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The show that proved civil discourse could be entertaining and educational on television.


I write for the Hoover Institution's weekly blog, Centennial Secrets. Check out an excerpt from this week's article below.

The Emmy Award–winning television program Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. ran for 34 seasons (1966–1999) and was the longest-running public-affairs show with a single host in television history. Host and conservative journalist William F. Buckley Jr. was interested first and foremost in respectful and lively debate, engaging in erudite discussions with statesmen, politicians, activists, economists, journalists, scholars, authors, religious figures, philosophers, poets, and actors whose opinions ranged across the political and ideological spectrum. The show was revolutionary in setting a new standard for televising public-affairs debates and was foundational for future public-affairs shows like Uncommon Knowledge. The success and long run of Firing Line proved that there was a place on television for civilized debate between conflicting ideologies that could entertain and inform the American public.

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