Did you see Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia explain how he would advise a niece who was date raped? Or the mayor of Atlanta say how he'd deal with an Ebola scare? Or Dan Rather admit that fear of competition affects sound journalistic judgement in every newsroom?
If you had been watching the unique series of programs created by television pioneer Fred W. Friendly, you would have seen these and hundreds of other moments unimaginable in most other public-affairs programs: moments in which participants were forced to put their talking points aside, and put their principles to the test in gripping dilemmas drawn from real life.
Since they began on television in 1981, the Seminars have probed a broad spectrum of national and international issues and have won every major broadcasting award.
The Seminars feature a panel that represents virtually every outlook on the issue at hand. The participants are assigned roles in what Fred Friendly called "the hypothetical" - a situation that brings the issue down to human scale. By introducing twists and turns in the hypothetical story line, a moderator forces the panelists to take a hard look at their own beliefs and listen to the points of view of those who disagree. As panelists wrestle with the hypothetical, the drama created helps the audience to consider the issues in all their complexity.