Movie Review: Best Of Enemies captures the moment political commentary got personal

Television used to value public intellectuals a lot more than it does today. In the heyday of “panel shows” like What’s My Line? and To Tell The Truth, TV’s idea of a celebrity included Broadway impresarios, publishing magnates, newspaper columnists, and any man or woman who could quip knowledgeably about current events. It was in this environment that William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal became household names. Two patrician New Yorkers with strong political convictions and dryly combative personalities, Buckley and Vidal became go-to TV guests even though—or perhaps because—they reveled in asserting their moral and academic superiority when the camera pivoted their way.

Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville’s alternately entertaining and unsettling documentary Best Of Enemies looks at both of these men’s lives through the prism of a moment when their paths infamously crossed. In 1968, ABC News—a distant third in the …

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