James Kilpatrick: The Pop Behind “Point/Counterpoint”

Conservative columnist James Kilpatrick, who died on Sunday, was best known on TV for one half of the “Point/Counterpoint” segments on “60 Minutes.” The brief debates he had with Shana Alexander set the stage for CNN’s “Crossfire,” which then set the stage for the shoutfests of today.

Kilpatrick’s biggest contribution to pop culture was inadvertent: The “Point/Counterpoint” segments were overshadowed by their “Saturday Night Live” parody, in which Dan Ackroyd debated Jane Curtin, usually diminishing into a series of personal jabs including the most famous among them, “Jane, you ignorant slut.” It was over-the-top — and not too far from today’s real cable matchups.

Here’s one of the better “SNL” clips, in which Ackroyd and Curtain debate the Lee Marvin/Michelle Triola palimony trial of 1979.


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