Sponsored Project

Best of Enemies

Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon
Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon

Best of Enemies is a documentary feature about the legendary 1968 TV debates between two great public intellectuals, Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley and how TV changed the way we talk about politics in America. Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, two of America's greatest public intellectuals of the twentieth century, each thought the other's political ideologies were dangerous, corrosive, potentially catastrophic for America. Buckley was conservative, an outspoken Republican; Vidal, the liberal, aligned with the Democrats. Over ten televised meetings at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions of 1968, the two jousted'"actually verbal bloodsport'"a debate that would stake out opposing political positions which still resonate today, and more profoundly, define the new era of public discourse in the media. Before the debates were through, the discussion about the American Experiment had devolved to heated and shocking name-calling, demarcating the moment that TV's political ambition shifted from the explication to the spectacle.