. if have rads and put traps all over the place and still there. never been able to get rid of them. farmer e.: in harlem if you kill one'd two more come back too carry his carcuss away. buck lee: why don't that happen in other cities a superb refuge in harlem? do away with refuge. it's a -- farmer when you have an entire family that's the state's duty to remove the garbage. buckley. look, ironing notice suggesting demeanallizing the garbage collection. farmer: you're in favor of garbage collection? buckley: i'm in favor of social rights garbage. everyone laughed, including farmer, and attention is briefly eased but buckley won't let go there's nothing special about the ghetto garbage problem. when farmer asked if rats had bitten his children buckley suggests he's being more dramatic. there are more refined moments
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in the program as when they discussion the nature goals of the civil righteds movement but their discussion of the rad problem in the ghetto is this most memorable part of show because buckley is so honest and yet so very cape -- incapable of those living in squalor, that the rat problem was worse in harm almost and stanford, connecticut, was. plausible to him. but the time he knew it was on the show in 1973 the black panthers were struggle can, newton and cleaver had a falling out. cleaver was in exile in algiera, several leaders has been killed, and the fbi infiltrated the organization and peninsula. ed seed odd dissension. on "firing line" newton was all smiles and buck lee was flummoxed by his guest. at one point the host explained, i'm attempting to pin down a point and i'm losing track of it. and maybe that one of the difficulties you have ace chief
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spokesman for the black panther aparters your total incoherence, people don't understand what you're talking about. i don't understand what you're talking about. and i'm a very close listener. newton talked in a cheerful steady dream of maoist propaganda. finally buckley performed the line line line version of throwing in the towel. her put down his clipboard, signaling he realizes the futility of attempt doing tame his guest. to viewersed in sympathy with newton's cause the it would not have seemed as incoherence as buckley found it. knew to an would an of able revolutionary but those skeptical of the students radicals would have fount it confirmed with newton's performance, liberal "firing line" viewer in cambridge, massachusetts, wrote buckley i thought hughie nudititon made a die electric tick ass out of himself without any help from you. there's no denying he laid down the revolutionary shtick with a
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heavy hand. this is one hover final "firing line" episodes to address the topic. remarkably, many years later buck lee was acknowledge his change of thinking regarding federalism and voting rights. in 2004 he told "time" i believed with could evolve our way up from jim crow. was wrong, federal intervention was necessary. the antiraces simple, prostates right advocate hat come around but by then almost everyone had at least in theory. the twilights years jesse helm was still maintaining the south choo have been left alone with its race problem. buckley may have shifted his thought's federal inintervention, and -- improving the lot of american blacks reached its apogee in the '60s and and '7s so the topic after
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race was left on the sideline in the 1980s in 1998 buckley had an interesting encounter with the aclu executive director ira glaser. he twists glycerose arms for year to appear on a debate tiled "resolve: the aclu is full on back lone in." glaser thought it was a setup but he finally consented to appear. glaser dug into the national review archives to find questionable stuff buckley said about civil rights and read is on the show. glaser described his old national review material as unrespect anneable and says that buckley now ultimatum. then buck lee was at dinner at the time glaser -- gasser said, well, pat, so many terrible things. you have to do something about that in private. needless to say she did not. this was just friendly dinner party banter. off the air the director of the aclu and architect of the post war movement good at along.
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glasser had taken buck lee -- buckley to his first baseball tim and imest sinned ininsisted to take the subway. not buckley's limo. the price of advocating no holds bar tv debates was that sometimes you would lose, and your opponent would proffer you had at one point really been full of baloney. [applause] >> can i take some questions? >> where to begin. first of all, this was the best idea i've had in a long time to come to this. this has been -- >> thank you for coming. >> every single word.
