Yasmin Nair

James Dobson and the National Radio Hall of Fame

Filed By Yasmin Nair | September 01, 2008 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: James Dobson, National Radio Hall of Fame

James Dobson has been inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame here in Chicago, and it's caused some controversy. I wrote an opinion piece for Windy City Times this last week, and thought I'd share it here. I'm curious to know what people think about the issue. Link to the article is above and below the excerpt...

...I don't care for James Dobson but because I grew up, in a fashion, in Indiana, where his type abounds; I learned the useful trick of tuning out fundamentalists. So the recent fracas over Dobson's induction is a good reminder of the anti-gay poison he spreads. But I'm baffled about this call to rescind his induction....

.... Dobson isn't being honored for his anti-gay message. He's being honored for having "distinguished himself at the national level," according to Bruce DuMont's letter to Windy City Times. The vague wording indicates the nature of the institution. There's a reason why it's not called the Hall of Noteworthy Work and Clear and Discernible Influence. A "hall of fame," by its very nature, can do no more than reflect the politics and temperament of its nominating and voting body at a given period of time. A lot of amazing people get nominated to Halls of Fame, and just as many are questionable. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame began in 1986, but only got around to inducting the seminal Velvet Underground in 1996. The Velvet Underground, people. Don't even get me started on that one.....

....have we already forgotten what it's like to have the results of an election overturned?

For the entire article, see "James Dobson and the National Radio Hall of Fame."

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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | September 1, 2008 9:25 AM

Yasmin, as I recall it (unless it has moved) the Museum of Broadcast Communications is located in the former downtown branch of the Chicago Public Library. It is still city owned. Would Daley have guts enough to intervene do you believe?

Of course, by intervening we give the hatemonger another media story. They are always so happy to be hated by us. Picket, go to Millenium Park or shop at Macy's. The Park. Thanks for your posting.

How about an award for pro-fascist radio host Fr Coughlin from the 1930's?

A recognition of the fine work with radio by Dr, Joseph Goebbels as well?

Not much difference in my mind....

Dobson would be to Stearn what the inti-christ would be to jesus.Either way they all have a place in history.I hope by including Dobson that one day those in the future will be able to learn the signs to watch for.

Time named Hitler "Man of the Year." I don't think there is any rational voice suggesting that Hitler didn't have an impact.

While Dobson is not an analog for Hitler, he has made an impact on broadcasting and by extension culture. I think we hide that impact at our own peril.

Hi Robert,

Thanks for reading and responding. The MBC used to be in the Chicago Cultural Center. It's currently being rebuilt at State and Kinzie Streets. I doubt that Daley will be intervening, but this is Chicago where politics frequently takes interesting twists and turns - so who knows :-)

Regarding other comments: I think there's something to be said for noting what someone does as opposed to pretending that they don't exist (even if they exert influence). I'm not sure that was the explicit purpose here, but it's definitely an effect of the induction (bringing Dobson's politics to light). Thanks for reading and responding!


If I recall, Rush Limbaugh's in that hall, too. I won't be visiting it anytime soon. Who'll they honor next, Michael Weiner?

If I recall, Rush Limbaugh's in that hall, too. I won't be visiting it anytime soon. Who'll they honor next, Michael Weiner?

Shh don't give them any ideas. Tom Joyner and Bob Edwards are also longtime members.

I think a protest needs to be held in Chitown when the ceremony for the 2008 inductees happens

Thanks, Monica.

I agree that there should be a protest, and information about Dobson should be handed out to attendees at the ceremony (Perhaps something like "What do you really know about James Dobson?" and then bullet points outlining his positions).

What I object to is the idea that his induction should be rescinded - that just sets "us" up for the same treatment.