Firing Line (TV program)
|Also known as||Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr.|
|Directed by||Warren Steibel|
|Presented by||William F. Buckley Jr. (1966–1999)|
Margaret Hoover (2018–present)
|Theme music composer||Johann Sebastian Bach|
|Opening theme||Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, Third Movement (Allegro assai)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||34|
|No. of episodes||1,504 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||60 minutes (1966–1988)|
30 minutes (1988–1999, 2018–present)
120 minutes (debate specials, 1978–1999)
|Production companies||WOR-TV (1966–1971)|
|Original network||First-run syndication (1966–1971)|
PBS (1971–1999, June 22, 2018–present)
|Original release||April 4, 1966 –|
December 26, 1999
|Related shows||Firing Line with Margaret Hoover|
Firing Line is an American public affairs show founded in and hosted by conservative author and columnist William F. Buckley Jr. from 1966 to 1999, and relaunched in 2018 with host Margaret Hoover.
Under Buckley, 1,504 episodes over 33 years made Firing Line the longest-running public affairs show in television history with a single host. The program, which featured many influential public figures in the United States, won an Emmy Award in 1969.
Firing Line began on April 4, 1966, as an hour-long show (including breaks) for commercial television. The program was produced at WOR-TV in New York City and was syndicated nationally through that station's parent company RKO General and later Showcorporation of America, a syndication firm which RKO acquired majority ownership of in 1968. Firing Line was mainly seen on weekends in low-rated afternoon or late-night time slots, because of the program's admitted appeal to a small, "high-brow" demographic group. The first 39 episodes of the series were taped in black-and-white; the series was converted to color in January 1967.
In the fall of 1966, Firing Line began to appear on noncommercial educational television stations, mostly in areas where RKO General found it difficult to sell the program to a commercial outlet. After 240 episodes aired in commercial syndication Firing Line moved exclusively to noncommercial television in May 1971, distributed by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and produced under the auspices of the Southern Educational Communications Association, an arm of South Carolina Educational Television. This was somewhat unusual, given the reputation among many conservatives that PBS unfairly discriminated against non-liberal viewpoints in its other programming. SECA/SCETV, however, was one of the very few public broadcasting entities of the time that was sympathetic to the conservative movement.
Because the program received a relatively unfavorable Sunday evening timeslot on PBS' schedule in the early 1970s, Buckley and long-time director Warren Steibel briefly attempted to return Firing Line to commercial TV, but could not find sponsors. Thus, the program would remain on PBS until Buckley and Steibel discontinued production on December 17, 1999, with Buckley's final episode airing December 26, 1999.
Although the program's format varied over the years, it typically featured Buckley interviewing, and exchanging views with, a guest, while seated together in front of a small studio audience. Standing or sitting further away in the studio, an "examiner", typically a liberal, would ask questions, generally toward the end of the show. Most guests were intellectuals or those in positions of power, being notable in the fields of politics, religion, literature and academia. Their views could either sharply contrast or be in strong agreement with Buckley's.
Reflecting Buckley's talents and preferences, the exchange of views was almost always polite, and the guests were given time to answer questions at length, giving the program a leisurely pace. "The show was devoted to a leisurely examination of issues and ideas at an extremely high level", according to Jeff Greenfield, who frequently appeared as an examiner. John Kenneth Galbraith said of the program, "Firing Line is one of the rare occasions when you have a chance to correct the errors of the man who's interrogating you."
The show might be compared in politeness and style of discourse to other national public interview shows, specifically those hosted by Richard Heffner, Charlie Rose or Terry Gross, but Buckley was clearly interested in debate. In a 1999 Salon.com article, The Weekly Standard editor William Kristol summarized Buckley's approach to the show: "Buckley really believes that in order to convince, you have to debate and not just preach, which of course means risking the possibility that someone will beat you in debate." Buckley was not averse to asking tough questions of friendly guests either, according to Tom Wolfe, who recalled the interviewer asking him whether there were really any original insights in his book The Bonfire of the Vanities.
Buckley and his producer, Warren Steibel, used various methods over the years to bring extra perspectives to the show. In the early years, there would often be a panel of questioners. In 1977 the panel was replaced by an "examiner" who played a larger part in the proceedings. Examiners varied, with Jeff Greenfield, Michael Kinsley, Harriet Pilpel, and Mark J. Green appearing most frequently. When the show was shortened to 30 minutes in 1988, the role of examiner was eliminated, but there was often a moderator, whose role was similar to that of the moderator in a formal debate. The moderator would introduce both host and guest, and then ask the opening question.
