Remembering 'Bill Buckley'

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Media Institute President Patrick Maines took the opportunity of his introduction of a speech by Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro Thursday to talk briefly, and poigniantly, about his former boss, the late William F. Buckley.

Saying Buckley had been hailed in the hours since his death as a leader of the conservative movement, and rightly so, Maines said he wanted to provide, and felt obliged to provide, a couple of other aspects that probably wouldn’t be talked about and that he knew first-hand as former assistant publisher of National Review.

He said that in the late 1960’s, Maines was concerned that the conservative Review had little advertising, and that he discovered the magazine’s liberal counterpart, The New Republic, was similarly ad-lite and for essentially the same reason: Advertisers were wary of being labeled partisan by their ad buys. Maines proposed to the New Republic, and Buckley took heat for, a joint sales arrangement in which anyone who advertised in both would get 10% off the rate card.

That way if anyone ever complains, he said, the advertisers could say they had advertised in both. "Bill Buckley took some significant criticism for that by some senior editors who saw this as a flirtation with the wrong kind of people," he said.

Maines also said that Buckley had taken heat for a story Maines had written, "Is It True What They Say About the New York Times," that argued that the paper was pretty fair-minded and balanced on its news pages."  Maines said he had to change his telephone number after the story due to death threats.

"So, as you read about Mr. Buckley and his championship of the conservative movement," he said, "the thing that I remember about him is his fairness and the intellectual honesty that he demonstrated at National Review, and in his entire life."