The David Pakman Show
|The David Pakman Show|
|Created by||David Pakman|
|Presented by||David Pakman
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer(s)||David Pakman|
|Running time||Television: 1 hour
Radio: 1 hour
Online: 1 hour (plus 10–15 minute extra for subscribed members)
|Original airing||Television: September 5, 2009
Radio: August 17, 2005
Online: August 17, 2005
|This article may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. (October 2012)|
The David Pakman Show (TDPS), originally Midweek Politics with David Pakman, is a multiplatform politics and news talk show currently airing on radio, television, and the Internet, hosted by David Pakman. The program first aired in August 2005 on WXOJ-LP ("Valley Free Radio"), located in Northampton, Massachusetts, achieving national syndication on the Pacifica Radio network, and eventually achieving broader international distribution in Canada, Mexico, and Ghana. The show offers uncensored content through a paid membership program, with behind the scenes discussions of guests and breaking the fourth wall.
- 1 History
- 2 Format
- 3 Content
- 4 Website hacking
- 5 Lexicon
- 6 Press
- 7 References
- 8 External links
David Pakman was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to an Eastern European and Jewish family, and moved to the United States at the age of 5. He started the radio program at age 21 on Pacifica radio affiliate WXOJ while an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, during his time as an intern at the Media Education Foundation. Public radio syndication began in 2006 on the Pacifica Radio Network through Vivid Edge Media Group. Initially, a handful of non-commercial talk radio stations broadcast the show with syndication.
The show expanded in 2007 to more public radio stations. The same year, Louis Motamedi, a childhood friend of Pakman's, was added as radio producer.
In 2009, TDPS achieved its first commercial radio affiliates, starting with Green 1640 in Atlanta, Georgia and WHMP Northampton, Massachusetts. On September 2, Midweek Politics, a simultaneously-produced television show, was launched, originally offered to public-access television stations across the country as well as published on the show's YouTube Channel. The number of television affiliates grew and Pakman attributed this to expanding from radio to a visual medium.
In 2010, TDPS launched a paid membership program maintaining the podcast at no charge, but offering subscribers extra show segments, behind-the-scenes interviews, and access to show archives. In July of that year, the show obtained national television distribution through Free Speech TV. The show's first international affiliate, Öppna Kanalen Skövde in Skövde, Sweden, announced in September that it would be airing the program. At the same time, the show was moved from WXOJ to its own studio in Northampton, Massachusetts, for both the radio and television versions. The name was changed to The David Pakman Show (TDPS), expanding from a weekly program to two episodes per week, broadcast live on Mondays and Thursdays at 3pm Eastern Standard Time.
In January 2011, public access station Medford Community Cablevision, Inc., known for its controversial programming, announced that TDPS would be added to its 2011-2012 schedule.
On March 12, 2012, TDPS announced an expansion to four episodes per week, Monday-Thursday, and a move to an earlier live broadcast time, 2pm EST. The same year, the show joined Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian on The Young Turks YouTube streaming channel. New content and video versions of existing radio programming were produced, including Liberal Oasis Radio Show hosted by blogger Bill Scher, Take Action News with David Shuster, television journalist, and World View with Denis Campbell, Editor-in-Chief of UK Progressive Magazine. As of October 2013, only Word View with Dennis Campbell was being actively produced by TDPS.
In August 2013, The David Pakman Show moved from Northampton, Massachusetts to New York City, where the program's main studio is housed. Concurrently, producer Louis Motamedi moved to Austin, Texas, where he launched the Austin bureau of The David Pakman Show. Motamedi's role on the program remained unchanged, including serving as co-host, producer, and host of the members only Bonus Show.
In September 2013, Free Speech TV moved The David Pakman show to 11pm eastern time on weekdays.
TDPS is made up of both live and pre-recorded interviews, clips from television and radio programs related to politics and current events, segments with correspondents on the street and in public, and other specially produced segments. Starting in 2008, alternative energy, business, religious zealotry, infidelity among politicians, and a number of ancillary themes have become prevalent in the programming, often featuring Pakman in an adversarial role with conservative religious extremists, which have been the center of controversy since their inclusion in the program.