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i've lode every moment of this. this has been great. cannot wait to finish the book which will be this weekend. okay. gore vidal. you have seen the recent documentary -- >> best of him ins. >> exactly. what did you think of it -- best of enemies. what did you think of and it particularly the gore vidal -- in documentary is said that vidal knew that buckley wouldn't prepare for the debate such as it was. is that true? and what was his preparation for the shows? i was raised on the show, and i -- so what was his preparation on the show? one question. the other question is, i've been told but don't know that english is not buckley's first language. it's actually spanish. and is that true and what is the
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source of that kind of cut glass kind of -- >> a lovely way to put it. answer to both of your questions. first of all, best of enemies i want to plug that movie. a terrific documentary. the last five minutes says a few things are too overreaching about this being the beginning of fox news and the end of civil debate and that's not spot on but a really good film and they note the film that buckley did nod prepare for his first encounter with gore vidal. they were having a discuss at the democratic national convention in 1968 and paid them handsomely to be on the show, but they asked buckley, would you do this commentary and she said, okay, and he said there is anyone you want want to appear with he said i'd appear with anyone except gore vidal. and of course, vidal had a gap are gotcha thing, and they head -- buckley was
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underprepared and vidal was overprepared and parade all of his off the cuff equip sod -- quips and by they had he second discussion buckley was more prepared and then he lost his temper and was mortified by that he had been uncivil and used cuss words on television. so he did prepare for the second part. now, the question about the show preparation, he had a researcher at the national review offers, and a few other people came in and out i i've seen the folders of research material. they would photocopy newspaper magazine articles, get background and so on so he had all of the easterlyfront of him and he would study the material in his limo on the way to show. read the books written by the people on show shot. a voracious reader.
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would would just read a book at the barber shop. he would prepare on the fly and do the show and get back is in limo and type the next editorial column in a special typing table in the limo in the back. so very well-prepared for the shows and you into eone of the charming things people have their note padded around him, yell low legal pads and maybe glasses and a clean nix and glass of water and cigarettes on the show and saw this clutter, sort of no production value, like this poorly designed. and you see him during an interview looking down and see this with the mailer clip, what's next, figuring it out. so, in an answer to your second question, it's true that buckley's first language was spanish himself nanny was spanish speaking and he learned spanish first and then learned english and then french. he thought the was very good in french but apparently a little awkward and weird. many maybed hat a spanish accent. but he was home-schools in the
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early years of his police officer and they actually had a townhouse with all the kids -- eight or ten kids and would rotate from floor to floor, spanish on the first flow and political science on the second floor and then math and rotate all day. and at certain point he was sent to a british boarding school. his mother was enduring a difficult pregnancy and the are they sent him air so he picked up his british accent that never totally went away, and then there was a little bit of connecticut thrown in there so you had dish don't think such a spanish inflection but it's kind of amazing hodgepodge of language backgrounds he had, and his brother, james buckley, had a similar voice. not quite as distinctive and weird but there's that subtle almost british inflection underneath it. people thought it was put on, just like this is how i talk. in fact i he were surprise on "60 minutes" right before reagan was sworn in and they were like,
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why do you talk like that, use big words he said that's just how i talk. talk to my dogs that way. use big words. that's the best -- and you gees need to find the right words, sometimes precise words are the way to go. >> your book is excellent. realen videos. one thing you say in the conclusion is that you think -- you said this as you talked about -- there really is a void in contemporary media landscape and there could be a place for a "firing line," that we don't have this on cable news, there's a search for a real, honest, intellectual combat, and i the can the question for you is, given that buckley really helped sort of mainstream and make the conservative movement palatable
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to the left, by not just taking on liberals but taking on liberal radicals, he helped people see that conservatives weren't radicals themselves in contrast. and that answered a real need in the conservative movement of the 1960s or '70s but in the american conservative movement in 2016, it face is different challenges than the conservative movement then. so i wonder if there were to be a reprisal of "firing line," what service could it play. what could it do for a modern consecutive movement in terms of -- conservative mom in terms of credibility. think in fact given in a trump era there's a lot it could do. >> i agree. it's important to note things are different now than the war in the '60s, obviously. but we do have a resir generals of extremism, right-wing rhetoric and talk, the birthers.