Starting in 1978, scattered among the regular broadcasts were occasional specials and two-hour formal debates, with opening statements, cross-examination, and closing statements. In 1988, at Buckley's request, the running time of regular program shows was reduced from one hour to a half-hour. Beginning in March 1993, the two-hour formal debates would often be followed by half-hour shows in which most or all of the participants engaged in informal discussion. In the 1980s and 1990s, the debate episodes were frequently broadcast on the Monday evenings after PBS pledge drives concluded.
A recurring episode that Buckley had rebroadcast every Christmas, beginning in 1981, was an interview he did with Malcolm Muggeridge at his home in Sussex, England. The title of the episode was "How Does One Find Faith?" The episode deals with questions that are religious and spiritual in nature.
Buckley's distinctive mannerisms were prominently displayed by the program and were part of the public images of both the show and Buckley. Buckley was frequently seen leaning far back in his chair, a pen near his mouth and a clipboard in hand. His flicking tongue, widening eyes, and flashing smile also characterized his style, as did his multi-syllabic vocabulary. Buckley's voice was widely satirized, for instance by Robin Williams on Saturday Night Live and in the animated movie Aladdin.
At the same time that guests were treated politely, Buckley might also gently mock them, particularly if he was friendly with them, as with John Kenneth Galbraith or examiner Mark J. Green. "You've been on the show close to 100 times over the years", Buckley once asked Green. "Tell me, Mark, have you learned anything yet?" When Allen Ginsberg asked if he could sing a song in praise of Krishna, Buckley acceded and the poet chanted "Hare Krishna" repeatedly as he played dolefully on a harmonium. According to Richard Brookhiser, an associate of Buckley's, the host commented that it was "the most unharried Krishna I've ever heard".
Buckley's celebrated politeness sometimes wore thin: In a 1969 debate with linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky, Buckley said, "I rejoice in your disposition to argue the Vietnam question, especially when I recognize what an act of self-control this must involve." Chomsky acknowledged, "Sometimes I lose my temper. Maybe not tonight." "Maybe not tonight", Buckley said, "because if you would I'd smash you in the goddamn face." (This comment was a joking throwback to Buckley's famous response to Gore Vidal, when, during another Vietnam debate, Vidal called Buckley a "crypto-Nazi".)
Buckley addressed his guests as "Mr." or "Mrs." He once called Margaret Thatcher "Margaret" because he thought she had addressed him as "Bill". He was embarrassed later when he saw the transcript and realized she had been referring to a legislative bill. He immediately wrote a personal letter of apology to the Prime Minister.
Prominent guests on the program included:
- Politicians and statesmen: Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Harold Macmillan, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Enoch Powell, Ron Paul, George Wallace, Ian Smith, Jesse Jackson, Newt Gingrich, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Barry Goldwater, Clare Boothe Luce, John Kerry, George H. W. Bush
- Political activists: Saul Alinsky, Allen Ginsberg, Julian Bond, Timothy Leary, Allard K. Lowenstein, Huey Newton, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Frank Donatelli
- Academics: Noam Chomsky, B. F. Skinner, Mortimer Adler, Allan Bloom, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, Benjamin Spock, Paul Goodman
- Journalists: Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward, Bernard Levin, Malcolm Muggeridge, Robert Kuttner
- Economists: John Kenneth Galbraith, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Thomas Sowell
- Writers: Christopher Hitchens, Jorge Luis Borges, Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac, Walker Percy, Anthony Burgess, Truman Capote, Mark Lane, June Jordan, Ann Coulter, Mary McCarthy
- Religious figures: Billy Graham, Richard John Neuhaus, William Sloane Coffin, Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama, Fulton J. Sheen
- Television and film personalities: Steve Allen, Charlton Heston, Theodore Bikel, Groucho Marx, Woody Allen
- Others: Muhammad Ali, Hugh Hefner, Billy Taylor, Bernadette Devlin, Dwight Macdonald, William Shockley, Huey P. Newton, Richard Vatz, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Rush Limbaugh, Rosalyn Tureck
Margaret Hoover is the current host of Firing Line reboot on PBS. The show premiered on June 2, 2018, on WNET, which serves the New York metropolitan area, and is the largest PBS market in the country. The show maintains the original format of deep exchange of ideas with a single guest on a single issue within its 26-minute runtime. It is produced weekly at the WNET Tisch Studios.
The first fourteen episodes of the program featured guests representing a variety of sociopolitical ideologies, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Ohio Governor John Kasich, journalist Gretchen Carlson, Senator Jeff Merkley, "the rising star of the political Left", Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and "accidental icon of the conservative movement", Jordan Peterson. Margaret Hoover's interview with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earned national and international attention for the latter's comments ranging from the state of capitalism and the unemployment rate in the United States to the State of Israel, which earned Ocasio-Cortez derision at the time. The former governor of New Jersey Chris Christie was interviewed in which he referred to the crimes that Jared Kushner's father committed as "loathsome". Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas declared in his interview that the U.S. could defeat Iran with, "two strikes. The first strike and the last strike."
The New York Times wrote that, "Under Ms. Hoover's direction, the discourse is civil and substantive." A review of the show by the National Review states, "the reincarnation of Firing Line comes at an interesting time, and a needful one." In the run-up to the show's television premiere Politico said, "It seems like a great idea, so let's test drive it and see what happens." CNN anchor Poppy Harlow stated that Firing Line with Margaret Hoover "is appointment television in my house" on CNN Newsroom. Hoover has made multiple television appearances for the Firing Line reboot, including ones on Good Morning America, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and Real Time with Bill Maher.
- Bill Nye
- Ayaan Hirsi Ali
- Max Boot
- Gretchen Carlson
- John Kasich
- DeRay Mckesson
- Jeff Merkley
- Peter Navarro
- Paul Ryan
- Jeff Weaver
- Randi Weingarten
- Stacey Abrams
- Tamika Mallory
- Chris Christie
- Tony Blair
- Ann Coulter
- Tom Cotton
- Adam Schiff
- Steve Bannon
- José Andrés
- Michael Bloomberg
- Jim Mattis
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
- John Hickenlooper
- Oliver North
- Andrew McCabe
- Ted Cruz
- Tulsi Gabbard
- Michael Moore
- Sean Penn
- Elise Stefanik
- Jordan Peterson
Beginning with the move of the program to public television in 1971, the theme music of Firing Line was the Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, Third Movement (Allegro assai), by Johann Sebastian Bach.
A number of episodes of the show have been released on DVD by the Hoover Institution Library and Archives at Stanford University, and are sold exclusively through Amazon.com, which also makes episodes accessible via Amazon Video. As well as that, for a slightly higher price, the Hoover Archive will supply unreleased episodes on DVD through its website. Episodes with playlists by year are now available on YouTube.
Digitized audiovisual recordings and transcripts of more than 1,500 Firing Line episodes were contributed to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting via external links from the Hoover Institution Library and Archives at Stanford University.
- Simon, Scott (June 9, 2018). "William F. Buckley's 'Firing Line' Returns With Margaret Hoover". NPR. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. ran for over 33 years, mostly on public television. He was the most glittering conservative in America. And he interviewed, yes, other conservatives such as Goldwater, Reagan, Thatcher and Kissinger but also people on the left including Noam Chomsky, Dr. Spock, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and some names that might surprise you - Allen Ginsberg, Groucho, Marx, Muhammad Ali.
- "Primetime Emmy Awards - 1969". IMDb. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
Special Classification Achievements - Programs
- "Register of the Firing Line (Television Program) broadcast records". Online Archives of California. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
With 1,505 installments over 33 years, Firing Line is the longest-running public-affairs show with a single host, William F. Buckley Jr., in television history.
- "Showcorporation to handle RKO shows" (PDF). Broadcasting. March 11, 1968. p. 67. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
- "Longtime Firing Line host William F. Buckley Jr. Dies". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. March 1, 2008. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
When Firing Line began in 1966 it was on commercial television, syndicated from New York's WOR-TV. After 240 episodes the show moved to public television in 1971, where it remained a PBS staple until Buckley decided to close down the show in 1999.
