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Best of Enemies

In the summer of 1968 television news changed forever, when ABC hired two towering public intellectuals – William F. Buckley, Jr. and Gore Vidal – to debate each other during the Democratic and Republican national conventions, ushering in a new era in public discourse and televised drama.

Director: Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville
Year: 2015
Time: 87 min

 Best of Enemies
(2015) on IMDb

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Pore over the contents of all 10 Buckley-Vidal debates. Published in 2015, the book Buckley vs. Vidal: The Historic 1968 ABC News Debates contains the entire uncensored transcripts of the debates, including an introduction by BEST OF ENEMIES director Robert Gordon.

Learn more about the infamous William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal by reading one of the many works of writing they each published throughout their prolific careers.

Learn more at IDEA, the International Debate Education Association. Although Vidal and Buckley vehemently disagreed, debate can be a healthy way of understanding individual ideas and society in general. 

Use your words wisely, as they are powerful and have the potential to elevate or destroy others. 

Related Articles and Resources

How Social Media is Revolutionizing Debates

Most of the political world has thought about the debates the same way since John Kennedy used a smoother TV performance to best Richard Nixon in that debate, but we have now reached a tipping point, where social media has changed how debates are conducted, prepared for, judged and spun.

Here are four ways the Internet and social media have changed presidential debates.

Buckley, Vidal and the “Queer” Question

“A quibble? Perhaps. But here’s the larger question: Which was the bigger insult, ‘queer’ or ‘crypto-Nazi’?”

Read the article on the New Yorker.

Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville on Sparking Debate With BEST OF ENEMIES

“On the televised partisan debates that changed the TV political coverage forever.”

Read the full interview here.

Debating on Television: Then and Now

Kennedy and Nixon squared off in the first televised presidential debate 50 years ago and politics have never been the same.

Read the article on the Smithsonian.


Our interview with Robert Gordon.


5 Surprising Things That 1960s TV Changed

It’s hard for today’s generation to imagine watching TV in the 1960s — there was no TiVo or DVR (or even VCR). You watched what the networks put on and that was it.

And oh yeah, there were only three channels.

Yet television made some groundbreaking advancements in this decade as we learned from this week’s episode of “The Sixties,” and here are a few of them.

The Man Who Warned Us About Donald Trump, Fox News and the Rise of the Idiocracy

Read the article on SALON.


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