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there's just been a lot of -- i sometimes talk about the extremists as kind of like weeds in the garden and buckley pulled them out and they come back again. it's a constant sort of battle within the conservative movement to deal with the fringe right and of course on the liberal side there are fringe left wing people and management on both sides. i would hope there would be a space for this kind of civil discussion on television today, and we're in a niche era where there seems to be television for everyone. if you want a show how to buy a house and flip it you can find that. a show about gardening, pets, it's so -- such as subdivided market place of interests, and the thought that there's not one niche in there for sophisticated political discussion, long form, not cut up we clips, unthinkable. has to be rom for a that and what i say in book, in the conclusion you reference, is
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that possibly this could be on hbo which has a reputation for quality. it's where the show was shot for many years, it's a place where a show wouldn't have to be interrupted by advertisements and people poo just sit down and talk. so, it may by sort of pie in the sky but it's useful to imagine what this kind of discussion could mean. what it could mean for the conservative movement is harder to speculate about. it's too soon to tell what going to happen next for the conservative movement and for the republican party. they are at this kind of crossroads now. will a third party emerge? is there a sense the republican party has been corrupted or is that not the answer? i can't really dish decent have a crystal ball to to -- there of peek who could disagree and talk about ideas without shouting at each other and cutting off his mic i, this nonsense we see on fox news and also msnbc,
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overproduced spectacle of shouting that, could only be -- it would have to be helpful but can't say it would fix the conservative movement. it wouldn't, tv is not that powerful. tv is helpful. i hope that answers your question a little bit. >> yes. >> in the beginning of she show came on he heels of the end of vatican ii. i wonder if he had on any leading figures of american catholicism. >> he stuck to liberal religious figures because he wanted to debunk their ideas. he vender about the political involvement of the church. and of course he was not thrilled about vatican ii, someone who found a -- saying the mass in latin for 30 or 40 years and would have his own private service in latin.
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so, he had on reference kaufman of -- reverend lawn of -- kaufman from year-old to talk about in the ol' roof political activist, and political activities, and that was an interesting discussion. but there were over the years not a huge number of catholics who were in agreement with him except for mall culp -- mall culp -- who would concert to catholicism but that we've theological discussions about faith and so on. one this thing is this relationship to the christian right that he voiced the kind of respect for what they were doing politically but i think, and it's hypothesis -- that he didn't get that kind of faith practice.
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he didn't get this kind of loud, seemed crude to him compared to catholicism, the way that evangelicals were practicing and the direct traps layings of politic -- translation of politics. he thought the things they were pushing for were right on but had very few of those people on his show and at a moment when they were impacting the conservative movement, and in the '80s and and '90s, didn't really care for pat robertson. he did in theory. knew him outside of the media sphere but wasn't having people on he show. one of the interesting show is is with jerry falwell where falwell comes on and speaks very moderately about how he just wants a liberal pluralistic society where people can give their opinions and buckley says i read all your literature and you seem very moderate here. you're very different from how you convey yourself to your
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constituents, acknowledging your spinning yourself for a mass audience but we know you're a radical guy, and falwell wouldn't acknowledge it. so, one thing that is interesting how he wants all these big political players on and yet when it comes to christian right he is like, there's ideas are good but does welcome them on the show you. want to look at his engagement of his ideas after faith and champic, his didn't one've tis favorite episodes was an episode with mall culp mugridge they shortened to a half hour and ran every chase. and the other favorite was at the panama canal debate with ronald reagan, which he was on the other side of the fence from ronald reagan, and for most conservatives, and the other favorite episode was -- a bbc interview with settle it in
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send. >> i have been very much looking forward to reading the book. i'm a huge fan in russia probably there's not -- to make a proper "firing line" society, had to come all the way here. my question is, related to the making of the leader of conservative movement intellectually. how do you think -- what was so special about buckley that really helped him garner the clout of sort of overreaching, super natural transcendent furring that would -- if needed, cast aside the birch society and would always be there in terms of overlooking the movement.
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as far as i see now, there's not a single person on the right with whom anybody -- everybody on the right would agree within five or seven minutes and i think that was different. >> i would want to overstate that everyone agree with buckley on consecutive side but he -- conservative side but he was very popular. some people on the far right who was like, this guys is an elitist, went to yale and that spoon are populist side opposed him but he achieved this kind of almost consensus among the movement and it's hard to say how that happened with the magic farm la and he was so unique. not like we'll have another buckley who what that smart and funny -- i think a lot of what was appealing about him he had a fine-tunedded sense of humor that conversation would turn very serious and not like he would suddenly crack a joke but
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had a sensible that politics has a humorous side to it and we have to keep our sense of humor, keeps us human and talking to the other side and so on, and that's something that seems quite lacking today. notably one of the very worst episodes of "firing line" when he has grouch you marx on. very funny when he talks about humor and dent get any of grouch o's jokes. it's a terrible show but appealing in it's awfulness. like the worst godzilla movie you have ever seen. i'm not sure quite how but the humor was a key part of that, and i think also just being on a mass media era, saying about this niche stratification of the culture. it's hard to imagine one figure emerging as this key voice on television because we don't have three channels and pbs. we have hundreds of channels. so, its harder to make a splash
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in the media in certain ways, unless you are extreme and loud and paranoid or crude or whatever. those kinds of things that are ratings grabbers. [inaudible question] >> hip the -- hypothetical debate with -- [inaudible question] how he would handle that conversation -- >> guest: with someone like the president-elect? towards the end i'm talking -- the for referencings referencint specification moment -- where buckley responded to current events but always liked to look at the bigger picture, and so
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unlike the news media cycle where you have to respond to what happened that day, on the show he could bring in someone to talk about what is the future of the conservative party, which is exactly what he would be talking about right now, where are republicans go, conservatives go? and he would want to be looking at the big picture and trying to conceptualize it. ...
