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tv   Open to Debate  CSPAN  December 11, 2016 10:45am-12:01pm EST

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>> welcome to the hoover institution washington, d.c. office. my name is michael franc and i'm the director. it's my pleasure today to be able to introduce our honored guest, heather hendershot, a a professor at mit. she is a professor of film and media, has written a number of books. we met about a year ago at a a conference that was put on by the berkeley program at yale and i can see that 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 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 of episodes but pretty close to it
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i think. she's probably the reigning expert on all things related to firing line line, so please hele welcome heather hendershot to the podium. [applause] >> thank you. it's really great to be here, typically to speaker at the hoover institution because the hoover was so important to the research i did on the book. i was out at stanford were all the papers are and, of course, they have preserved all the episodes and so on for the papers and transcripts, i really couldn't have done without the hoover institution so it's greav to be here. the first thing people asked me about this book is why did you write it? the short quick answer, well, in part it's this guy. i've been working on the book since 2011 and about a year and half ago it became more urgent as our level of discourse seem to be deteriorating and the
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shouting matches seem to be increasing and so on. it seemed like a particularlyee important time to be talking about a show that really valueds so discourse, civil debate between people who disagreed with each other.d l part of the reason was from that impulse, but the other force of the book is more personal about my intellectual development. the books that are published in 2011 was about the extremists who emerged in radio ando emer television, mostly local radio but also somewhat on tv. in the years following barry goldwater defeat in 1964. so barry goldwater totally flamed out in the election. i think he got 10,000,000 votes votes but he was really trounced. people have a sense liberals -- by the conservative movement blossomed in the wake of that
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defeat. some of it was sort of more legitimate size what went at f buckley was advocated for but there was quite a bit of extremism, paranoia, territoria, thinking. the john birch society emerging, the floor in aid of water was a communist conspiracy.consci and so these folks took to the airwaves and their paranoid thinking, and the anti-civil rights and so on. buckley at first was agreed on some other tv shows. this is him in the early 50s on a a show. buckley was a regular guest on that show but he figured out pretty quickly that this guy was bad for the movement and bad for the image of conservatism. he was an extremist and paranoid
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and so on. just to tell you a little bit about buckley, he emerged as a national figure in 1951 with tho publication of "god and man at yale" and it happened at his alma mater for its humanism andd despite in a kind of wider celebrity. the book and into the bestseller list at number 14 or so. he came known from this book, but he really became known for a few years later, 1965, when he ran for mayor of new york. because when you run for mayor of new york you become a a national figure, not just a local figure. he ran as a protest candidate, on the conservative ticket. he was protesting that johnvatie lindsay, was running on the republican ticket but was not conservative in any way. buckley very famously was asked what would you do, the first thing you would do if you're elected.
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he said demand a recount. it just seemed so unlikely. sure enough he did not win by the state a claim for a conservatives republicanism. this putting in a really good position to start his own tv show just one year later. because he was in the immediate and there was a great coup for his campaign in the middle of it all weather was a newspaper strike. so that meant the radio and tv coverage of the campaign increased dramatically. buckley was great on tv. he was great in part not because he is so articulate and smart and charming and usually long words that a lot of people to understand, sounded great, but he was not afraid to show what he really thought and felt. here he is with the john lindsay. lindsay looks peeved, and buckley is so bored. because lindsay is not very articulate and smart and
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interesting, and buckley complained that lindsay wrote his own speeches with theed tha reclining syntax. just terrible syntax. so people sent letters to buckley is that i disagree with you, i would never vote for you but thanks a lot for being honest and pointing to how much of politics was rigmarole. for example, he would decline to go to parades, because, we are not going to talk policy at parades. best just image. he was campaigning part-time for mayor. he was running his magazine, writing editorial columns and so on. he was seen as an honest candidate even by people who thought that he was much too right-wing and much too conservative. they year after the campaign he started his television show firing line which ran from 1966-1999, about 1500 episodes. i want to show you a clip from the very first year with david
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as the cast, a tv talk show host. he was well known as a liberal. he had a show called open end and it was called open in because it was open ended. the conversation was going well, they would just keep talking fol a few hours. the conversation wasn't going wellwell, just cut off at 30, 4f minutes. kind of amazing that this was happening at the kind. so here's what others guess buckley and on his show and i will show you two clips to get a sense of the flavor of the program. >> it was he who found that the program open in dedicated precisely to not proposition which permitted use a listen for as many as three hours at athreo stretch, this ideologue, the full communication in favor of their views and their ideas.
