Col­umn: PBS Brings Tar and Feath­ers for William F. Buck­ley

Column: PBS Brings Tar and Feathers for William F. Buckley

In the ear­li­er decades of the Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing Ser­vice, con­ser­v­a­tives could feel that they had some frac­tion of a plat­form on William F. Buckley’s Fir­ing Line. That PBS pres­ence no doubt spurred the mak­ers of the Amer­i­can Mas­ters series to offer a two-hour pro­gram titled “The Incom­pa­ra­ble Mr. Buck­ley.” In the open­ing cred­its, they typed in “Insuf­fer­able” first, then crossed it out. That word reflects the view of the polit­i­cal and finan­cial base of PBS.
Fans of Buck­ley might enjoy the video clips of Buck­ley joust­ing with the elites in the 20th cen­tu­ry, but the style of this show was annoy­ing, in that when­ev­er experts were speak­ing, they were entire­ly off-screen. This doc­u­men­tary by Barak Good­man is nei­ther a valen­tine to Buck­ley nor a fair-and-bal­anced recita­tion of his life and times. Con­ser­v­a­tives are …