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tv   QA  CSPAN  July 26, 2015 10:58pm-11:58pm EDT

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>> next month, c-span partners with the new hampshire leaders. current and likely republican candidates have been invited to participate. that is at the college in manchester and we haven't to live here on c-span. >> the senate was in session today to work on a bill for the highway and mass transit program. senators discussed the law authorizing the import and export bank. and the senate returns at 2 p.m. to discuss the highway and transportation funding bill.
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as always, you can watch the senate live on c-span two. >> monday on the communicators commissioner michael o'rielly on key issues before the fcc like net neutrality, regulating the internet, and the public response. >> when there is an open commission meeting, that information should be made available publicly. that would give an opportunity for everyone to know what we are thinking. right now we have people who raise concerns regarding this, but they do not know exactly what is being put forth. they are doing rifle shot at scattered structures, you know? that is problematic for my point of view. i would like for them to not have to spend time on things that do not need attention. >> monday night on the
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communicators on c-span-two. coming up next, "q&a," filmmakers morgan neville and robert gordon talk about their new documentary. then british foreign secretary hammond. ♪ >> this week on "q&a," filmmakers morgan neville and robert gordon talk about their new documentary, "best of enemies," which tells the behind-the-scenes stories of the famous 1968 televised debates between conservative william f. buckley and liberal gore vidal. the debates took place during the democratic and republican party presidential nominating conventions. brian: robert gordon, why did you do this documentary on bill buckley and gore vidal? robert: because it was
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exhilarating to watch them have dialogue back and forth and though it was 45 years ago, it spoke very much to the present tense. brian: and i'll ask the same to your partner in crime over here. morgan: robert called me and said he had come across a bootleg tape of some of these debate between william buckley and gore vidal. did i want to see them? absolutely, i wanted to see them. [laughter] i was very interested in him as a character. buckley was someone we all knew from being such a tv presence, but when i saw the debates i saw something that was really speaking to today as much as it was to 1968. and then we got excited and , decided to make a film about it.
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brian: when did they start to get there? and what was the point of your documentary? robert: they had their first confrontation in print in 1960 or 1962. bill on the right, gore on the left. three columns, i think it was associated press that they did. a stunt. but it really became more , personal when gore went on it -- when gore went on the david david suskind show and dismissed bill buckley as kind of a -- categorize it like the right had been categorized prior to his emergence. a crackpot, very far rates magazine -- very far right
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magazine and he had come along in the mid-50's and change those purged those very kind -- and purged those very kind of characters. he sort of made the right a respectable place to think and be. gore dismissed it and demanded equal time. brian: you knew gore vidal, did you know bill buckley at all? morgan: i did not. he was the revelation to me, i was familiar with gore, but i was familiar with buckley the man, and buckley the tv personality. buckley told one of his editors upon moving to new york, don't hang out with the conservatives, hang out with the liberals. the conservatives are boring. buckley's apartment in new york
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with his wife patricia was full of liberal writers and some of her gay friends and people in the art world. not what i would've thought of. robert: one of the things we learned was that he had this -- he was very interested in clinical debates on television -- political debates on television. but off tv, he was much more interested in arch, literature, he played the harpsichord and painted. he found it kind of boring to pursue that in his off-time. brian: we have a bit of video from the trailer which talks about your documentary area and -- documentary. let's watch. >> so buckley was the devil. he represented everything that was going to moral hell. >> at these were two visions of america clashing. >> each thought the other was
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quite dangerous. >> all of the security makes me nervous. but it is necessary, apparently. >> if buckley were not taken out, his ideas would take down the nation. >> it's almost as if they were matter and antimatter. >> as say that again. >> freedom breeds and equality. freedom breeds inequality. >> know, once was enough. >> he's always to the right, and almost always in the wrong. >> anything complicated it confuses mr. but all -- confuses mr. vidal. >> they really do despise one another. >> is stop calling me a crib though nazi, or i will pop you in the job. -- a crypto-nazi or i will pop you imn-- in the jaw.