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in 2009 or 10 not necessarily for policy necessarily, but he wrote an article about trump and jesse ventura who was the wrestler who became governor of the leave of minnesota and the article is called the demagogues are common. he handily takes down trump and subscribes and that the demagogue and nurses says. he was really offended by him and the notion that buckley was so proper. and this person would run for office without the qualifications. he would have been very propelled throughout the election. they're one of the first big players to come out against trump with that national review with yosemite sam character of trump and say no way. at the same time, the magazine
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had place for conservatives. their official line is that they did not support him but the magazine was always for different conservative points of view could hash it out. there was never a strict ban on one ideological date. i think he would've been pleased with how the magazine negotiated in the days leading up to the elections. what i'm seeing now is more kind of a pragmatism in the national review where they are like okay this is what happened, now where do we go from here? they are speculating about polling and so on but they are being an issue are being issued focus and what will happen with iran in sorting it out. so yeah. >> two quick follow-up questions. one with respect to rein in such
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a reference in the other with respect to finding what you know a little bit about the early stages of funding that is a very long running show on pbs, how involved was buckley and sort of the continued funding of the show when it was on tbs and how did the ratings matter or not matter? >> that's a good question. the ratings were up and down. he says they were always four. they were up and down a bit when he was syndicated yet he was on the market to market basis before he goes to pbs in 1970. the ratings were up and down in part because it was a clunky system. they were scheduling him poorly. people who loved the show were watching it every day at 8:00 and suddenly removed to sunday morning. they moved it to sunday morning right after it won its first
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emmy for cellmate enemy. buckley wrote them a letter saying and what are you doing? or just won an emmy and numeral two to sunday morning forever respect a person is in church or golfing. he had to flee the syndication market to pbs pm for the ratings were less relevant. they were telling on pbs on one thing interesting is you had this person, this huge choice of the free market and they have to live the free market for his tv show to succeed it tendency to do for profit. you do because they're good. you expect the cap the church to make money. the catholic church is doing just fine. his point was you could be in a not-for-profit ambassador and it was worthy. once he was on pbs, he did as well as the other public affairs
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shows on pbs. pbs never published -- showed their ratings, but they sporadically but hired nelson to do numbers for them and send the numbers out to their producers running the programs. he was doing okay, which means on the low end. the highest numbers or pbs for "sesame street." bed upstairs, downstairs and masterpiece theatre and this british import or popular in the 70s and 80s. and to buckley's chagrin, monty python circus did very well on pbs. and pbs was thrilled because they have not done viewers expect the toddler set from "sesame street." they were getting young male viewers watching specifically watching monty python. it was just beneath him to even
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consider this was a good tv show. i actually say in the book he must've been so chagrined by margaret thatcher parodied the dead parrot sketch from monty python and the public address. although he might not have even gotten it. she said something like the liberal party is dead. making fun of them and they're probably like what is she doing? she got along on pbs and then when the reagan administration defunded pbs and nixon tried to defend it and no pbs programming was up-and-down from that. what was greatest to read the letters that buckley sent out to people raising money where he said reagan has defunded pbs, now i need you to pay for it. not surprisingly he was supporting the free market and capitalism and there is a lot of work to capitalist. here's the money to keep your show going.
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he and particularly the old foundation and other private foundations and so on and so forth funded the show over the years. he had some ups and downs, but basically there is never a doubt he would get the money he needed once that was defunded in the 80s. this altered on. other questions? yes. >> in your preparation and research on the book, you must have read some of his books. i'm sure a lot of them. did you have any favorites among those achieved by assertive really caught -- is other stuff where you felt like he was really have his powers. >> i believe i think it is cruising speed. it's not like 72 or so? that's a really fun one.