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we are very grateful to david susskind, who is a staunch liberal. if there was a title mr. eleanor rooseveltroosevelt, he would unquestionably win it. the question where to discuss today weather is theirs something as a prevailing bias. if so where does it point? mr. susskind, you are most welcome. would you give us your preliminary views? >> i wonder if i was unwelcome how you would introduce me. i must say -- [inaudible] >> the generosity of your broad spirit. >> susskind is feeling. you're such a short fuse and
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buckley has not always a long fuse but in this case it does. it's a really charming meeting of people you clearly can'tt stand each other. peopl i'll show you one more clip from that same episode. >> i hope we are not here to deny that by and large the news surfaces and the television industry and the schools and universities are liberal dominated, are you? >> well, if you use it any pejorative terms terms, of couri do. i think our country in the last 40 years has been a liberal trust in our legislation, and our churches and her schools and our indications of media. there's nothing sinister or evil. >> so susskind is expressing the dominant line at the time. it points to a latic or would it seem to have a conservative public affairs talk show in 1966. it's a liberal country, what are you talking about? it's kind of amazing.nt
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in addition to political guests, buckley also had cultural figures, artistic figures, he was devoted to balk and he would have it playing and discussing bach and so on. what is your clip with norman mailer to give you a sense of what he did outside of the strictly clinical kind of disgusting. this conversation is not a political. it's from 1968 and mailer has just published armies of the night, and chilled after he appeared on the show he won the pulitzer prize and it was not a, march on pentagon. the opening is buckley reading aloud from "time" magazine,ve tm their coverage of mailer at this event. >> they were introduced, got
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annoyed about asked to speak letter.od. [inaudible] mailer was perky enough to get himself arrested by twoo marshals. [inaudible] you were talking about mea maturation. >> it's of the influence. our continuing correspondence, that's one example of "time" magazine at work. [inaudible] the concession i made that night was about that smack.
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[inaudible] >> i can see you are a student of the subject. let's try to refocus the discussion. the "time" magazine observed -- >> may be the first to last time maturation was used on american television, really aren't any television show. i'm sure all of you are verymea sophisticated, so it's a sophisticated discussion about scatological. really charming debate between people with very different worldviews that people really enjoyed this kind of sparring match of talk about their ideas on the show. buckley also had the spokespeople of the various radical social movements going on throughout the '60s and '70s. quite notably he had blocked our
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folks on the show. this is milton henry and the nature and one can see but withh him wearing this. he had two security guards behind them in fatigues who never moved throughout the whole thing. they are unarmed but probably there some negotiation with the producer to not have guns on the sugar buckley never acknowledges that they are there. he never even makes eye contact. he just talks to milton henry. once radical, the appearance of black bar on the ship is that o the coverage of black power elsewhere was mostly sensationalist, soundbite, this kind of thing.up nixon conveyed to the networks in the early '70s that they really shouldn't cover black power anymore.ea they should really just ignored. he encouraged them not to cover the as well and they did not take that advice. they continue to cover vietnam but they did minimize the coverage of black powder if you want to learn about lik black pr
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you didn't describe to one ofrn their newsletters or this kind of thing. firing line was a good place to learn about it. you can do the ideas expressed an edited on the show. so that was really remarkable. he also had here's eldridge cleaver on the show.he als he also covered the women's liberation movement on the program. he had betty for dan on early on.on she was not a very good speakers she was kind of articulate and she wasn't invited back for 18 years. she was a voice of mainstream liberal feminism, much better episode was testing just published the female eunuch and was much more radical buckley really enjoyed talking to her. i'm going to show you as little clip from that encounter from the early '70s. [inaudible]
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>> are you today key and she equals and estimations or are you too screen out she forever incapable of equaling he grammatically?mmatic >> grammatically? >> you could be at the feminist. [inaudible] >> you should refer to early- humans. spirit not only that, what it means is the real attitude istoe going to be concealed by a form of primitive censorship, so the actual situation might change it's like calling people -- when they are married. i think it's a sort of hypocrisy. >> so in other words, you think the answer is on nomenclature is preposterous? >> it such a trivial aspect to the real struggle. it is given so much attention.
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as far as the general movement to co-op a struggle for resistance really enter into something. >> so it's a really interesting moment because actually these people sort of agree about the nonsense of the white liberal feminism wants to change language and they both agree ms. buckley thinks it's just not euphonious. it's jarring. not euphonious, my god. she says it doesn't change theru structural relationship off marriage. he thought she was a lunatic as far as trying to take it down the family and so on and so forth. but they agreed about this one issue in language and at issuess on the show he wrote her a thank you note as he always did to his guests and he said god dammit, you are good. he really enjoyed it. unfortunately she did not want to come back on the show but it was a terrific show.
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they debated at the cambridge student union will be before and she was soundly won that debate from the cambridge students. in a way this episode were kind of a rematch after that debate.o buckley also it of course anti-feminists on the show. the subject of equal rights and came up over the years. this is the less likely -- phyllis schlafly. he also had margaret thatcher on the show twice. and this i want to show a clip from the q&a. she was that there to talk about women's liberation. she really did not want to talk about gender issues at all. but jeff greenfield who is one of the common q&a guys at the time on the panel as a young man brought it up. so this is their exchange. >> i'm wondering in your own case, your reputation whenpu you're a cabinet member with --
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margaret thatcher because of your objection to the free milk program, that angier etiological stent helped you from a conservative point help you overcome someday stereotypical objections for women who held office? >> no. as i said, at home on the whole we don't look at the person and not necessarily -- your limitedh [inaudible] the local government has not restored a free vote in spite of all the propaganda. but look, i guard these questions as very trivial. >> it's what i do.