Midweek Politics is generally considered a progressive/liberal talk radio program, although it rarely falls in line with the traditional liberal positions on many issues, primarily related to Israel and Palestine, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Pakman and Midweek Politics are strong supporters of same-sex marriage a topic which often has become adversarial with guests on the program. Additionally, a strong support for the scientific position on evolution and a rebuking of literal Bible interpreters who believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old have created conflict with guests on the program. Pakman has regularly indicated that the more outrageous, extreme guests are not only interesting to interview, but create the most interest and engagement on behalf of the audience.
Pacifica affiliation controversy
Although Pacifica Radio is criticized by many Jewish groups for perceived anti-Israel bias, Pakman, who is Jewish, has long stated that on issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Midweek Politics is not in line with the general Pacifica viewpoint. Although Pakman generally has stated in interviews and on the program that the difference of opinion has not caused conflict, he did more recently indicated that at least one station had dropped Midweek Politics from its schedule for being too "pro-Israel". At the same time, Pakman has indicated on the program that stations have both stopped carrying or decided not to start carrying the program due to its progressive nature.
Racist perennial political candidate Glenn Miller appeared on Midweek Politics on April 28, 2010 in what was one of the most controversial interviews to that point in the history of the program. Miller repeated anti-Semitic statements and espoused a number of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, including control over media and government. Additionally, he referred to host David Pakman as a "Jew liar" and "Kike-a-Like" during the interview. Miller also stated that Adolf Hitler was a "great man" and similarly expressed disappointment that Hitler had not ultimately succeeded in the Holocaust. Video and podcast versions of the interview spread virally throughout the internet garnering varied reaction, ranging from those who found the interview comical and entertaining, to those who were offended, and even a contingent who believed Pakman was wrong to have Miller on the program and should be removed from the air.
On the following program, Pakman commented on the uproar and controversy, indicating the notion that people like Miller go away if they do not get on media outlets is false, and that from his point of view, the interview was a success. Pakman attributed this success to Miller being "ridiculed across the internet and on the radio".
Peter LaBarbera was a guest on the program on July 28, 2010. During the interview, LaBarbera stated numerous times that Pakman's producer should have told him Pakman's position on the issue of gay rights in advance of his appearance, a suggestion that Pakman refuted. This caused controversy, including being the center of a discussion on Sirius XM's The Michelangelo Signorile Show.
In later programs, Pakman has mentioned that LaBarbera personally emailed him later to insist that Pakman was dishonest by not telling him advance about his position on gay rights. During the interview, LaBarbera also discussed his regular trips to gay fetish events, including leather events, and indicated that his group, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality is a "pro-family" organization.
During an interview with Paul Cameron, the anti-gay psychologist and sex researcher, Cameron made a number of comments, among these were the suggestion that homosexuality was equivalent to drug abuse, that homosexuals were addicted to homosexual activity in a way different from heterosexual, and cited a study conducted by his own Family Research Institute which reported that gays and lesbians in the military are far more likely to rape or sexually abuse fellow soldiers.
An interview with Richard A. Clarke aired on Midweek Politics on May 5, 2010. During the interview Clarke made a number of statements about the Bush-Cheney administration which were the subject of controversy. Referring to Dick Cheney's comments that President Barack Obama, Clarke indicating that Cheney was "baiting" for a terrorist attack to be later blamed on Obama. He also stated that "what Dick Cheney is doing is the political equivalent of a hedge fund. He is buying a bet that there will be a terrorist attack in the US, and if there is one, he wants it to benefit him and his party politically." He also described it as "the most pandering, partisan, despicable kind of activity."
