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Great Debates: Buckley and Vidal, August 28th, 1968

 

The August 28th Debate!  William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal were polar opposites. Having debated a number of times beginning in 1962, their relationship culminating in 1968 with an explosive series that changed television punditry forever. Buckley and Vidal were both popular American novelists and frequent political commentators. Buckley was a renowned conservative, even starting a magazine to further the cause. And Vidal was a liberal intellectualist whose views were grounded in personal experience. Their debates have been cited as the inspiration for modern sensationalism in television political news programming. 

The Most Famous Debate Tournament of the 20th Century: Kicking off the Vidal-Buckley Debates!

 

In August, we remember perhaps the most historical debate tournament of the 20th Century. This debate tournament featured 11 rounds of debate, over the course of one month in 1968 during the Republican and Democratic Presidential Conventions, televised on national television, featured two of the most prominent "celebrity intellectuals" of the 20th century representing the Democrats and Republicans, and what many state 'You can trace all modern political TV battles back to this one moment in 1968" or as Vidal stated "We created a monster." And recently made into a Hollywood Movie, "The Best of Enemies." While recent Presidential debates as well as televised debates in general have been criticized for growing lack of civility and personal attacks - this is not a new trend. The Vidal-Buckley debates of over 40 years ago show the more things change, the more they stay the same.