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>> he takes it but you can sense the sweat breaking out on his upper lip. he has just been told off by margaret thatcher. buckley is great because thatcher is saying this really, gender based on an an issue in uk, not relevant. buckley is poppycock, nonsense. if women are qualified, how come there are not more women and office? he pushes back in an interesting way. another great episode was, he did a few episodes with clare booth luce but insulin episode 222 clips, specifically asked to be on the show to talk about feminism. he couldn't disagree with the idea of having her on the show. so w he did and he gave her this long very positive introduction, and he concluded the introduction by saying i should like to become a asking if you find a way people entered issue on television to be condescending.
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here is what she says. >> thank you for that warmion. introduction. you will be pleased to know that my entire introduction which is strapping to say the least, there was only one put down. this was a highly level achievement for a man introducing a woman. you spoke of the inability t --o hold tone. had you been speaking of the man who spoke out, whether he was speaking out, rightly or
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wrongly, you wouldn't have said -- [inaudible] he makes enemies by what he says. he is overly candidate.. you might have used many phrases, but the phrase hold her tongue has been frequently used about children and -- >> it comes out in taming the true spirit no. it comes out -- highly over successful. >> so that's the beginning of the show. 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 it has ever never occurred to me that they're different is patently obvious,
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and i would not want to see them behind the wheel of every mac truck. i think you would find that insulted, would you? he isn't what do you really think? and this is a response. >> i'm much too fond of you to tell you what i really think.. [laughter] i can be one of the most charming and subtle and sophisticated as male chauvinist. [laughter] >> i love that. it's so kind of flirty and bashful. but she says i would never say it to you publicly and opposite over a three martini lunch, you could imagine her telling him off quite a bit privately. so it's a wonderful sort ofrienl public moment of friendly disagreement between these two. now that i've shown you a bit of
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the show, what i want to do is read from the book. i'm going to read to you some excerpts from the introduction and then from the chapter on civil rights and black power movement to give a sense of thed flavor of the book, and that's about 20 minutes. then we will open up to q&a. so although the program was undeniable heads for 33 years, firing line was not buckley zaidi to begin with. this is not altogether surprising. it is hard to imagine a tv star less interested in tv then buckley. he won an emmy for five new line in 1969 and it was a modifying public affairs show for a single post in u.s. history buckley remained active industry outsider. it would be somewhat unfair, even uncouth to discover buckley as a snob. he did write a fun novel about elvis presley after all. if you don't understand anyone could consider mick jagger a
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good singer, his voice could be better than that of every fourth person listed in the telephoners directory. the t he did at least listen to the beatles during his weekly session with his personal trainer. this was perhaps a masochistic choice as he really could not stand the beatles. in 1970 he considered considered to be interviewed by playboy magazine. this make him practically hip. that same year he appeared on the abc comedy show rhône and martin's laugh in. explaining that i did an interview with playboy because i decided it was the only way to communicate my views to my son. and noting that only agreed to appear on laugh and because ofau it is after flight out to california on an airplane with two right wings. laugh and stage a press for buckley were cast member henrik ibsen queried mr. buckley, i've noticed one of you appear on television you always seated.on does this mean you can't think on your feet? buckley candidly responded, it's
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very hard to stand up carrying the weight of what i know. asked his opinion but new to the interview he replied, it's excessive. asked whose image would be more harm eyes appears on laugh and his or the shows, he laughed and said i suppose it will make you more respectable, wink inserted, and both of those are probably to be desired. he managed to put a long and a good sport while remaining the dignified face -- phase ofed spe conservatives. it's doubtful he'd ever watched an episode of laughing but he did admit to a real fondness for all in the primary. archie bunker hindered -- he noted is the greatest anti-conservative ripoff and history of modern offenses. you don't need call marks in all you need is archie bunker. he's despicable but endearing and away. buckley was once late for dinner party hosted by nelson rockefeller because he was at home watching all in the family.
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in thing is openness to television viewing he was acknowledged that anybody who wants to effectively understand what's going on has got to watch tv. the most bookish man i ever knew, whittaker chambers,it watched television on and about billy for about seven until 11 1 every single night of his life. buckley also noted he was too busy to watch tv himself. he had no idea who jabba the hutt was big he admitted to watching professional football and during his run for mayor of new york city he was dumped by reference to mickey mantle. all of which is to say, buckley was neither unaware of the importance of mass culture nor deeply plugged into it himself. he was a devoted yachtsman and harpsichord is the goddess kicks listening to bach. c in the tv world of expository things on issuing from the sherwood schwartz school of music, here's a story, of a lado lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls. how audacious it was of a
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buckley to choose an excerpt as his own programs theme song. although he occasionally settled down to watch an old movie on tv what buckley loved was the power to click from show to show. his family saw fit to slipknot on a jar of peanut butter into his casket but also a remote control. the individual programs were fleeting interest to the founder and editor of america's most important conservative journal of opinion, a man who took vacation with the reagans in barbados. thought the peanut butter andn bacon sandwich could only be improved by a lovely bottle of 1949 rothschild and traveled annually to switzerland to write a book, taking daily ski breaks with david niven. given his high culture would've been if buckley had written the idea of hosting a tv show evena political one. anin his 1989 book on "firing line" buckley says the idea for the show was pitched to him in 1965 by a young entrepreneur.
