Focus on the Family: in the spotlight for unhappy reasons

James Dobson.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Focus on the Family plans to lay off or reassign 46 workers due to planned changes in the way it distributes its merchandise. That's not a huge number, given Focus's overall workforce of 1,200, and neither is it unprecedented; as the Gazette piece points out, Focus laid off or reassigned about the same number of employees in September 2007. More significant is the fact that this is among the first times the outfit has made mainstream headlines since top dog James Dobson's will-he-or-won't-he gamesmanship over endorsing John McCain, which finally was resolved after Sarah Palin was named the Republicans' veep candidate.

Why has Dobson had such a tough time earning face time of late?

Quite simply, the rush of events throughout the month of September, including the ongoing financial turmoil, has pushed the sort of culture-war issues on which Dobson feeds to the back of the line. Suddenly there are more important matters commanding the media's attention than Dobson's feverish contention that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama interprets the Bible a leetle differently than he does.

Unless this situation changes in an enormous way over the next several weeks (which doesn't seem likely), Dobson won't be able to attract the focus of many families, with the exception of those whose members once drew a paycheck from his organization but no longer will. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts