How ‘Firing Line’ Transformed the Battleground

Laurence Zuckerman, New York Times, December 18, 1999.


Even many of the guests who turned out at the Museum of Broadcasting on Tuesday to pay tribute to William F. Buckley Jr. on the occasion of the taping of the final broadcast of ”Firing Line,” his weekly program, might be forgiven for being surprised that it was still on the air.

After 33 years, ”Firing Line,” the longest-running program in television history with the same host, had long since lost its buzz, having been supplanted by many other programs in which outspoken conservative commentators hold forth. But to chroniclers of Mr. Buckley’s life and the conservative movement, ”Firing Line” was the first and the most important in widely establishing conservatism as a serious intellectual movement in America.

New York Times