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buckley was agreeable to the notion but deferred production until 196666 so that he could complete a symbolic run for the mayor of new york. it was all in his posthumous book on ronald reagan that buckley publicly revealed "firing line" was the brainchile of conservative businessman tomm o'neil. o'neill company rtl produce and syndicated the show from 1966 at the 1971 when "firing line" that the commercial syndication market behind for the compared stability of pbs. "firing line" was initially imagines a 13 episode series but ran for almost 1500 episodes prick understand how impressive these numbers are for weekly show considered today at her successful program typically runs seven seasons for total of 154 episodes.e were 6 there were 635 episodes of the long-running gunsmoke and 456 episodes of law and order. buckley claimed from the beginning perhaps with some pride that his ratings were exii
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u.s. which means scanty or meager if anyone doesn't know the. buckley would never turn a profit on "firing line" on national review for that matter. these were labors of love and also of course ideological dedications.s. buckley the supreme capital markets absurd enterprises like this and are not divide to generate profits. we accepted as institutions that need to be patronized because they do vital work. as an art and advocate -- excuse me. "firing line" was not the only unprofitable public affairs talk show on tv because also open and as for mike was interviewed on the long-running meet the press. "firing line" was onlyri specifically conservative example of such programming. if "firing line" was unique as a conservative public affairs prom program it did not mirror the other public officials because buckley described it, mytelevisi
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television program was model c decide. no production values. it was to say the least not a good-looking show. it was a draft, the lighting never break any of the gas were men in suits, legs crossed, trousers riding up above black socks.socks, the exceptions, black power spokesman wayne dramatic but shp keeps. feminists supporting smart pipette suit. at the calamitous flouting andoa lander style hedges. one could also get on the distraction of barclays distendedistinctive mannerisms,s almost british accent, hisac inclination to dart his tongue out like a lizard. jeff greenfield emceed a 20 year celebration program kno noteded totally ascended a visual medium. the only element of visual interest on "firing line" i've ever been able to detect is whether mr. buckley would someday part his hair with his
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tongue. it didn't matter. he came for the words and ideas and perhaps when show premiered in 1966 for the steer novelty of seeing and right wing conservative explain his position. whether you watch the show as a liberal or conservative, you would find politics both offended and challenged. as if to drive the point home, one of our lives only was barryu goldwater. to many americans goldwater was a landslide defeat susskind his claims about liberalism and the waning of the extremism that hofstetter had described it buckley was determined to show the world conservatism was alive and well, if struggling for the foothold in order to dominate american politics at that paranoid conspiracy fears of the
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john birch society for writing should not be taken for the concert movement. to truly understand "firing" line" we must consider a buckley use of the show to state a clever goldwater and if the claim for what then seemed a pipe dream. a possible of a thriving conservative movement, purge of the conspiracy fears, the extremes and the kooks. these were the folks who seem to have a stranglehold on americann conservatism when "firing line" began in 1966. buckley would have to forge a new image, virtually from scratch. that is how the introduction concludes and i'm going to skip ahead, you can see a bit more of a deep dive to the chapter on civil rights and black power. and its first 10 years, "firing line" focus on a civil rights and black power movement. as a right wing conservative buckley was concerned about the systemic of people called for by both approaches to the problem of american racism.
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it was much too simple to reduca his approach to resistant vicki did not oppose the elimination of racial discrimination, the encouragement of black personal and economic empowerment, integrated schools or treatment of blacks in hiring decisions. he did oppose most federal government intervention in these issues. it was one thing to express his conventions in his college andok books and quite another to do with them in dialogue with advocates of civil rights and b black power or on the other side with advocates for the names of the races and segregated status quo. this is what makes "firing line" so unique. on paper buckley midas and comfortably aligned with the segregationist south to minnesota strom thurmond on almost every issue whereas in person, it was in conversation about racial issues with conservatives and liberals that many of the subtleties of barclays position were revealed. black power and civil rights
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leaders took advantage of barclays program as of being a witch to enter their position. one does get a subtle sense of black raqqa most supposed to buckley felt there using program to air ideas in full. away the soundbite culture that pervaded the rest of the media. elsewhere the comets would be edited. on "firing line" that to put up with a right-wing white guy asking hostile questions. but they could express full-blown anti-established and marxist arguments that usually saw the light of day in undergrad newspapers and newsletters crake up by hand on mimeograph machines. given this context, they avoided. there was more than self-restraint. the producer, and large man with a perpetually untucked shirt gave red flag to guess stern lecture before appear on the show. blue language was strictly off-limits. he earned allen ginsberg by for bidding dirty work that ginsberg complained he would have to censor his thought patterns. there was extra concerned about
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eldridge cleaver and buckley made upon the following election by suggesting to cleaver before the start shooting at the sec, they would cancel his payment for appearing on the show. if there's any guess who did not need coaching and how not to incur the wrath of the sec it was civil rights maverick james farmer who was a very picture oe decorum. in an episode from 1966 buckley made some of his boilerplate libertarian arguments about pairs him the right to send the children to any school they wanted. he comes when people cap\cap discovering new rights and argued james baldwin was all wet. baldwin was buckley judging too pessimistic about what could be accomplished in america. farmer cut a striking figure as he defended baldwin. he conveyed and mounting frustration and anger that he seemed to try to tempt the downh each new cigarette he led. in his baritone, shades of james
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earl jones, farmer counters baldwins concert in northern negro ghettos are very important. farmer, the fact of the matter is most of our victories legislatively are spoken to thei south and not to the north. the 17 euro drop off in a hardened stick couldn't care less if his second cousin mississippi can buy hot dogs. he says what about the rats that might make with what about the cockroaches asked buckley, why don't they kill those rats course is there a law that says you can't kill the rats? i've got rats and i put traps all over the place. they are still there. i never been able to get rid of them. farmer, in harlem if you get one rat, tumor come back to carry its carcass away. buckley, why doesn't that happen in other cities? why don't they do away with the refuse? it's a municipal function farmer. when you have an entire family, that's the states duty with the garbage can is in it? buckley, look, not suggesting the municipal lysing the garbage collection.
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farmer, you are in favor of garbage collection? buckley, i'm in favor of social life, the garbage. everyone left including farmer and attention is briefly eased the buckley would not let go of its insistence that there's nothing special about that ghetto garbage problem. when farmer asked if rats and that his children buckleyy suggests he being melodramatic. there are more dramatic moments as when it is, the goals of the some rights movement by their discussion of the rat problem in the ghetto is most memorable part of the show. buckley is so earnest and yet so very incapable of copper hitting the daily crises faced by those living in urban squalor. that the rat problem was worse in harlem and stamford, connecticut, was simplyco impossible to him. by the time the news was on the show in 1973, the black panthers were struggling. newton and cleaver had a falling out. cleaver was still in exile. fred hampton had been killed and the fbi had infiltrated the
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organization and planted seeds of the a year later newton would flee to cuba to escape a murder charge. on "firing line" he was all smiles as explain the marxist dialectic. buckley was rhetorically flummoxed by his guest. at one point the host explains i've attempted to bend at a point and i'm losing track of it.. it may be one of difficultiesf you have as chief spokesman for black panther party is your total incoherence.ut people don't understand what you're talking about. i don't understand what you're talking about, and i'm a very, very close listener. newton talk in a cheerful steady stream, barely coming up for him. finally buckley performed a "firing line" version of throwing in the towel. he put down his clipboard. signaling he realized the futility of attempting -- he was already in sympathy with newtons cause, this would not it seems incoherent as buckley founded newton would've come across as an affable revolutionary but those inclined to be skeptical
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of the student radicals would've found it confirmed by newtons performance. a little "firing line" viewer and came at massachusetts wrote buckley, i thought you would newton made a dialectic mac out of himself without any help from you. whether that newton made an of himself as to deny he made an revolution shtick with everything. the black power movement was spiraling and this was one of the final "firing line" episodes to address the topic. later episodes of the \70{l1}s{l0}\'70{l1}s{l0} and it has raised most of him on issues such as electoral politics and the legacy of the civil rights movement. remarkably many years later buckley would acknowledge his change of thinking regarding federalism and voting rights.00t in 2004 he said he once believed we could if all i wake up from jim crow. i was wrong. federal intervention was necessary. the antiracism at the content, round.t almost everyone had at least in theory. in twilight years jesse m was submitting the south should be
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left alone with its race problem. buckley made of shifted his thoughts but he had not gone liberal in general where race was concerned. it's interesting discussion the civil rights movement, black power and the implications of various strategies for improving a lot of american blacks had reached the top. in 1998 buckley had interesting encounter with aclu executive director ira glass of your buckley twisted his arm for years to appear on a qr "firing line" debate titled race all, that the aclu is full of baloney. he solves a bit of a setup but he finally consented to appear. he dug international review are kind of unquestionable stuff buckley said about civil rights and read it aloud on the show. he describes his old national review material as completely un-respectable and he says buckley knew it. shory after he was a dinner at
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the buckley residents and he was asked what are you so hard i might has been on television?, glaser said he has said so many terrible things. you had to do something about that in private. needless to say she did not. this is just fairly tender party banter that all they are the director of the aclu and architect of the post concert movement got along smashingly. glasser a taken buckley to his first baseball game. he insisted they take the subway instead of buckley's limit. and emissions by 10 nations for hot dogs. buckley liked tranfive, not just by the fact of its obligations he backed into a corner on "firing line." but precisely because of it. the price of advocating no holds barred tv debate was a sometimes you would lose and your opponent would prove decisively that you had at one point really full of baloney. [applause] i take
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can i take some questions? does? >> where to begin? first of all this was the best idea i've had. spent thanks for coming. spin every single word, i have loved every moment of this. this has been great. i cannot wait to finish the book, which will be this weekend.. okay. gorcorbett all, and using the recent documentary -- >> best of enemies. >> exactly what did you think of it, and particularly in the document and says like tranone knew that buckley wouldn't prepare for the debate, such as it was. is that true.