- Ferguson, Andrew (March 10, 2008). "On the 'Firing Line'". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
The show by then was an anachronism, both in its format and its ambition. Firing Line was a creature of the middlebrow--that long-gone impulse of the mid-20th century popular culture that tried to orient a mass audience toward learning, intellectual sophistication, and cultural uplift. The airwaves were filled with middlebrow fare, in between showings of Leave it to Beaver and The $64,000 Question. A lot of middlebrow stuff was dopey--try, if you dare, to watch such earnest, humorless teleplays as 12 Angry Men all the way through. Some of it proved provocative in conception and deadly in execution--the TV host David Susskind once had a weekly show called Open End, in which he would convene a panel of guests and engage them in conversation for several hours, with no set time limit, till everyone got bored and stopped talking. But a lot of the middlebrow was wonderful, reflecting a high, if implausible, opinion of the public's taste and aspirations.
- Hendershot, Heather (June 1, 2018). "Is America Ready for Kinder, Gentler Political TV?". Politico. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
On Firing Line, Buckley staked a claim for witty, urbane, sophisticated conservatism.
- "Buckley show sold to ETVs" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 5, 1966. p. 58. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
- "'Firing Line' program advances to ETV front" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 15, 1971. p. 48. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
- Pedersen, Erik; de Moraes, Lisa (February 28, 2018). "PBS Announces Conservative Talk Show As Trump Administration Mulls Whacking Pubcaster's Funding". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
The notion of a conservative-oriented talk show on PBS takes its cue from William F. Buckley's Firing Line, which aired on the pubcaster from 1971-99. That series being carried by PBS was somewhat unusual, given the reputation among many conservatives that the pubcaster unfairly discriminated against non-liberal viewpoints in its other programming. But it started in 1966 on SECA/SCETV, which was one of the very few public broadcasting entities of that time that was sympathetic to the conservative movement. Because the program received a relatively unfavorable Sunday evening timeslot on PBS's schedule in the early 1970s, Buckley and Steibel briefly attempted to return Firing Line to commercial TV but could not find sponsors. PBS aired its final episode on December 26, 1999.
- "Register of the Firing Line (Television Program) broadcast records". Online Archive of California. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
In 1971, under the auspices of the Southern Educational Communications Association (SECA), it moved to public television and became a full hour. This move is reflected in a numbering change in the programs: shows numbered 1 through 240 were on commercial television; the SECA series then begins with s0001, taped on May 26, 1971. The WOR shows were numbered according to the order in which they were taped; the SECA shows were numbered according to the order in which they were first broadcast. In 1988 the length of the regular shows was changed to a half-hour.
- Ferguson, Andrew (December 27, 1999). "All Quiet on the Firing Line: William F. Buckley Jr". Time. Retrieved February 11, 2022.
On a bleak afternoon last week, in a dim little TV studio in lower Manhattan, Firing Line finally ran out of ammunition. Hosted for 33 years by the conservative intellectual William F. Buckley Jr., the show taped its final installment, which will air on PBS stations the week of Dec. 26. Blue and white balloons had been set out to leaven the gloom, as had a panel of younger pundits, including Michael Kinsley and William Kristol. Their conversation was unhurried and intelligent, as it always is on Firing Line. Watching it all, you couldn't help thinking that something more than a TV show was passing away.
- "'Firing Line': PBS Reloads Public-Affairs Show With Host Margaret Hoover". Deadline Hollywood. April 26, 2018.
- Konigsberg, Erik (February 29, 2008). "On TV, Buckley Led Urbane Debating Club". The New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
'The show was devoted to a leisurely examination of issues and ideas at an extremely high level,' said Jeff Greenfield of CBS News, another pundit who frequently debated Mr. Buckley on the program. 'It's not at all like what you see now, where everybody says, "Who won the week?" or "On a scale of 1 to 10, rate Hillary's chances."' 'Over 33 years, the list of guests on "Firing Line" was impressive and very much bipartisan: Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Clare Boothe Luce and Henry A. Kissinger on the right. Muhammad Ali, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Jimmy Carter and William M. Kunstler on the left. There were also, of course, people who, by dint of political or personal conviction, would not appear on "Firing Line."'
- Konigsberg, Erik (February 29, 2008). "On TV, Buckley Led Urbane Debating Club". The New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
'"Firing Line" is one of the rare occasions when you have a chance to correct the errors of the man who's interrogating you,' John Kenneth Galbraith said that night.
