“Somehow Douglas summoned the nerve to invite John Lennon and Yoko Ono to co-host for a week in 1972.”
That comment from a writer at The Nation is typical: snobbish, ignorant and profoundly unfair.
The fact is:
“From the earliest days of the civil rights movement, Douglas featured more black leaders than any other show on national TV, from Stokely Carmichael to Malcolm X to Angela Davis to Jesse Jackson to Martin Luther King to Bobby Seale. He liked people and it showed. He was innately curious. Mike was not a true intellectual, whatever that tired word really means, but he was smart enough to know his own limitations and smart enough to carry on an interesting conversation with just about anyone.”
With uncharacteristic immodesty, Douglas later said:
“On a cumulative basis, we had the most controversial guest list in the history of television. It just didn’t seem that way because we never tried to put anyone on the spot, never forced a confrontation, never asked for trouble. No matter who it was, what they stood for, or what they had to say, we tried to be fair, to give the same unbiased forum to everyone.”
He exaggerates, but that, too, is the point…