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Group blames James Dobson honor for troubles at Museum of Broadcast Communications

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Our October 24 blog "Protesters Don't Want Focus on the Family's James Dobson in Radio Hall of Fame" told the tale of DumpDobson.com, a website that decried the planned induction of JD in the Chicago-based Museum of Broadcast Communications' National Radio Hall of Fame. These efforts failed, and Dobson was enshrined. But now the Museum is being forced to sell its half-finished headquarters building -- and Truth Wins Out, an organization affiliated with the aforementioned campaign, believes the Dobson nod was a factor in the Hall's downturn.

"Museum of Broadcast Communications to Sell Building," from the industry publication Radio Ink, makes no mention of Dobson in its report on the situation. The article instead points the finger at embattled Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who initially promised aid that never materialized, then withdrew his support entirely when the museum received a bridge loan from a donor with Republican ties. But that's not the viewpoint offered by Truth Wins Out in a press release on the topic titled "Radio Hall of Fame Craters a Month After It Inducts James Dobson Amid Protests." The text reads:

A month after protesters picketed its annual dinner for inducting Focus on the Family's James Dobson into its Radio Hall of Fame, the Chicago-based Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) announced today that it was selling its half-finished building.

"It is with deep regret that I announce the MBC board on December 10th voted to sell its half-finished building at State and Kinzie in downtown Chicago," said Bruce DuMont, Founder, President and CEO of the MBC. "This is a very disappointing development."

"Pandering to extremists doesn't pay and the Museum of Broadcast Communications suffered a catastrophic blow to its reputation by honoring Focus on the Family's James Dobson," said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out (TWO). "Bruce DuMont hoped to cash in by catering to the deep pockets of the religious right, but his prayers weren't answered. Truth Wins Out wants to thank the hundreds of people who came out to protest in freezing weather -- your efforts and determination paid off. We also thank those who donated to our efforts and wrote letters to pressure the Radio Hall of Fame."

When the nomination of Dobson was announced, TWO teamed up with the Gay Liberation Network and launched www.DumpDobson.com to keep Dobson out of the Radio Hall of Fame. These robust efforts culminated in a full-page "Dump Dobson" ad in the Chicago Tribune, signature ads in the GLBT media and a large demonstration outside of the awards dinner at Chicago's Renaissance Hotel.

"Ignoring protests from many quarters, DuMont forged ahead with the Dobson honor, likely hoping that bigotry bucks from the far right wing would flow into his coffers," said Gay Liberation Network co-founder Bob Schwartz. "Happily, this hope is apparently now dashed."

DuMont blamed his woes on alleged broken promises by Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the economic downturn. He did not point out that his project lost momentum after it became mired in controversy by cozying up to Dobson, says TWO.

"I can understand the temptation to pin the blame on Blagojevich, as he is not too popular these days," said Besen. "But DuMont should take responsibility and admit that his project lost its luster and foundered after he chose to bronze the bigotry of James Dobson."

There's some self-interest involved in Truth Wins Out's take; the release sent to Westword included a "Donate Online: Click Here" button directly beneath this missive. Then again, give the group credit for finding a way to make Dobson seem like an even greater pariah than Blagojevich. That's taking spin to a whole new level. -- Michael Roberts

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