An even match: Gore Vidal vs. William F. Buckley
The obituary for Gore Vidal calls him a "master of talk show punditry who demolished intellectual rivals like Norman Mailer and William F. Buckley with acidic one-liners."
Not sure about Mailer, but Buckley certainly held his own against Vidal.
"Intellectual" is the key word in what Vidal and Buckley did. They had contrasting styles -- Buckley erudite and haughty, Vidal more gritty and witty -- but they both brought keen minds and deep knowledge to the subjects they tossed back and forth between them. They didn't shout and talk over each other as do the puny pundits of broadcasting today. Even at their most acidic, you sensed that they had a respect for each other.
Watching them was informative, enriching and downright fun.
Buckley died in 2008, Vidal on Tuesday. They set a bar for TV talk that no one surpasses today.
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
Postman On Politics