‘The Firing Line’ and William F. Buckley: The Conservative TV Intellectual

‘The Firing Line’ and William F. Buckley: The Conservative TV Intellectual

Heather Hendershot, professor of film and media at MIT, is the author of the new book, “Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on The Firing Line.” She joined the Federalist Radio to discuss Buckley’s role as a conservative contrarian and how “The Firing Line” impacted the conservative media landscape.

Every week, American intellectuals, artists, and athletes would engage in debates with William F. Buckley on the issues of the day. “You could watch the show as a conservative, and become a better conservative, more informed conservative,” Hendershot said. “But you could also watch it as a liberal, and become a better liberal and a more informed liberal.”

Hendershot described Buckley’s sharp wit and the huge vocabulary he was known for. “He has a wonderful put-down style that’s never personal and cruel, but always very concise and clever,” she said. “He loved the word hobgoblinized.”

They discuss the ways in which conservatism and comedy have intertwined on late night television.

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