These great debates from the 1960’s scored big ratings, but what resonates in this doc is the pure hatred the participants shared.
Is it worth $10? Yes
It had all the makings of a heavyweight showdown: Two titans, proven in their fields and with huge followings, squaring off for ten rounds, fighting tooth and nail for superiority. But instead of being boxers, they were political pundits. Instead of gloves, they used words. And instead of shaking hands after a well-fought battle, their mutual hatred continued until their deaths more than 40 years later.
The combatants – William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal – represented opposing ways of life, which is why fledgling ABC News hired them to debate one another during the Republican and Democratic national conventions in the summer of 1968. While the ratings-leading CBS and NBC presented the conventions in full, ABC offered snippets of the conventions and the Buckley/Vidal debates. In doing so and finding great success, ABC created the “talking head” punditry that’s pervasive in television news programming today.