- Lehman, Susan (January 7, 1999). "Firing Line Ceases Fire". Salon.com. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
'Firing Line' was the prototype for all subsequent point-counterpoint shows, and viewers of different political stripes laud Buckley's ecumenical inclinations. 'Buckley really believes that in order to convince, you have to debate and not just preach, which of course means risking the possibility that someone will beat you in debate,' says Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, adding that 'not that many people could beat Buckley, of course.' Kristol and others note that while 'Firing Line' was one of Buckley's ways of introducing conservative ideas to a broad audience, he went out of his way to include other points of view. Michael Kinsley, for example, was a longtime 'Firing Line' panelist. Buckley loyalists and detractors alike note that, after 34 years, the show had begun to run out of steam. Victor Navasky, Nation editor and natural Buckley adversary, says he wishes he could say, '"It's about time." But I'll miss "Firing Line."' What will he miss? 'Buckley's raised eyebrow, his sneering tone and his predictable, and sometimes eloquent, statements of his Neanderthal perspective.'
- Konigsberg, Erik (February 29, 2008). "On TV, Buckley Led Urbane Debating Club". The New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
Tom Wolfe praised Mr. Buckley somewhat ruefully for being a tough interrogator, 'even though we agreed on so many things.' Take, for instance, the time when Mr. Wolfe's first novel, 'The Bonfire of the Vanities,' was published in 1987. 'I was waiting for that softball down the middle, and he said something like, "So, do you think there are any original insights in this book?"' Mr. Wolfe said. 'So I said, "Oh, of course." And he said, "I don't see that at all. There's been moral turpitude forever. So what on earth is new about this?" Mr. Wolfe said he got a kick out of his friend's accent. 'I always thought of it as a mid-Atlantic accent,' he went on. 'But if you actually listened to it, his got all the way across the Atlantic.'
- "Register of the Firing Line (Television Program) broadcast records". Online Archive of California. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
Over the years, Buckley and his producer, Warren Steibel, used various methods of bringing an extra perspective to the discussion. In the early years there would often be a panel of three questioners--sometimes students, sometimes adults. Starting in 1977, there would often be a single 'examiner,' who would play a larger part in the proceedings than the panel of questioners had typically done. The examiners who appeared most frequently were Jeff Greenfield, Michael Kinsley, Harriet Pilpel, and Mark Green. In 1988, when the show went to half an hour, the examiner was eliminated, but there was often a 'moderator,' whose role was similar to that of the moderator in a formal debate. The moderator would introduce both host and guest, and then ask the opening question. The moderator appearing most frequently was Michael Kinsley. Some early programs included a person called a 'chairman,' who functioned like a moderator. Beginning with show 171, in October of 1969, approximately twice a year the tables would be turned, with a panel of questioners putting Buckley 'on the firing line.' Source: Preface to the program catalogue compiled by Firing Line staff member Linda Bridges
- Fowler, Jack (December 25, 2015). "A Buckley Christmas Tradition". National Review. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
Bill's acclaimed program, Firing Line, had a delightful Christmas tradition: to rerun his wonderful 1981 interview with Malcolm Muggeridge on 'How Does One Find Faith?' After you digest your figgy pudding, we recommend you take a few minutes to watch this clip from the program. Albeit brief, you are sure to enjoy seeing two giant conservative intellects discussing faith.
- Matlow, Orli (July 30, 2015). "Pop Culture References In 'Aladdin' That Are Sooooooo Outdated Now". Bustle. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
The Genie is drawn to be like Buckley twice in the movie. William F. Buckley hosted the TV show Firing Line from 1966-1999. Genie turns into him when he needs to get serious with Aladdin. I'm sure that joke killed with the parents in 1992, but today it takes some Googling to get.