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it ranks up there with the new journalism and the one in the fourth. it is a really fun and interesting answer to that at the peak of his power and his renowned as the one. he's dealing with political issues, but given a sense of his lights out, but not so much you have a limo. it is not so heavy-handed that some of the later books. he talks about personalities. he went to a bar with truman capote in its assertive comfortable with that. i think probably cruising speed with the one i would recommend. >> please welcome -- [inaudible] caught not [inaudible] be mac
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>> were intensively visited tempe town like to learn more about the city's growth from public information officer chris baxter. he might typically when the tourist city we are on land driving around. we are not on slaughter in a pontoon boat. tell me where are we right now and what is the significance of the water here in tempe? >> this is tempe. we don't do things the normal way. we try to do it different. we are in the middle of tempe town lake and what's really interesting about this is most people don't have legs that are brand-new. i lake is 17 years old very soon. >> tell me why it was built. >> this actually used to be a
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very barren stretch on the salt river. the salt river runs quite a ways throughout arizona and it was dammed up in the 1930s when the roosevelt dam was built. this beautiful stretch of river bed, you know, that had fish in water flowing into was dry and people used to put garbage in here. we work hand-in-hand with the army corps of engineers. we took everything out of fear that it in here for decades and we've turned this into a lake. this lake is responsible for $1.5 billion worth of economic development in our community. >> you lived here before. what changes have you seen while pretty much nothing that you see here was here with the exception of the two bridges. >> we are talking about the buildings around here. all the shops on all the
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restaurants. >> nothing was here before 1999. as far as the eye can see a snail in the lake is responsible for all of it. the reason our city exists as this is a really great place across the river. where we are right now is exactly where our city was founded. >> originally was here -- [inaudible] >> absolutely. this is a very crossing in the building you see behind you with all the columns with her original first business. between the and the mail, this is how our city got its start. >> what is the city like now? >> tempe ,-com,-com ma arizona is one of the mustard in a densely populated cities in all of arizona. we are the number one college town in america is named by visibility. we are doing amazing things. tempe is known for being innovative.
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turning the river into a lake is pretty original, right? you don't hear that very often. one of the things that we have to do is we have to create a lake that could become the river again because there is water that runs from the salt river and it comes down way. it's not just we are going to put up a wall. we have a working dam at the end of the so when it rains, when we have a big snowmelt, this lake becomes the river. we can let out as much water as we need to and raise the dam up again and have a lake. >> how is that utilize recreationally? does it draw people? >> the lake has 2.4 million visitors every year. the second-largest tourist destination second only to the grand canyon. this lake is hospital for a huge amount of economic development. our population has grown quite a bit. we have combos right behind you.
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we have condos that are here on both sides of the lake and across the lake. just the sheer building of those has resulted in a lot of new. but we have fortune 500 companies located here. part of it is people want to play in tempe town lake. if you're working at this building right behind you, a lot of people have standups paddle boards in their office. they grab their board, walk out, hit the water in there they are. we have a lot of tech companies here. we have go daddy a few miles down the road. this is the lifestyle that no one else want. our average age is 28 years old for cities. this is a really active community. >> do you think that reflects in the community with new ideas and a lot of energy? >> students play a huge role not
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only in our community, that the world in general. one of the things is a huge amount of research that has been said that college students are a paradise. they have a cure for ebola threat originated out of the institute at arizona state university two miles down the road from here. they have built components for the mars rover part of asu. again, using students who live here. the inventions committee eight years, new companies created here over time. >> why tempe? why do they want to open in tempe? >> the reason people come here is because of the innovative nature. there is nobody here that says you can't do that. we think the best thing to do is say let's figure out a way to say yes. let's figure out a way for you to support your dream. back to me is what makes us unique. we didn't say we didn't like
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having another river bottom. we said we want to have some pretty water. we spent 30 years figuring out the answer. we started in 1965. this concept was created by asu, arizona state university and its architecture students came up with this idea. over the 30 years they figured out how to fund it. we figured out what it would take to support the annual maintenance sunday. for about $100 million for the $1.5 billion back with all these beautiful places to live, all these great places to work in truly hundreds of new businesses generated just ran the states that want to be here. >> you are from tempe originally. what do you want to see next? we've seen all this growth and changes that have been pretty rapidly. what is your ideal scenario for your city? >> what i think tempe one, the city


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