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>> you will stay plastered. >> this is william f buckley junior from new york. perfect. brian: how big a deal was that confrontation back when it happened? morgan: i think it was a big deal at the time. it was certainly something that people wrote about. there were riots in the streets in chicago. it was not the headline, but it was the way the rest of america is taking this in, sitting around the television watching. it was this flash moments that people could not believe happened, and then it disappeared. this was before youtube. you could not go rewatch it. it became this thing of lore. almost instantly. this thing that people remembered. robert: this did not happen on tv. now, you go to college and you columnists wrote about it. can major in queer studies. but the word queer at the time,
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was a real heavy weapon. it brought ire upon the network. you could not talk like that on tv then. that was part of -- to digress for a second, one of the things we have to do was if that's the big moment, we have to contextualize it. make someone majoring in queer studies now realize the weight that word carried at the time. brian: how do you split your responsibilities on a documentary? morgan: it is such a labor of love, it is sort of who can grab what first? in terms of the massive amounts of research, it took us five years to make it. there was no clear delineation of tasks, can you do this? can i do this?
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robert: codirect coproduce commiserate. brian: where do you to live? robert: i'm in memphis tennessee. morgan: i'm in los angeles. brian: i want to run a little longer clip of that exchange in your documentary. it's about a minute and 12 seconds. we refer to it as the c rypto-nazi clip. before i show it, how many debates today have? robert: one of the amazing things about the series is these were 10 debates that occurred during the conventions of 1968. the republican and democratic conventions. so they met in miami, and then a , few weeks later they met again in chicago. they were there to comment on what had gone on in the course of the day. color commentary because abc was not covering the conventions.
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not gavel-to-gavel. it was as if, as we got into the flow of this thing, it was as if it had been scripted in the sense that in the penultimate debate, is this huge explosion. this, you know, groundbreaking moment on tv, and then we have to come back for a tenth. it was as if someone had narratively set it up. morgan: this is the night of the rioting in the streets. the third night in chicago. the night of the rioting in the streets. they had just watched news footage of cops beating kids over the head in the street. and then they cut back to gore , and buckley. and this is the exchange that happened. brian: here it is. >> you must realize what some of the political issues are here. people in the united states happen to believe that the united states policy is wrong in vietnam and the viet cong are correct.
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correct in wanting to organize their own country in their own way politically full this happens to be the opinion of western europe. and the rest of the world. it is a novelty in chicago that is too bad. that is the point of american democracy. >> you can express any point of view you want. >> shut up a minute. >> no, i won't. >> the only cryptonazi i can think of is yourself. >> stop calling me that. i will punch you in the god dam face and it will stay plastered. [indiscernible] >> gentlemen let's -- >> inference tree the last war. [indiscernible]
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>> you were reporting your own military record. brian: so the, shut up a minute. did he really mean that? morgan: absolutely. what's interesting about the relationship between these two men, politically they could not have been more different. you know they absolutely were , coming from -- completely polar opposites. but personally, they saw the , other person as a bete noir. a person who could recognize their own insecurities and expose them to the outside world. so, in a way, they were so similar it seems almost by accident that they became such polar opposites. they were like matter and the anti-matter. in a way, it was deeply personal as much as it was political. brian: we did not see the moderator, but you can hear have a little bit. he did not seem very happy with this. did you talk to anyone at abc that was there at the time?
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and get with their reaction was at this time? robert: we did. we talked to people who were there, and i think the people who were in the control room were shocked. i mean, no one expected this. and they, you know i think we , have in the film, one of the guys in the control room says can they say that? and, it had already gone out. it was so shocking that they withheld from the west coast, they delayed the west coast broadcast. brian: did it ever show on the west coast? morgan: no. brian: here's some more of your documentary. this is a clip of bill buckley and gore vidal when fidel was wanting to expose buckley for something. >> buckley expected this to be an opportunity to debate the issues. to have some fun, he was not
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prepared mr. vidal. >> he wanted to take the national review as being racist and anti-somatic. -- anti-semitic. >> i don't think he was really interested in conducting a debate about the issues, or about the parties, or about the policies. what he wanted to do was expose bill buckley. >> their confrontation is about lifestyle. what kind of people should we be? there are real argument in front of the public is, who is the better person? brian: did you find out whether or not when they were getting
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their makeup in those black-and-white shots? did they talk? morgan: i think they try to not speak to one another as much as possible. one of the many things we came across when we were doing this film was, we went through gore's papers at harvard. it included pages of pre-scripted insults. he had statistics. he had done a lot of research on buckley. he came in to try and eviscerate him on tv, and buckley was not prepared. he did not see this coming. he had, for the most part, gotten by on his substantive wit on his tv show. he did not see that gore was from the beginning going for the jugular. brian: abc back in those days did not have a full day of
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television. what impact did this have? robert: it was a shocked to everybody. as someone in the film says, abc was third of three networks. if there were four, it would have been forth. they had begun later as a network. they were less capitalized than the other two. they needed the income from "batman" and "the flying nun" to run during prime time. they would come on during the day and given our and-a-half summation of the highlights. the other networks accuse them of forsaking their journalistic responsibility.