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what was his preparation for the shows? i was raised on this, and so what was his preparation on the show? that would be one question. the other question is, i've been told but don't know that english is not buckley is first language. it's actually spanish. is that true? what's the source of that kind of cut glass friction -- >> a lovely way to put it. as to both of your questions, first of all best of enemies, i want to plug that movie. i terrific documentary. the last five minutes, a littlee too overreaching about this being the beginning of fox news and the end of the civil debate. it's a good film. they do note in the film buckled did not prepare for his first encounter with gore they're having a discussion at the democratic national convention in 1968. they paid the boat handsomely to be on the show. abc did.
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before they were on the asp buckley would you do this, terry? he said okay. face it is or anyone you would not want to appear with. he's it i would appear with anyone except gore of course, gore vidal, kind of a gotcha thing. it's true buckley did under prepare and gore vidal was over prepared and he practiced all of his off-the-cuff quips. he scripted the hell out of this thing. he was very prepared. by the time that the second wase discussion buckley was more prepared. at the end he lost his temper and he was mortified by that. that he been uncivil and use cuss words on television and soh on. so he did prepare for the second part. the question about the show preparation, he had a researcher at national review office. agatha schmitz for some years,hp
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and a few other people came in and out. i've seen the folders of research material. they would photocopy newspaper medical articles, give back onto someone so it all of the materials in front of him and gives a very busy man. he would be studying this material on his way to the show. he had read the books of the guests who were appearing on the show. he couldn't take a break. he would read a book while they would qaeda subic you would prepare on the fly and then do the show and get back in his limo. .. 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 materview looking down and seets what's next? you know, kind of figuring it
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out.g in an answer to your second question, it's true that buckley's first language had been spanish. his nanny was spanish-speaking and so he learned spanish first and then english and then french. apparently he thought he was very good in french but it was awkward and weird.en maybe it had a spanish accent. i don't know, but he was home schooled in the earlier years of his life. eight or ten kids and they would rotate from floor to floor likee spanish on the first floor and then, you knowinger political science on the second floor and then go to math. at some point he was sent to british boarding they sent him away. they thought that was better. he picked up the british accent that never totally went away and there was connecticut throw in there. i don't think there's spanish influence at all.
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but amazing of hodgepodge of languages that he had.d. his brother had a similar voice. it wasn't quite as distinctive and weird but there's the subtle british in there. people thought it was put on. this is how i talk. he was interviewed on 60 minutes before reagan was sworn in. that's just how i talk. i talk to my dog that way. you need to find the right word. sure. yes. >> your book is excellent. i really enjoyed it. >> thank you. >> one of the things you say in the conclusion is that you think and you said this as you talked about it, but there really is a void and contemporary media
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landscape and there's a place where firing line that we really don't have in a cable news and thirst for intellectual combat and i think my question for you is, given that buckley really helped sort of mainstream and make the conservative movement palatable to the left, but not just taking liberals but taking liberal radicals as you pointed out. he helped people see that conservatives weren't radicals themselves, i think, in contrast and that answer to real need in the conservative movement of 1960's or 70's in the american conservative movementee in 2016, it faces different challenges than the conservative movement and so i wondered if there were to be firing line, what service would it play? you know, what could it do for a modern conservative movement in
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terms of credibility and -- because, in fact, given in trump era, new era, there's a lot it could do. >> i agree. it's important to note things were different now than the 60's obviously. we have resurgence of extremism, birthers and so on. there's been a lot of -- i talk about extremist like weeds in the garden. buckley culled them out and there they are again. a battle to deal with the fringe right. and there are fringe left wings. people. >> i would hope there would be space for television today and we are in a neat era where there seems to be television for everyone.. if you want a show about how to
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buy a house and flip. if you want a show of gardening and if you want a subject aboutp pets. the thought that there's not one niche in there for sophisticateh political discussion that's not cut up with clips, that's unthinkable. there has to be room for that and what i say in the book in the conclusion that you reference possibly this could be hbo which has a reputation for quality, it's where the show was shot for many years and it's a place where a show wouldn't have to be interrupted by advertisement and people will sit down and talk. it maybe a pie in the sky but useful to imagine what the discussion would mean, whatsi ultimately mean for the conservative movement is harder to speculate about. i think it's too soon to tell what's going to happen next for the republican party. they are at cross roads now and
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will a third party emerge at the moment? there's a sense that thehe republican party is corrupted. i don't have a crystal ball to predict that but if there were a venue you people disagree strongly politically could talk to ideas without shouting each other, cut off the mic and this kind of nonsense that we, you know, on fox news and msnbc, all the overproduced spectacle of shouting that would be helpful but i can't say in a directsa cause and effect. it wouldn't. tv is now that powerful but hopeful, though. i hope that answers your question a little bit. yes. >> the beginning of the show came at the end of vatican two. i wonder if he had any leaders of american
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>> he was very concerned about the political involvement of the church and, of course, he was not thrill about vatican 2, someone who found a priest for 30 or 40 years, private service in latin. he had on reverend from yale and to talk about what is the role of political activism, shouldn't you be attending the people's souls instead of political activities, that was a reallyes interesting discussion. but there were over the years not a huge number of catholics who were in agreement with him except for malcolm who would convert to catholicism fairly late in his life but they would have discussions about the nature of faith and so on and so
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forth and one thing that's interesting is his relationship to the christian right that he voiced respectful to what theyre were doing politically but i think and it's hypothesis. i think it's correct that he didn't get that kind of face practiced, he didn't get this kind of loud, you know, seemed crude to him compare today catholicism the way evangelicals and he thought some of the things they were pushing forward were right on but he had very few people in the show. in the moment where they were impacting the conservative movement, you know, in the 80's, 90's, he didn't reallynd care for pat robertson. he wasn't having people in the show.
