Midweek Politics with David Pakman is a radio, internet, and television political talk show hosted by David Pakman, currently airing on a combination of commercial and public radio stations, including Pacifica Radio stations, on public access television stations nationwide, via internet podcast and on YouTube. The program first aired in August 2005 on WXOJ-LP ("Valley Free Radio"), located in Northampton, Massachusetts, and has since been syndicated on the Pacifica Radio network[1].

Midweek Politics is a political talk program, known for controversial interviews with political and religious extremists, liberal and conservative politicians, and other types of guests. Midweek Politics has been involved in a number of controversies involving homophobic and racist guests. The program focuses on the politics and news of the day, technology and energy development, business, religion and other topics. Midweek Politics airs on both radio and television affiliates around the US and across the world.

Midweek Politics is hosted by David Pakman, who holds an MBA from Bentley University and an undergraduate degree in economics and communication from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst[2].


[hide]*1 History

[edit] HistoryEdit

While an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, during his time as an intern at the Media Education Foundation, David Pakman started to produce a local version of Midweek Politics on WXOJ, the then-new Pacifica Radio affiliate whose license was at the time held by the non-profit Media Education Foundation. The program focused on national politics from its inception, and was initially made available only to Pacifica Radio Network affiliate stations. Immediate interest from few but important affiliates spread around the US, and as the production value and notability of guests of the show rose, affiliates continued to add the program to their schedules. Broader public radio syndication followed.

In 2007, Midweek Politics added Louis Motamedi, childhood friend of Pakman, as radio producer. This expanded the program further, allowing for a wider variety of programming, more well-known guests, and live phone calls, and generally improved the production value of the show, which was until that point a one-person operation.

In 2010, Midweek Politics launched a membership program[3], maintaining the long-time free podcast at no charge, but offering audience members additional content in a freemium model, including extra show segments, behind the scenes interviews, and access to show archives.

[edit] Radio syndicationEdit

Public radio syndication began in 2006 on the Pacifica Radio Network through Vivid Edge Media Group, the production company for Midweek Politics. Initially, a handful of non-commercial talk radio station started to broadcast the show, which as of May 12, 2010 airs on 40 radio stations, including internet radio networks/stations (television stations counted separately). During 2007, public radio syndication expanded to all public radio stations, regardless of Pacifica affiliation.

During 2009, Midweek Politics achieved its first commercial radio affiliates, starting with Green 1640 in Atlanta, Georgia and WHMP in Midweek Politics' broadcast home of Northampton, Massachusetts, where it previously aired only on public radio stations.

[edit] Television syndicationEdit

On September 2, 2009, Midweek Politics was launched as a simultaneously produced television program, originally offered to public-access television stations across the country, and also published on the Midweek Politics YouTube Channel. Distributing through both YouTube and FTP servers, the program rapidly grew the number of television affiliates to 40 as of May 12, 2010.[4]

[edit] FormatEdit

"Midweek Politics" is made up of both live and 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.

[edit] ContentEdit

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.

David Pakman and Midweek Politics are strong supporters of same-sex marriage and the right to access safe and legal abortions, both of which are positions that often become adversarial with guests on the program[5][6][7] Additionally, a strong belief in 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.[8] 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[9][10]

[edit] Pacifica affiliation controversyEdit

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[11]. 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.

[edit] Glenn MillerEdit

Racist perennial political candidate Glenn Miller appeared on Midweek Politics on April 28, 2010[12] 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.[13][14]

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."[15][16]

[edit] Paul CameronEdit

During an interview with Paul Cameron,[17], the controversial anti-gay psychologist and sex researcher, Cameron made a number of comments which have been the subject of question and criticism. 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.

Numerous blogs[18] and websites[19], including the Huffington Post[20] reported on the interview, as did gay culture and gay rights websites/blogs[21].

[edit] Richard ClarkeEdit

An interview with Richard A. Clarke aired on Midweek Politics on May 5, 2010[22]. 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 state 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."[23][24]

The statements and interview spread quickly throughout the internet, becoming the subject of much discussion and controversy among both liberals and conservatives.

[edit] Westboro Baptist ChurchEdit

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[25] in what 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.

Midweek Politics host, David Pakman was also criticized for the Jonathan Phelps interview for not being sufficiently critical and confrontational with Phelps and his statements, who was once brought up on a variety of criminal charges stemming from information gathered following a raid of the Westboro Baptist Church. In follow up interviews and programs, Pakman defended the interview by saying that it "should go without saying that he did not agree with Phelps," and that he has condemned the church on the program in the past. In addition, he said that "because interviews with members of Westboro members often turn into unproductive shouting matches, letting Phelps speak would allow listeners to hear the heinous nature of the church and their views, digging his own hole."

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[26]. 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 Massachusetts' landmark legalization of gay marriage. Phelps-Roper added that that Jews not accepting Jesus Christ as their savior, including David 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."

In the most recent interview on March 10, 2010, Shirley 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."[27]

After the interview, show producers published a press release related to the interview which misquoted Shirley Phelps-Roper. The press release indicated that Phelps-Roper had 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, Phelps-Roper 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.

[edit] Christian homeschooling controversyEdit

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, sarcastically 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. [28][29][30]. 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."[31][32]

[edit] Ralph NaderEdit

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[33].

[edit] Howard SternEdit

Pakman has been criticized by both traditional liberals as well as religious conservatives for his support of 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.

[edit] 2006 election and Deval PatrickEdit

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.

[edit] Website HackingEdit

Shortly after the April 28, 2010 broadcast[34], visitors to the 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[35], 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.

[edit] AffiliatesEdit

The following list of affiliates may not be 100% complete, or 100% up to date, and is based on the list found on the Midweek Politics website[36]

[edit] Radio affiliatesEdit

[edit] Internet affiliatesEdit

[edit] Television affiliatesEdit

[edit] GuestsEdit

Following is a partial list of guests on the program:

[edit] CreditsEdit

The show is hosted by David Pakman executive produced by David Pakman, and produced by Louis Motamedi and Natan Pakman at Valley Free Radio WXOJ in Northampton, Massachusetts in partnership with Northampton Community Television.

[edit] PressEdit

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.