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however, the idea of putting these two heavyweights on to go head-to-head and give them 15 uninterrupted minutes on national network was -- became captivating. people loved to see this dance this ballet, this tango. it was a boxing match. we took to calling it verbal one sport. they were after each other's jugular. the weaponry was words. that developed an audience. commentators were covering it, by the end there was a headline that said -- at the 1972 convention, cbs is going to imitate abc? everybody changed. no one after that ever did gavel to gavel coverage again. and of course, the idea of two heavyweights going back and forth and precipitating fights on tv became increasingly the
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norm. brian: when did you start with documentaries? morgan: 22 years ago. i was a journalist, were both journalists. we're both big believers in the power of media. that is one thing, i think, that attracted us to this story. it is a cautionary tale and an absurdist comedy at the same time. brian: where were you as a journalist? morgan: i started my career at the nation magazine. that's where worked for gore. i worked in the bay area for a number of places.
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robert has been a writer. he has written six books. i found documentary early on. i fell in love with it. i love telling stories brian: where did you start as a journalist? robert: i started as a freelance writer after college in philadelphia. i got on a weekly and began to string at the philadelphia inquirer. i had always dabbled in film and tv. i made a documentary -- i cannot honestly recall if it was an hour or half an hour in 1989. and then -- brian: what was it about? robert: it was about bb king and rufus thomas and their start from the streets in memphis called beale street. sort of how they became national players. it was picked up by pbs. that brought me back to memphis to work on it. when i was there, i began to get magazine assignments which led to my first book. and all of a sudden i was back , into print and was making
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music videos, but it kind of put documentary as side, and a friend of ours came to town and were making a documentary about sam phillips, the founder of sun records. we were out to dinner and i was working on a book about muddy waters. and i said at dinner, i have been trying to make -- i was telling them i was trying to find as much film and video of muddy as i could to get to know the character better. i told them i was try to make a documentary, but i think i'm about to throw it in the towel. and morgan said, a documentary on muddy waters? not too much later, we were in the car driving through the back roads of mississippi making a film. robert: my first documentary is
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called "shotgun freeway." it was kind of the a mondo l.a. history. an oxymoron. i set out to prove that l.a. did have a history. at the time, it was interesting. we had people in the film talking about it. james ryan, joan didion. talking about it and it was a success. i kind of never looked back. brian: more from one of the debates. this was debate number one. when they first started. that would have been at which convention? >> miami. july. brian: let's watch this. and then we will continue talking about vidal and mr.
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buckley. >> you get these crocodile tears for the poor people. because they need to vote. i don't think they are going to vote for any of your candidates unless by some terrible accident the democrats get split in chicago. which could well happen. in which case, i think richard nixon might very well become the next president. and i shall make my occasional trips to europe longer. >> i think a lot of people will. as a matter of fact mr. arthur/injured junior, who was a member of your party, not mine reminds you of your promise to renounce your american citizenship unless you get a satisfactory outcome in november. >> that is not what i said. i said it would be morally correct. if the world did not end. but, i can behave as him morally as the republicans.