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one of the interesting shows with jerry fallwell and he comes on and speaks very moderately about how just hants a liberal pluralistic society. so i read all your literature. you seem very moderate. you're spinning yourself for a mass audience but we know that you've a radical guy. their ideas are good but doesn't welcome in the show. i would say if you want to look at engagement of ideas in faith and catholicism to look at one of favorite episodes with malcolm that they shortened a half hour and ran christmas for
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years and the was panamá canal debate with ronald reagan which he was on the other side of the fence for ronald reagan and most conservatives and the other favorite episode was nixon, bbc interview and they replayed it on the show and they had a conversation after washington, afterwards. >> i've been very much looking forward to reading the book. i'm a big fan. in russia there's not enough fence to make a firing linee fence society so i had to come all the way here. [laughter] >> my question is related to the -- the making of the leader of conservative movement intellectually. how do you think -- what was so special about buckley that really helped him gardner the
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cloud of reaching overreaching vigor that would come that would -- if needed, birch society and always be there in terms of overlooking the movement, you know, because 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 5 or 7 minutes. and i think that was different. >> i do want to overstate and he was very popular there were always people on the far right, this guy is an elitist, he went to yale. he achieves kind of consensus among the movement and it's hard
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to say with the magic formula, of course, it was so unique. it's not like we would have another buckley and i think a lot of of what was appeal to go him he was a fine-tune sense of humor that it's not like he would suddenly crack a joke. he had a sensibility that politics had humorous and you had to keep us part of sense of humor and that's part of what keeps us talking to the other side and something that keeps us lacking here today. he's very funny except when he talks about humor and he doesn't get any -- it's worth watching, terrible show but appealing in awfulness. the worst godzilla you've everr. seen. i do think the humor was a key
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part of that and i think also just being in a mass media era, like i was just saying before about the kind of neat culture, it's hard to imagine one figure emerging as the key voice on ass television. we don't have three channels ofs pbs, we have hundreds of chance. it's harder to make a splash ina the media in certain ways unless you're whatever, those kinds of things that are ratings grabbers . yeah. [inaudible]
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>> someone like the president elect, you mean? e >> yeah. >> yeah, thank you for referencing the specific moment where buckley responded to current events where he always like today look at the bigger picture and so he -- unlike the news media cycle where you have to respond to what happened that day, on the show you could bring in someone to talk about the future of the conservative party, which is exactly what he would be talking about right now, where do we go from here, where do republicans go, where do conservative goes and try to concept wallize -- conceptualize it. ii hypothesize, was he like the
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president and they would have a conceptual discussion about what was going on and try to sort it out. as for president-elect trump what do you think about this guy. we don't have to speculate. he wrote an article there about trump and jesse the body ventura who was the wrestler who became governor of minnesota. the demagogues are coming and he handily takes down trump and describes as demagogue and narcissist. buckley was still proper. he defended notion to propriety that this person would run for office without qualifications.
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so i think he would have been very proud. h there were one of the first big players to come out against trump with a cover of nationalet review with yosemity sam, no way. at the same time the magazine had placed for conservatives who supported trump. their official line was that they did not support him but the magazine was a space for different conservatives point oe views could hash it out. i think he would have been pleased with how the magazine negotiated in the days leading up to the elections and what i'm seeing now is more pagmatism. now where do we go from here. i what's he going to do?
