The David Pakman Show
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|The David Pakman Show|
|Created by||David Pakman|
|Country of origin||United States|
The David Pakman Show (TDPS), originally Midweek Politics with David Pakman, is a multi-platform politics and news talk show currently airing on television, radio, and the Internet, hosted by David Pakman. The program first aired in August 2005 on WXOJ, a radio station located in Northampton, Massachusetts, later being nationally syndicated, and eventually achieving broader international distribution in a number of countries, as well as online. The focus of the show is modern American politics and society, with frequent discussion of economics, religion in public life, culture, reason, gay rights, capital punishment and crime, policing, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, American foreign policy, technology, and other topical issues. The show is noted for interviewing a large number of fringe, or "extremist" personalities in an effort to expose their views, in addition to hundreds of interviews with professors, scientists, lawmakers, and others
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 version of 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, Inc., the production company for TDPS. Initially, a handful of non-commercial talk radio stations broadcast the show in syndication.
The show expanded in 2007 to more public radio stations. Pakman was for a time the youngest syndicated radio host in the United States. The same year, Louis Motamedi, a childhood friend of Pakman's, was added as radio producer.
In 2009, TDPS added 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. Pakman's brother, Natan Pakman, became the program's television director in September 2009.
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 2010 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 March 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 The Young Turks network, although it has since left the network. 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, and as of January 2014, TDPS stopped all production of ancillary content.
In August 2013, the show moved from Greenfield, Massachusetts to New York City, where the program's main studio was housed until May 2015. 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 2014 the show expanded to a full 5 shows/week.
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. Pakman has said that the show is a "cross between Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, and Rachel Maddow."
TDPS is a progressive/left-wing/liberal talk radio program, although according to Pakman it notably does not follow what he characterizes as the typically pro-Palestinian view of progressive media in relation to Israel and Palestine, and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Additionally, the program has been critical of overbearing political correctness and the negative impact that it can have on productive political discourse.
Pakman and TDPS 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, and that he often interviews people who "would be classified as 'extremists.'" This has led to criticism, for example from Arthur Chu that he is indulging in sensationalistic "clickbaiting" and giving attention and a platform to people who otherwise would not have one. Pakman has argued that interviewing "extremists" exposes their opinions to the public, putting them on record, and that he does not simply give them a "platform" to express their views without balance.
Racist perennial political candidate Glenn Miller appeared on Midweek Politics on April 28, 2010. 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".
On April 13, 2014, Miller was arrested as the prime suspect in the Overland Park Jewish Community Center shooting. This arrest led to a frenzy of media interest, seeing Pakman and the original interview featured on CNN, HLN with both Nancy Grace and Dr. Drew, The Huffington Post, The Boston Herald, The Alan Colmes Show, Mother Jones, Raw Story, Democracy Now, WGGB40, The Randi Rhodes Show, and Minneapolis radio station AM950 Miller was later found guilty of capital murder, and was sentenced to death by lethal injection.
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.
Westboro Baptist Church
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church have been interviewed many times on the show, including one incident in which Jake "Topiary" Davis, a representative of the Anonymous internet collective, announced a live attack on the church's website during a group interview with WBP Spokesperson Shirley Phelps-Roper.
Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt
Former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, known for his anti-gay positions, who was honorably but involuntarily discharged from the military after a court-martial proceeding for 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. Klingenschmitt is also known for his efforts to shut down the YouTube channel of one of his most vocal critics, Right Wing Watch, which uses video clips of his statements.
Starting in October 2014, Pakman conducted a series of interviews with people involved in Gamergate, a controversy in video game culture. People interviewed included game commentator John Bain, better known as TotalBiscuit, 8chan owner Fredrick Brennan and game developer Brianna Wu, among others.
Shortly after the April 28, 2010 broadcast, visitors to the show's website began to observe that the site was not functioning properly, and sometimes was inaccessible altogether. Denial of service attacks continued, eventually taking the site offline for two days. On the May 12, 2010 broadcast, 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, Senate candidate Glenn Miller, Congressmann Dennis Kucinich, and terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke.
On January 24, 2013 Pakman came to realize that he had been identified in the documentary film Minnesota Nice as a gay teenager who had committed suicide. Pakman clarified this in a YouTube video, indicating that he was not gay, a teenager, nor dead.
On the April 15, 2014 edition of HLN's Dr Drew On Call, Pakman was identified as former Neo-Nazi and KKK member Frank Meeink. Pakman was scheduled to be interviewed later on during that program.
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