I will likely see this little film at some point. It asserts that ABC putting my hero (and initial sake ... WFB) William F Buckley, up against Gore Vidal in a snarky debate covering the 1968 elections that was the origin of the "Point, Counterpoint" that we see so often today that was covered so well with humor by SNL in the late '70s'.
Humankind has "progressed" a lot from Socratic Dialogs and even public debates like Lincoln - Douglass. Witness Donald Trump, the essence of the "World Wrestling Federation" as political discourse.
It is clear from reading the linked review that the the reviewer is unable to remotely sever himself from his own deeply ingrained biases.
At a certain point their clash is set up, regardless of their ideals, as the great debater (Buckley) versus the great talker (Vidal), which is probably the most relevant dichotomy here: even as a crypto-fascist, Buckley emerges as the one more concerned with ideas, where Vidal was more content to lob bon mots, smugly ensconced in the rightness of his cause.Dear me ... "crypto fascist". Fascism is "nationalistic crony-socialism". It is socialism where the government doesn't own much of the industry, but controls it via direct command, regulations, taxation and subsidies. The US today with BO has ANTI-nationalist fascism. He certainly doesn't want to see anyone getting all jingoistic over "America", but he is all for maximization of government control of business by any possible lever.
Buckley certainly was pro-america, so in that sense a "nationalist", but love of country is irrespective of political creed -- lots of communists, capitalists, monarchists, socialists, etc love their country! In no way at all was Buckley a "socialist", and in fact, on the true left-right spectrum, fascism, socialism, communism, monarchy and dictatorship are all LEFT (control), white libertarian (WFB) is RIGHT (chaos).
I do agree though that this general structure -- "the shout show" likely had it's origin in that pairing, so looking through the article is a good little history lesson in how we got to where we are today relative to "political debate"
The reviewer falls into the format himself in the name calling department -- "WFB you ignorant crypto-fascist"!