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they're speculating about polling and so on but they are being issued focus and wonder what's going to happen with iran and sorting it out. >> final question. >> two quick follow-up questions, one with respect to ratings and you referenced in the book and the other was funding which we know stages of funding but as a very long-running tv show on pbs, how involved was buckley and continued funding on the show when it was on pbs and how date the ratings matter or not matter once he was on tv? >> yeah, that's a great question. the ratings were up and down -- he says they were always poor, they were up and down a bit, he was being sold on a market to market basis and produced by arcao initially before he goes to pbs in 1970, it was a clunky
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system, they were scheduling him poorly, you know, people whoth loved the show were watching it every day at 8:00 o'clock, once a week at 8:00 o'clock andev suddenly we moved to sunday morning. they moved it to sunday morning right after it won its first emmy and only emmy and buckley wrote them a letter, what are you doing. you moved it to sunday morning where everybody respectableyou person is in church or golfing.r what are you thinking? he had to flee to pbs and where the ratings were less relevant. you know, rise and fall of ratings and selling advertising time and one thing interesting is you have a person who is this huge voice in the free market and he has to leave the free market to succeed and is it treely acknowledged and you do because they are do. he said why would you do this
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when it doesn't make money. what do you expect the catholic church to make money. in fact, the catholic church is just fine. you could be in a nonfor profit endeavor and it was worthy. once he was on pbs he did public affairs. pbs never showed ratings but would hire to do numbers for them and then send the numbers out to their producers runningmb the programs and he was doing,er you know, okay, which means like on the low-end, the highest o numbers for pbs were sesame street.t they had upstairs and downstairs and british imports that were popular in the 70's and 80's and to buckley's it did very
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well in pbs. much better and pbs was thrilled because, you know, they had no young viewers except the toddlers from sesame street and so, you know, they are getting young male viewers watching and specifically watching monty python. beneath to even consider that this was a good tv show and i actually say in the book that he must have been so when they parodied in a public address. although he might not have even gotten it. the liberal party is dead, this is a dead liberal party. making fun of the dead -- he wag like what is she doing. o [laughter] >> he got along pbs then when the reagan administration defunded pbs and all the pbs programming had up and down from that, when reagan defunded pbs
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it was great to read the letters to people raising money, jie, reagan has defunded pbs, now i need you to pay for it. not surprising he was sporting the free market and capitalism, there were a lot of wealthy capitalists, here is money to keep the show going. foundations funded the show over years. he had ups and downs on pbs but basically there was never a doubt to get the money he needed once it was defunded in the 80's. it soldiered on. last question. yes. [inaudible] >> in your preparation for 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 that ewe thought sort of really got to him, his other stuff where
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you felt he was really powers? >> i believe -- i think it's cruising speed. is that '72 or so. that's a really fun one. i would recommend cruising speed. a lot people like unmaking of the mayor the most. and i think it's okay but cruising speed saw really fun and interesting read and he's sort of at the peak of his power and so on and he's dealing with political issues and giving sense of his lifestyle not so much that you have a limbo and sailboat. it's not so heavy handed as some of the later books.vy he talks about personalities like he went to a gay bar with, the i think probably cruising speeds
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is probably one that i would recommend. [applause] >> on that note, please join me in giving heather an applause. [applause] >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> here is a look at some of the staff from politics and pros bookstore in washington, d.c. olivia explores the solitary lives of prominent artists in the lonely city. in novelist, first nonfiction book the great derangement, he argues climate to be ignored and future of genetic manipulation, another staff pick from washington, d.c. politics and prose bookstore is grunt by mary roach who reports on the science that's being used to improve the
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safety and effectiveness of america's military. atatlantic mag zeeb -- magazine contributor argues in essential to understanding islamic. peter looks at the science behind antidepressant medications. >> you're the author of fair labor lawyers. >> besy was born in new orleans that shaped her values. i would like to say that before
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there was notorious rbg. there wassen -- was solicitor at the labor department and she was mentor to me. were what were some of the significant cases she was involved with in. >> all of the time for the labor department was spent on the fair labor act and so it was really the whole body of work that caused chief justice earl to say that she had placed the flesh on the bare bones of the fair labor act and without the bones it would have been wholly inadequate. her most perhaps significant case standing alone was the first case argued under the equal pay act which established
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the rule that jobs only need substantially equal and not identical to warrant equal pay and that is a standard that we add here to today. >> i was encouraged by gender historians that to tell the life of a pioneering trail-blazing lawyer woman, i needed to do so and when i did i found perhaps not surprisingly she had affairs. she had affairs with people that would not interfere with her trial-blazing career and led to her being the subject to both fbi and congressional investigation. you could say her pension for passion may have cost her a federal judgeship. but i think it's important for people to know today the choices that an ambitious career woman
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of the 1930's had to make because of her career. >> do you think because of the climate do you think it's difficult to interview or do research a woman versus a man in history? >> it's a really good. i will put it this way, bessie was deceased when i studied the research which in some ways freed me to dig deeper than perhaps i could have than she was alive. the thing that makes it harder to do research about a woman is that there were so fewer pieces of documentation, she had never been asked to do an oral history although all of her counterparts in the new deal had been well documented. she never kept a journal or a direy perhaps for fear that it could be used against her and i think that's a particular challenge for people writing about woman that isn't often the
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case for men. it took a lot of digging. >> not only was her generous allowing me free use to the papers that existed but i say that i find her needles in famous people case act. because she kept elite company, justice douglas, jackson, i could find in the files together . many had return addresses ripped off and i compared handwriting to figure out who she was writing to and who was writing to her. it was an investigation and a lot of making sure i kept it to a high level of certainty. >> you mentioned that she was your mentor, what was your
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background? >> bessie grew up in jewish town in new orleans. closed in 1946 and i too was an orphan and came award of the agency that cared from her when i graduated from the same high school she went to 50 years later, my high school guidance counselor introduced us and so i got to know her through my years in college, law school and into my own legal career for the state of maryland. so i think she saw in me a little bit of herself, the little girl from new orleans. >> c-span where history unfolds daily. c-span created public service by america's cable company and it's brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> senator george mitchell, it's a delight to see you.
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i've been reading you, seeing you on the air waves and now comes this new book which was interesting to read and it arrives just as the time of presidential transition and i think a lot of people want too hear about it. >> jane, it's nice to see you again and thank you very much for doing this and for having me here. i wrote the book with a colleague who worked with the state department while i was the u.s. envoy of the middle east and israeli law and other areas. we wrote it before the election, so, of course, we didn't know what was going to happen as nor did anyone else, but we wanted to make a contribution to the discussion


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