Magazine October 24, 2016, Issue

Firing Line at 50

William F. Buckley Jr. and E. Howard Hunt before the taping of Firing Line, May 1974 (Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images)
Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line, by Heather Hendershot (Broadside, 432 pp., $28.99)

It is the contention of liberal scholar Heather Hendershot that Firing Line, the long-running television series hosted by William F. Buckley Jr., was bracing, original, occasionally electric, frequently heuristic, and, all weighty things considered, a major contribution to civilized discourse. Allowing for typical professorial understatement, I think she may be on to something.

Professor Hendershot, who teaches media studies at MIT, has just published a magisterial account not only of a television program, but also, more ambitiously, of the political culture from which it sprang and within which it thrived. She tells this story with style and insight and good humor,

To Read the Full Story
Neal B. FreemanNeal Freeman is a former editor of and columnist for National Review and the founding producer of Firing Line.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy

The Week

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Politics & Policy


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