- Tsai, Michelle (February 28, 2008). "Why Did William F. Buckley Jr. Talk Like That?". Slate. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
But if you listen to Buckley's many debates—with Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky, and others—the first thing you'll notice is a distinctly British rhythm and melody. His pronunciation was likewise British-influenced in its lack of rhoticity—meaning he drops his 'r's. (An American 'r' is generally pronounced with a tongue curled about 45 degrees; the Brits leave their tongues flat. Buckley is often somewhere in the middle.) This style of speech was thought to characterize upper-class New Englanders as a whole, perhaps because many of the region's earliest settlers hailed from (old) England. (Fewer 'r's were dropped among the more diverse mix of immigrants in New York.) There's also the yod, which is the 'ew' sound in music and usual—like our friends across the pond, Buckley keeps the yod for words like news and pursue. He also pronounces the 't' in words like writer. And for vowels in words like thought and wrong, he rounded his lips, not unlike the English. Meanwhile, he stressed few words when he spoke but would pounce on an important one, every once in a while. (Contrast with John Wayne, who tended to stress every single word, in exactly the same way.) Buckley's old-fashioned way of speaking wasn't too far from the British-influenced mid-Atlantic accent, which the Hollywood studios taught to actors in the 1930s and '40s. You'll pick up some of the same pronunciations and cadences from recordings of Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as Katharine Hepburn—who was, after all, from a wealthy Connecticut family, like Buckley. The conservative thinker may have shared an accent with some other men of the same age and social class, but his mannerisms and gestures made him entirely unique—and occasionally prone to caricature. He tended to pause for long stretches, wag his tongue, and open his mouth in an exaggerated way. To emphasize a point, he would make a tent with his fingers or grin as he spoke a key word. Toss in his wit, his blue-blooded accent, and his affinity for fancy words, and Buckley had created his own personal language, or idiolect.
- Martin, Douglas (December 8, 2008). "William Buckley Jr. is dead at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
To New York City politician Mark Green, he purred, 'You've been on the show close to 100 times over the years. Tell me, Mark, have you learned anything yet.'
- Koningsberg, Erik (February 29, 2008). "On TV, Buckley Led Urbane Debating Club". The New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
And there was the time that Allen Ginsberg asked Mr. Buckley's permission, in the middle of an episode, to sing a song in praise of Lord Krishna. 'That was a howl — sorry, sorry about the word choice,' Mr. Brookhiser said. 'Bill was very gentle with him. He said of course.' Mr. Ginsberg proceeded to play a long and doleful number on a harmonium, chanting along slowly and passionately, Mr. Brookhiser said. 'And when he was finished, Bill said, "Well, that's the most unharried Krishna I've ever heard."'
- "Vietnam and the Intellectuals". Hoover Institution Library and Archives: Firing Line broadcast records. April 3, 1969. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
A matter-versus-anti-matter meeting between WFB and a man he characterizes as being 'listed in anybody's catalogue as among the half-dozen top heroes of the New Left.' Mr. Chomsky says nothing to belie his reputation: 'I said that there are certain issues-for example-Auschwitz, such that by consenting to discuss them one degrades oneself and to some degree loses one's humanity ... Nevertheless, I can easily imagine circumstances in which I would have been glad to debate Auschwitz-for example, if there were some chance that by debating Auschwitz it might have been possible to eliminate or to at least mitigate the horror that was going on. And, I think, I feel the same way about Vietnam.'
- Lind, Michael (August 24, 2015). "Buckley vs. Vidal: The Real Story". Politico. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
Far worse is the utterly unintellectual nature of a movie that is supposed to be about two intellectuals. Buckley is identified as a conservative and Vidal as a liberal. But what these philosophies meant for these two, beyond opposing perspectives on pornography and the Vietnam War, is never explored. Instead, the film-makers have compiled clips of the two trading insults, culminating in the infamous exchange in which Vidal called Buckley a 'crypto-Nazi' and Buckley called Vidal a 'queer.' At first the spectacle is funny. But it soon becomes depressing and squalid. Anyone unfamiliar with the history of the time would see only two pompous men with old-fashioned accents insulting each other.
- Buckley Jr., William F. (October 28, 1975). "Just Call Me Bill". National Review. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
My bias, on the whole, continued in the direction of a tendency to formality, so in the last few years I made a deter–mined effort to overcome it, wherein I came across my most recent humiliation . Mrs. Margaret Thatcher was my guest on Firing Line. Rather to my surprise, the English being more naturally formal than we are, halfway through the program she suddenly referred to me, once, as 'Bill.' I declined to break my Firing Line rule, and so persisted with 'Mrs. Thatcher.' However, the next day when we met again at a semi-social function, I braced myself on leaving and said, 'Good-bye, Margaret.' And a week later, writing her a note congratulating her on her performance, I addressed it: 'Dear Margaret.'