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>> yes, i suppose you can. brian: how much of this was spiked by a producer saying we need audience go for each other? morgan: i think abc wanted something that was going to have a little spark. something that was a little bit of a stunt. they got ugly to be a conservative commentator in 1968. they said who do you want to debate. he said anybody except gore the doll or a communist. -- gore vidal or a communist. abc hired him, neither of them wanted to go on with the other but the lore of the nationals. light on prime tv was too great. and they were well paid. robert: about a grand tonight.
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-- about a grand a night. morgan: in 1968 dollars. brian: today that would be a great deal. morgan: i don't think the producers had to do any prodding. once it was established, they brought more heat than they expected. robert: it's very clear from watching that, there is not someone in their ear. someone today talking about -- hot topics, hot salacious topic number two. i don't think that was the norm in tv at the time, and i don't think these guys needed it. as morgan said -- morgan: and the moderator was a distinguished news man who i think was really kind of embarrassed by this. i mean, he was moderating, but he disappears for sometimes five or more minutes at a time. today, you would not have a moderator not jumping in every 30 seconds.
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i think everybody at the abc just sat back and let the fire burn. brian: they talk about vietnam. here is a minute clip from debate number two. >> now we're going to win in vietnam. now i assume that you -- >> i said we could win. >> could we, or should we? >> oh, obviously we should. >> that's all we needed to know. take a good look at the leading warmonger in the united states. don't point your tongue at me now. keep it in your cheek where it belongs. >> and we find the leading warmonger, then i am to be with you in the sense that a majority of the people of the including the leadership of both parties while you go to rome -- want you to go to rome and expatriate yourself. >> i think we should straighten this out now. i don't expatriate myself, i
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have in apartments and i go there for two to three months every year. i go to the vatican to contemplate william buckley and his mad at tiffany's here. brian: did either one of these men serve in any military service in the united states? morgan: neither of them saw action in world war ii, but they both serve during world war ii. robert: funny story. we went to go interview gore. he was alive when we began this. this was a five-year process. gore had written his first novel about his experiences in the military on a ship. he had served in the aleutian islands. so, we were interviewing gore about a year and a half before he passed away. he was in a lot of back pain and uncomfortable. he was -- word had gotten out
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that he was not at his prime and kind of paranoid and conspiracy minded. so he is wheeled into the room , he's is in a wheelchair and he's brought in and he is not making eye contact with anyone on the crew. i mean very forcibly looking , down. one of the guys on the crew said , my uncle served in the aleutian islands at the same time you did. he said he could never get warm. gore raised his eyes and these machine guns came out and he said, i had my rage to keep me warm. brian: how would you define each individual, politically, personally? from what you have learned during the time putting this documentary together. morgan: they are both complex characters. one thing that is so refreshing about these characters is though they were the left and the right, they were such
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individualistic thinkers, you could never quite predict what they would say on any one topic. it was refreshing. gore was very much an intellectual revolutionary. he was out of the left, but he never belonged. he was never a joiner. even though he ran for office, it was never realistic. he would never be able to represent people, he did not have the common touch that way. i think he was more, you know he , was more of a classical figure. i think gore would have been very happy and ancient rome. i think that is where he thought he belonged, as a senator in rome. buckley, it's interesting because he started as a surgeon. -- as an insurgent from the right. starting the national review
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starting firing line. leading a far right movement that brought the republican party to him. i mean, with goldwater in 1964, he brought the republican party into his way of thinking. that beached his ascendancy in the reagan years. buckley and reagan were very much in lockstep. i think that is interesting because buckley was somebody who was interested in being at the center of things. brian: we have a clip of christopher hitchens appearing on bill buckley's public television show firing line. let's watch this and learn from you the impact of firing line. ♪
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>> i don't doubt mr. hitchens that you do not like the american system. i don't think you say conveniently that that which you dislike is exclusively with the republicans. >> we are discussing liberalism. i mentioned george mcgovern. he is not lyndon johnson. say lyndon johnson is a liberal is to stretch it even further. >> anybody who voted for henry wallace and refuses to apologize for it is saying that he was perfectly comfortable with his policies and with his affiliation with stalinism. george mcgovern was a friend of mine who simply declined to apologize for the equivalent of voting for hitler. in 1932. [laughter] brian: that was 1984.
