Maybe we should call this one SchadenThankFuckingChrist. It appears that Dobson’s influence has been steadily falling off.
The ministry apparently has been “flat” for some time. For example, in 1994 Dobson’s monthly newsletter had a circulation of 2.4 million copies. Today, that circulation is about 1.1 million. Also, in the 1990s, Dobson was drawing audiences of 15,000 or more to his speeches; but in the lead-up to the 2006 mid-term election, only about 1,000 people heard his anti-abortion speech at the 2,500-seat Mt. Rushmore National Monument amphitheatre. Daly explains that the event was a last-minute invitation and that Dobson rarely accepts speaking engagements.
According to news accounts and audited financial reports posted online for potential donors, the organization’s staffing is down (30 layoffs last September). Total donations and number of donors are down as well. Focus orders and resells copies of Dobson’s tapes and books, which are the evangelist’s personal business; but those purchases have declined from $678,000 in 2004 to $269,000 in 2006. His last book was published in 2001; another is not anticipated until 2009. The whole Dobson family, including wife Shirley, daughter Danae and son Ryan, produce books and tapes, but revenue from all Dobson-family materials are down, from $781,000 in 2004 to $307,000 in 2006.
Perhaps most importantly…
Even Focus on the Family Action – Dobson’s most recent project, founded in 2004 to help steer public policy – seems stalled. Daly says Action’s fortunes are tied to “hot issues in the public square”; in his letter to potential donors, Dobson offers “occasional specific voting recommendations on ballot measures in your area and on a national level.” But contributions declined from $8.8 million in 2004, its start-up year, to $6.8 million in 2006, while website hits fell from 18,000 monthly in 2005 to 8,700 monthly in 2006. A Focus spokesperson says Focus Action is not the main public policy website and that CitizenLink.com, where the candidate assessments were announced, is doing much better.
Anytime we can see the theocon scaremongering Morality Police losing influence, the future looks a bit brighter for people who value their personal freedoms and choices. Dobson’s crap is so insidious that even my Catholic cousin was at one point buying (and giving to me for a wedding present) his taped lecture series, probably not even realizing that as an evangelical, Dobson is at best an ally of convenience to Catholicism.