- Kakutani, Michiko (February 25, 1981). "Buckley's 'Firing Line' Celebrates 15 Years". The New York Times. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
Conversation, the Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset once remarked, 'is the socializing instrument par excellence.' Yesterday conversation was in particularly fine form at the New York Yacht Club, where about 300 of its finest practitioners gathered to celebrate the 15th anniversary of 'Firing Line,' William F. Buckley Jr.'s weekly colloquy, telecast by the Public Broadcasting Service. For the 13th-longest-running program on public or commercial television, it was a fitting birthday party indeed, a party resonant with passion, intellect and great good humor - the very qualities that have informed the show's conversations between Mr. Buckley and his guests from the beginning. Many of those guests made a return appearance last evening at the party given by Anne Armstrong, Louis S. Auchincloss, Alistair Cooke, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., Henry A. Kissinger, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and William E. Simon - themselves all alumni of 'Firing Line' too. No doubt Mayor Koch spoke for all of them when he said, 'I've never participated in a show that has been more scintillating or informative for me personally than those conducted by Bill Buckley. Whether I'm on it or someone else is on it, I'm always enthralled.' President Reagan sent his regards.
- "Firing Line Guests". Hoover Institution Library and Archives. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
- Simon, Scott (June 8, 2018). "William F. Buckley's 'Firing Line' Returns With Margaret Hoover". NPR. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
Almost 20 years since Firing Line ceased production, Margaret Hoover is stepping in to become the next host of the conservative talk show on PBS.
- "Firing Line with Margaret Hoover". TV Guide. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
June 2, 2018 - The premiere of the public affairs talk show that delivers a civil and engaging contest of ideas.
- "WNET Sponsorship". WNET. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
- "WGBH Boston and Thirteen/WNET New York, Two of America's Largest Public Broadcasters, Join Forces to Launch World and Create - Two New Digital Channels Serving Viewers Across the Northeast". Business Wire. February 24, 2004. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
WGBH Boston and Thirteen/WNET New York have combined forces to launch World and Create, two new digital channels for viewers throughout the Boston and New York metropolitan areas. Available to digital cable subscribers as well as over the air (via antenna) to viewers with digital receivers, the new channels complement the traditional analog channels of both WGBH Boston and Thirteen/WNET New York.
- Falk, Tyler (April 27, 2018). "PBS rekindles political debate show 'Firing Line'". Current. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
'The show will maintain the character of the original series by William F. Buckley, providing a platform that is diligent in its commitment to a balanced exchange of opinion,' the release added. 'The series comes at a time when meaningful discourse is needed more than ever.'
- Newman, Andy (June 27, 2018). "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Emerges as a Political Star". The New York Times. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
- Arnold, Megan (August 24, 2018). "Jordan Peterson is a Conservative, Not a Classical Liberal". Libertarianism.org. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
In speaking of the distinction between conservatives and [classical] liberals in his essay 'Why I Am Not a Conservative,' Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek notes that 'the conservative attitude is a fear of change' and 'a timid distrust of the new as such.' By contrast, Hayek says that a liberal like himself can 'accept changes without apprehension even though he does not know how the necessary adaptations will be brought about.' Conservatives only feel safe 'if [they are] assured that some higher wisdom watches and supervises change.' It almost seems as though Hayek had Jordan Peterson in mind when he wrote the essay.
- "Firing Line Episodes Season 1 - 2018". PBS. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
- "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrong on several counts about unemployment".
- "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticizes Israel for 'the occupation of Palestine'". July 16, 2018.
- Cillizza, Chris (July 18, 2018). "Democrats should maybe slow their roll on pushing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as their next big star". CNN. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
Which leads to moments like this one, which occurred during an interview with Margaret Hoover for PBS' 'Firing Line' in which Ocasio-Cortez gets herself into trouble when she starts talking about the Middle East and referring to Israelis who have settled in the West Bank as occupiers of Palestine. Hoover follows up, smartly, and Ocasio-Cortez begins to talk about an increase in settlements that makes it more difficult for Palestinians to access 'their housing.' Sensing that she is making things worse not better, Ocasio-Cortez admits: 'I am not the expert on geopolitics on this issue.'