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robert: young christopher hitchens. probably around 30-years-old at the time. brian: you have them in your documentary. why? robert: he was one of the earliest calls we made because he had switched sides in a way. after 9/11, he appeared much more to the right -- he veered much more to the right. we knew he knew each guy infact, when we were beginning this movie, you embark on the these and you are never quite sure if it's a good idea. is what we are seeing in it what other people are seeing? when christopher hitchens answer yes come soon come quick. and then especially after the interview when he waxed poetically and philosophically
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about so much -- so many of these things, he's a great character in the film. we left that interview saying there is definitely a movie to make here. morgan: the one thing i will say is part of what the film is is a lamentation for the loss of a public space on television where people can come together and talk. christopher hitchens said c-span is what's left of that. i will give c-span its props. brian: i have to say it does not look a whole lot different from what we are doing right now. robert: firing along the same thing. it was on tv for 33 years. i think that it wrought people from across the political spectrum and from the arts into a discussion with time like you do to allow people to develop ideas.
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that does not happen anymore. it happens between commercials and you have to hit the salacious stuff. using that, i'm reminded of his technique which is to hammer here and if the opponent begins to give an answer that he doesn't like, hammer over there. it's tough. i do like a more open dialogue. morgan: bill was a master debater. i think that was his first love. he did not want to spend his free time talking about politics. i think he loves the sport. brian: his first guest on to firing line was norman thomas. a socialist. i'm going to make an abrupt change here.
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you have been involved in other documentaries that have had some social impact area will come back to some of this. but first, you did a documentary called johnny cash's america. morgan: he's the right and the left revere. he was deeply religious, he was a family man. at the same time he was an outlaw and an addict. he was so many different things and everybody could see in him some element of what they wanted to see. that was fascinating. in a way, he was one of those public figures that we can all come around together. those are the stories that gather us. brian: you are in memphis, where you involved in this one? robert: yes.
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we made this one together. and i think this new film is an outgrowth of that one. initially, i was a little dubious of the cash one. there has been a lot of movies made about johnny cash. as we got into it, it was a revelation to me that such an icon -- that there were so many layers to this icon. i began to reconsider the dimensions of the icons. when we came upon the the buckley footage, it was good. brian: i think almost everything can be purchased on amazon. let's watch a little bit of johnny cash's america. >> hello, i'm johnny cash.
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>> i hear the train a common area -- train a coming. it's rolling in. >> his america was not red, white, or blue. it was black. >> he appealed to everyone. he went across all the lines. >> i look at the footage of him performing for the president, and how the -- for the prison. and how the inmates did not want to kill him. he showed love and compassion. >> you could almost project onto that big black frame whatever you wanted to.
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>> cash navigated that some of the most contentious issues of our time. >> what did he reflect on to the country? how can one speak his mind without losing his voice? brian: why did you ask chris cooper to do the narration? morgan: great actor. had the great southern voice. had the kind of gravitas we wanted. just watching that clip and being reminded, you have al gore and lamar alexander throwing -- throw in snoop dogg. robert: that was one of the great things about that show. everyone could see themselves reflected in johnny cash. brian: when did he die? 2003?
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robert: not that early i don't think. brian: did you get to talk to him? morgan: never did. robert: we talked to his best friend. brian: what's the background on getting lamar alexander and al gore together? morgan: they both have personal connections. tennessee. and al gore, when he first ran for congress johnny did a campaign event for him. johnny was friends with al's father. brian: there's another documentary. a couple more here. this one goes back to 2003. the muddy waters. this is a clip, it's not from your documentary. what is the impact of muddy waters on the country? robert: i think it his story, you see the entire -- and the
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entire -- a fact of the 20th century told. here's a guy, a black man born in extreme poverty in the mississippi delta, one of the most impoverished parts of the nation. he goes from a house with no electricity to -- makes the great migration from the south to chicago. there he picks up an electric guitar and creates a new sounds. a blend of the electric potential and creates with his band the template for a rock 'n roll band and becomes soon revered by the british explosion people and becomes an icon to the world.
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i think that we get a whole sense of the possibility of america. brian: i love his real name. mckinley morganfield. how did he get muddy waters? morgan: his grandmother. robert: the delta is a very muddy area. it's at the foot of a levee. it was a very wet place, and he would play in the mind and his grandmother called him muddy. brian: let's watch a little, this is from 2003. >> got my mojo. i want to love you so bad.