Westboro Baptist Church
Appearances on Midweek Politics by members of the Westboro Baptist Church, known for their "God Hates Fags" slogan and protests, date back to October 4, 2006, when Jonathan Phelps, son of Fred Phelps, was interviewed in a segment involving ad hominem attacks from Phelps directed at Pakman and the show's producer and co-host, Louis Motamedi. Among the many claims made by Phelps was the statement that all homosexuals in the US should be put to death. Homosexuality was blamed by Phelps as the cause of numerous nationwide and worldwide problems in which the United States is involved. Additionally, Phelps threatened to "end this pretense of an interview" when the idea that Phelps' church's views were based on one of many Bible interpretations, as opposed to the only interpretation, was suggested by Pakman. Phelps stayed on the phone until the completion of the interview.
The most well known member and public face of the Westboro Baptist Church, Shirley Phelps-Roper, was interviewed on Midweek Politics three times following her brother Jonathan's interview. During one interview, Phelps-Roper denied that homosexuality in animals was a concern of hers, and said that her church protested Heath Ledger's memorial service because he "taught rebellion to this generation" by playing a homosexual character in the movie Brokeback Mountain.
During the following interview, Phelps-Roper called Massachusetts a "state of rabid perverts", presumably based on Massachusetts' landmark legalization of gay marriage. Phelps-Roper added that that Jews not accepting Jesus Christ as their savior, including Pakman, the host of Midweek Politics, would be going to hell as a result of having "killed, murdered, and rejected" Jesus Christ. Further, she accused Pakman of being a "bad fig."
On March 10, 2010, Phelps-Roper commented on the Supreme Court case involving free speech and the church, and indicated that Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg "seems almost senile." The interview went viral due to the incendiary nature and content. In the same interview, Phelps-Roper, in discussing whether it was worse, in her opinion, to be Jewish or homosexual, indicated that she "wants the Jew to be a fag."
After the interview, show producers published a press release related to the interview which misquoted Phelps-Roper. The press release indicated that she said she would tell the Supreme Court to "drink a tall frosty mug of shut the hell up" in relation to the pending free speech trial, while in reality, she had predicted the Court would tell the plaintiff in the case to "drink a tall frosty mug of shut the hell up." Pakman admitted their mistake in the following broadcast, and said they had retracted the press release.
On September 10, 2010, Phelps-Roper was on the show to discuss her church's planned burning of the Quran on the upcoming anniversary of the September 11 attacks in light of Dove World Outreach Center's Terry Jones conceding that he would not burn Quran's on 9/11 as originally planned. Phelps-Roper claimed that "Mohammad was a pedophile", was critical of Terry Jones, and also was asked to address questions from Pakman's audience relating to the markedly infrequent blinking observed of Phelps-Roper during numerous television interviews.
In December 2010, Pakman interviewed Nathan Phelps, the most public of the former members. He said that beatings occurred to the kids and his mother. He also recounts the other family members who either left, returned by force to the church, or returned on their own. Nate stated that the last contact with any practicing members was 1985 but he keeps in contact with those who left the church. In a rare statement, he recounted the 10 month return to the church in 1978.
On February 24, 2011, hacktivists successfully took Westboro Baptist Church's websites down during an on-air confrontation, explaining during the act that they were placing a message at "downloads dot westboro baptist church". During the interview, Anonymous indicated that previous denial of service attacks were the work of The Jester, but the hacking incident taking place during the interview was the work of Anonymous During the live confrontation between Phelps-Roper and a spokesman for Anonymous, Phelps-Roper claimed that Anonymous could not "stop God's message" even if they were to try. In response, Anonymous seized control of one of Westboro's subdomains.
Christian homeschooling controversy
On March 17, 2010, during an interview with Christian homeschooling advocate Mike McHugh, Pakman questioned McHugh about the validity of constructing an entire curriculum around the story of Jesus Christ, referring to the virgin birth, death, and resurrection associated with Jesus, which resulted in McHugh indicating that he was "offended" by the question, and refusing to answer. Pakman indicated that he did not find the question offensive, and listeners indicated it was not the question, but the tone of the question, that could be interpreted as offensive. The interview continued, with McHugh clearly altered by the exchange. During followup, Pakman indicated rather than backing down from the question, in retrospect he would have preferred to push McHugh on "just what was offensive about the question."