- Warner, Liam (July 17, 2018). "Ocasio-Cortez Embarrasses Herself on Firing Line". National Review. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the celebrated, 28-year-old Democratic nominee for Congress in New York's 14th district, appeared on PBS's Firing Line reboot last week to discuss herself. The conversation was a broad overview of Ocasio-Cortez's positions on capitalism, education, and foreign policy. One widely circulated highlight was Ocasio-Cortez's reference to the 'occupation' of Palestine, which host Margaret Hoover asked her to clarify. She responded by saying that she supposed she was referring to the Israeli settlements in 'some of these areas,' which make it difficult for Palestinians to access 'their housing and homes.' Hoover asked for a fuller explanation but got only Ocasio-Cortez's demurral that she was 'not the expert on geopolitics on this issue.'
- Victor, Daniel (January 30, 2019). "Chris Christie Says Jared Kushner's Father Committed a 'Loathsome' Crime". The New York Times. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
'Mr. Kushner pled guilty, he admitted the crimes. So what am I supposed to do as a prosecutor?' Mr. Christie said in an interview on 'Firing Line With Margaret Hoover' on PBS. 'If a guy hires a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, and videotapes it, and then sends the videotape to his sister to attempt to intimidate her from testifying before a grand jury, do I really need any more justification than that?' He continued: 'It's one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes that I prosecuted when I was U.S. attorney. And I was U.S. attorney in New Jersey, Margaret, so we had some loathsome and disgusting crime going on there.'
- Vogt, Bailey (May 15, 2019). "Sen. Tom Cotton: U.S. could win potential war with Iran in 'two strikes'". The Washington Times. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
Sen. Tom Cotton said Tuesday the U.S. could win a war with Iran in only 'two strikes' amid simmering tensions between the two countries. When asked if the United States could emerge successful from a conflict with the Middle Eastern state, Mr. Cotton said, 'Yes, two strikes. The first strike and the last strike.' 'If Iran struck out militarily against us or against our allies in the region, then I would certainly expect a devastating response against Iran,' the Arkansas Republican said in an interview on PBS' 'Firing Line with Margaret Hoover' show.
- Green, Penelope (July 11, 2018). "Margaret Hoover and John Avlon on their Post-Partisan Marriage". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
- Williamson, Kevin (June 3, 2018). "A Hoover Restoration". National Review. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
The reincarnation of Firing Line comes at an interesting time, and a needful one.
- Hendershot, Heather (June 1, 2018). "Is America Ready for Kinder, Gentler Political TV?". Politico. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
It seems like a great idea, so let's test drive it and see what happens
- Poppy Harlow, John Avlon, Margaret Hoover (August 8, 2018). CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow (Television). New York: CNN.
- George Stephanopoulos, Margaret Hoover (June 25, 2018). Good Morning America (Television). New York: ABC.
- Stephen Colbert, Margaret Hoover (June 27, 2018). The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Television). New York: CBS.
- Neale, April (June 15, 2018). "George Will, Billy Eichner and Margaret Hoover on Real Time with Bill Maher". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
The roundtable guests are Rep. Karen Bass, CNN contributor and television host Margaret Hoover, and Daily Beast contributor and author Michael Weiss. Hoover has been selected to bring back the analysis news show Firing Line [with William F. Buckley Jr.] which ran for over 33 years. Buckley interviewed other conservatives, as well as people on the left including Noam Chomsky, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Allen Ginsberg, and even Groucho Marx. Hoover is now the next host for the series which [returns] to PBS.
- Staff, Algemeiner (May 16, 2019). "Journalists Margaret Hoover, Jackson Diehl Honored at Algemeiner Summer Benefit". Algemeiner Journal. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
PBS host Margaret Hoover and Washington Post editor Jackson Diehl received 'Journalist of the Year' awards, and entrepreneur Cyril Berdugo was also honored at the event.
- "Firing Line". American Archive of Public Broadcasting. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
- "Firing Line". Hoover Institution. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
- On the Firing Line: The Public Life of Our Public Figures, by William F. Buckley (New York: Random House, 1989), ISBN 0-394-57568-7. A collection of transcript excerpts and commentary.
- Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line, by Heather Hendershot (New York: Broadside Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2016), ISBN 9780062430458; 0062430459. A professor of comparative media studies/writing at MIT discusses the history and importance of Firing Line.
- Guide to the Firing Line Broadcast Records and transcripts of all programs and hundreds of videos online at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Stanford University.
- on 's channelYouTube - Hoover Institution Library and Archives
- Firing Line at IMDb
- Firing Line Ceases Fire, a January 1999 article from Salon.com