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got my mojo. i'm going to have all of you women. got my mojo. got my mojo. got my mojo.
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brian: what i want to ask is one of the obvious things, you had whites and blacks in that band. didn't he died in 1970? robert: 1983. brian: i got that date wrong. when he started out, what was the relationship to him from the white society and from the black society?
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robert: across the south at that time, they were more than denigrated, the african-americans. they were more than denigrated they were totally ignored. no birth records, no death records, no marriage records. very few of those kind of things because these people were considered of a culture not worth recording. that's part of the power of the blues and rock 'n roll. this voice of the disenfranchised became the voice of america. brian: when you look back on that, what year did you do it? morgan: 2003. brian: what was the hardest part? morgan: they're all hard in their own ways. that was such a great experience. part of what you just asked about, the white and the black audience is finding him.
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it's really that, muddy being exported to the world. recording to a black blues label and then places like england and bands like the rolling stone discovering this. and finally elevating people like muddy waters who were forgotten in their home countries. and then spotting a whole generation of blues fans. right there, you see muddy integrating his band and kind of broadening the whole exposure to the blues. it was just a pleasure. robert: i remember the good things. we were in a field in mississippi shooting stuff and graphs. it was about shooting stuff in grass. it was chest high. it was morgan's introduction to
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chiggars which are a deeply penetrating bug that itches. brian: what is the impact of documentaries on the political system? morgan: they do have an impact. sometimes they have a very concrete impact. you look at films like the invisible war about rape in the military area and that lead to changes in the military. that would lead to specific changes in policy. they can have a general effect or specific effect. hopefully best of enemies will have a broader cultural impact of talking about how we argue. i think documentary is 3-d journalism. it has never been more revered and watched than right now. there is so much great work being done. people are seeing it more than before. robert: it's exciting because
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documentaries have gone into -- have liberated themselves from the dry format that they held for so long with the voiceover telling you what to think. to become really much more dramatic and better storytelling. brian: how would you describe where documentaries are seen? besides the movie theater, television. morgan: i think the big revolution has been netflix -- has had a huge impact on documentary because they had such a wide array of documentaries and everybody has that service. brian: what do you know about viewership? morgan: they don't disclose those things, but i know
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anecdotally that when they are streaming on netflix, the kind of feedback you get goes up exponentially. people who never knew where to find documentaries suddenly find themselves watching them on places like netflix. that and now expanding into itunes and hulu and on and on area -- on and on. robert: you also have festivals that focus on documentary. this gives people a place to see how the stories are being told. what innovations are being done. brian: back to some of the buckley-vidal thing. this was a 1989 interview. when they are talking about a month other things ronald
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reagan. reagan.let's watch. >> he comes out of hollywood. he is an actor. he was hired by the various wealthy entities that control the united states. he was elected to impersonate a president. he had no interest in the job or the people. he was hired to cut the taxes of the rich and keep the money going to the defense department and every now and then to say the russians are coming. now, we all have been around hollywood, not as long as reagan. ten years less. i've been around about 40 years. he was always a very charming guy, but he was a chatterbox. he could not stop talking. he was one of the most boring men that ever lived. very good at you -- very good at reading cue cards. brian: you work for him?