Former Presidential candidate and activist Ralph Nader was long known for stating that, with regard to the 2000 presidential election, both George W. Bush and Al Gore were essentially the same, and that it would make no difference which candidate was elected. While Nader maintained that position for some time, in an interview on Midweek Politics he made what some consider to be the first direct statement that while Bush and Gore have very similar positions on a plurality of issues, "no one would have mangled the situation (war) in Iraq the way that George W. Bush did as President.
Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt
Former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, known for his anti-gay positions, who was honorably discharged from the Navy after refusing an order not to appear in uniform at political events to "pray in Jesus' name," has been a guest on TDPS multiple times. During a notable appearance, Klingenschmitt debated Jonathan Phelps, of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church. The interview drew media coverage  as a result of both Klingenschmitt and Westboro being known as anti-gay, but not agreeing on any of the reasons why being gay is a bad thing.
Pakman has been criticized by both traditional liberals as well as religious conservatives for his position on free speech, specifically as applied to Howard Stern and censorship. On September 27, 2006, Pakman specifically defended Stern, the Sirius Satellite Radio business, the success of Stern's show to date, and stated that he believes the type of ideology stated by Rush Limbaugh and other talk radio hosts is equally or more offensive than the type of content censored when Stern's show was on terrestrial radio. The comment was seen as an attack by both liberals and religious conservatives, both being offended by Stern's show for different reasons.
On May 5, 2010, a clip of Midweek Politics was mentioned and played by Stern on the air involving an ongoing joke on the Howard Stern Show to which Pakman referred on Midweek Politics.
2006 election and Deval Patrick
During the leadup to the 2006 mid-term election, Pakman had more than one run-in with Massachusetts Governor-election Deval Patrick on the issue of polling. During an August 23, 2006 interview, Patrick was reluctant to admit that the Democratic candidate who would go on to win the primary in September was in a strong position to win in the general election in November, although the polls were overwhelmingly pointing in that direction.
This issue was brought up again in person by Pakman at an October 3, 2006 debate at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. At this point, Patrick had already won the Democratic primary and was, according to some polls,[who?] more than 30 points ahead of the second place Republican Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. When asked if he would finally admit to having some comfort in his lead, Patrick explained that "he doesn't always trust the polls." When asked by Pakman whether or not Healey should be worried that she is more than 30 points down, Patrick shrugged the question off by asking "is it now that much?" and moving on to another reporter's question.
Shortly after the April 28, 2010 broadcast, visitors to the then-called Midweek Politics website began to observe that the site was not functioning properly, and sometimes was inaccessible altogether. Additionally, associated podcasts and ancillary content also functioned only sporadically. Audience members suggested on internet forums the possibility that there had been some type of sabotage of the website. On May 9, 2010, the website went down altogether, completely disappearing from the internet. In the later part of May 10, 2010, the website came back on in a limited way, with a message indicating that there had been malicious attempts made on the site, including denial of service attacks. By May 11, 2010, much of the website was back in place.
On the May 12, 2010 broadcast of Midweek Politics, Pakman announced that the website had indeed been in the target of unknown deliberate malicious attacks starting immediately after the April 28, 2010 broadcast. Pakman did not indicate the specifics of who was suspected to be involved, but said a more detailed investigation was underway, and alluded to a connection between a guest on the program between April 28 and May 12. Guests appearing on Midweek Politics during that time include former Governor Jesse Ventura, racist Senate candidate Glenn Miller, Congressmann Dennis Kucinich, and terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke.
Based on audience emails and comments, certain words and phrases have become part of what is casually known as the David Pakman Show lexicon. Websites have sprung up cataloging some of the common words and phrases used on the program. The most known examples are the phrase "any number of," and alleged overuse of the terms "compelling" and "fascinating."
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