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An ’Aria’ of Anti-Gay Guests :: EDGE Chats with David Pakman

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Oct 7, 2010

David Pakman is one of the youngest--if not the youngest--syndicated talk radio hosts on the air. He's the host, as well as the executive producer, of a weekly radio program called Midweek Politics, and for someone of his tender years--he's 26--he's already racked up an impressive array of anti-gay guests.

In fact, Pakman has chatted with so many opponents of gays, gay equality, and gay family parity, that he's been able to assemble a video clip, now posted at YouTube, of highlights from his conversations with the likes of Shirley Phelps-Roper, Paul Cameron, Peter LaBarbera, and Pastor Terry "Burn A Qu'ran" Jones. Set to music, the clips play like an aria of anti-gay venom--sometimes, operatically enough, veering into the realm of the lunatic. (Is that a soprano hitting a glass-shattering note, or merely Phelps-Roper shrieking, "I want the Jew to be a fag!!"?)

But Pakman hasn't become jaded or bilious; rather, he leavens his hour-long program with liberal--excuse the pun--doses of humor. What's more, his remarks are always articulate, and delivered with a tart wit poised between levity and mild outrage.

"I love it," Pakman told audiences during a segment in which he reported on the rent boy scandal that erupted around Family Research Council co-founder and avid anti-gay activist George Rekers. "There is nothing funnier to me than when anti-gay activists who make a career out of making life difficult and less enjoyable for homosexuals get caught with a male prostitute."

Or how about the segment in which Pakman took on Target? As it happens, Target's contribution to anti-gay politician Tom Emmer, who is seeking the governor's office in Minnesota, is far from a one-time deal; nor does to seem to be the case--as Target spun the story--that the $100,000 donation to right-wing group MN Forward, which funneled cash to Emmer, was a matter of funding politicians who are business-friendly (and who only incidentally happen to be anti-gay). As Pakman pointed out on his program, Target's CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, has given money to other right-wing politicians, including Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and has ties to anti-gay group Focus on the Family.

On his show, Pakman noted that, "On Proposition 8, Target did donate to both sides to appear to be unbiased, but they gave almost five times as much to oppose marriage equality than to support it." Pakman continued, "Steinhafel sent his daughter to Wheaton College, a Christian institution where being gay will get you expelled. And also, the younger Steinhafel was a student at Focus on the Family Institute... I think if you believe Target [made its contribution to Emmer] because of economic growth, you are vastly mistaken."

Pakman has also played host to commentators from opposite side of the political fence, as when he had writer and researcher Abbie Goldberg--a proponent of family parity--in his studio to engage Tom McClusky, VP of Government Affairs Family Research Council, on a discussion of the verdict by federal judge Vaughn Walker that found Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional.

With Pakman's track record in mind, EDGE put the young radio host in the interviewer's seat to ask him about his show, his views, and why he's a friend to the GLBT community.

Next: Pakman Chats with EDGE


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