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morgan: right at that time. brian: what did you see? morgan: that the charming gore. i think that was very much his public persona. i know he had many very close friends. he had an open door for many people. however working for him he had a very difference side -- a very different side of gore. i think he only wanted to show that face the people he considered equals. brian: what was he like working for? morgan: incredibly difficult. mainly because my job as a spectator was to tell him he had gotten all facts slightly wrong. my job was to question him and his authority, and he hated anything that was to be
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questioned. brian: how would he react? morgan: i would hold the phone away for my year as he would greet me. i would knowledge and try to press my point. he was known to be tough on fact checkers and people like that. i would not recommend working for him, but i think being a dinner party guests at his house would've been different. brian: what did you learn about buckley behind-the-scenes? robert: that he was very interested in a wide range of the art and he likes to hang around with liberals off camera. he was very interested -- i think it was about sharpening his own with. he likes to beer -- his own wit. he liked to be around people who thought differently area it was
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a way for him to keep sharp. this is the guy who founded the mainstream right-wing. brian: here's a clip from the second debate. the subject matter is something very similar to what we are hearing today federal spending. >> we must get private enterprise -- i would love to see the american virtue saying this alone can help us in the ghettos with the negroes. they are there to make money. >> the making of money is a way of helping people because it is a way of making good available to people. he made a lot of money, but he also reduce the price of the car. from $5,000 to 5 hundred
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dollars. >> i would say offhand, i'll do it in one line. it has been a great pleasure to observe. >> that was a long line. we must break it off there. brian: that was not from your documentary. what about the -- how much of either one of them had their speech affected on purpose. morgan: the roots of their mid-atlantic attrition accents are interesting. most of buckley's siblings did not have an accident. buckley did attend school in england for a time as a young boy.
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robert: he spoke spanish is his first language. morgan: it's not an accent to be found in nature. brian: what about gore? morgan: i think he founded at exeter where he went to high school. there's footage of him at age 10 speaking and he does not have that accent. by this time he emerges as an author in his late teens, he does have it. brian: in 1982, there was a program -- i'm going to run a clip of this because it's one of the messages you get in watching your documentary area which is how long? robert: hour and a half. brian: this was the beginning of television that was confrontational. here is 1982, john maclachlan. which is another big change in television. >> don't you think we have to break the bonds policy establishment which came in to be because of world war i, world war ii and the korean war?
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>> your actions -- you are exactly right. a lot of these international institutions are going to go if the soviet union threat diminishes. it's going to go naturally. the united states will compete internationally, we will be more competitive with the germans and the japanese get up and defend their own country. >> you lower the defense budget and you spend it on a r&d and infrastructure area and you can use some of it to help other countries so they can trade with us. the best way to help poor country is to cut off foreign aid so the socialist governments will collapse. >> you sound like george wallace talking about the stripes. brian: that was a 1990 clip, but
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it started in 1982. how much influence did the '68 debates have on the change in television? robert: prior to the debates, there was a brodsky -- agronski. five men sitting around the table without at the interchange like that. one would speak at a time. much less confrontational, much more sedate. kind of boring. here, i'm not sure -- we did not see enough to gauge the content. there's a lot of back-and-forth sort of like they do in the wwf when they throw everybody in the it feels kind of like that.
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morgan: i think the debates between buckley and that all definitely open doors for those things. i don't want to put all the credit or blame at their doorstep. it was actually one of those moments that led to this landscape we have today. robert: it cannot be emphasized enough that when they were doing it, the fire that burns was rich old wood. they brought a command of history and philosophy and politics and language to bear on the dialogue. i think the flames may reach the same height today, but it's flash paper. you don't learn the same thing. you just see the fireworks. brian: i want to run one more clip. this is from the best of enemies. before we do that, what surprised you about the coverage you got? morgan: it's one of the stories
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that we felt mattered and when we were making the film, the comment we got the most was does anyone care anymore? is this relevant? we got that over and over and over. now the comment we get more than any other comment is i can't believe how relevant this is. that's music to our ears. brian: what's the surprising reaction you got? robert: the surprise was how long it took people to get on board. as we were trying to get it made. once it's been made, it's been very well received. morgan: by the left and the right. robert: we try to, not necessarily -- just strike a balance but not to take a side. brian: last click. let's watch. >> my brother bill, and he was a conservative right wing libertarian christian. that's what he was. but most of all, bill was a
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revolutionary. >> when the people at abc first approached bill, they asked him would he be willing to be the conservative debater? he said yes he would. they asked him is there anyone you would not go on with and he said a communist and apart from that the only one i can think of is gore vidal. >> men and women who are sexually repressed regard all sexual pleasure as dirty, evil, the devil's work. yet we are all prostitutes in one sense or another, ethically if not sexually. > for buckley, the doll with the devil. -- for buckley, vidal was the devil. brian: his brother is not nearly as well-known as jim buckley the senator. did you ask him to do this?


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