Museum of Broadcast Communications, Which Honored Bigot James Dobson, Screws Up Again
Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) announced Friday that it has put its partially-built, $22 million headquarters building up for sale. The MBC has been without a home since leaving the Cultural Center in 2003. Putting the unfinished building on the block in a bear real estate market is another demonstration of the sort of incompetence seen in the MBC's recent honoring of anti-gay bigot James Dobson, the head of Focus on the Family.
The Gay Liberation Network and Truth Wins Out initiated a huge protest on November 8th against the MBC annual fundraising dinner, during which Dobson received the accolades of an audience made up largely of fellow Focus on the Family staffers and supporters. Many in the city, gay and non-gay alike, were appalled that the MBC would honor someone like Dobson who campaigns against legal equality for a whole group of people.
The MBC stepped into this mess by making a bone-headed change to its Radio Hall of Fame selection process this year. For the first time, the Hall of Fame honor was chosen by a ballot stuffing-friendly, internet voting process open to the general public.
GLN and others pointed out that if such a selection process resulted in the choosing of a notorious racist or anti-Semite, the process would have been junked and no award given. But apparently MBC Executive Director Bruce Dumont felt that a different standard should apply when the faulty process chose a notorious hater of gays, James Dobson. Dumont plowed ahead with the honoring of the anti-gay bigot despite months of protest. As a result, MBC's reputation is perhaps irretrievably tarnished.
Now we see that the same managerial incompetence that led to decision to plow ahead with the anti-gay honor has lost the MBC its prospective new home. In a Friday afternoon email to supporters, Bruce Dumont conveniently skirted responsibility for the fire sale of the MBC headquarters. "The failure of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to keep his $6-million promise to the Museum --- and the economic downturn that followed that broken promise has forced this decision"
Sorry, Bruce, but as much as we'd all like to help pile on Blago right now, the originally scheduled re-opening of the MBC in its new digs was the Spring of 2005, well before the current recession hit, and your new HQ has been nothing but a pile of concrete and rebar for years. As one blog noted in February 2007, "construction has only come in spits and spurts, a month or two of concrete pouring followed by six or seven months of idled equipment and boarded-up entryways. As the 'coming soon' sign announcing MBC’s arrival weathered and faded, rumors of the museum’s impending arrival began to reify into myth." (ChicagoCarless.com)
And as for Blago's alleged promise of money for your building, at the same time that every Chicago area politico is desperately distancing themselves from the tainted governor, do you REALLY think this is the smartest time to say that you had cut a deal with him?!?
With his wrecking of the museum's reputation though his tolerance of anti-gay bigotry and now his failure to secure a home for the museum after five years and millions of wasted dollars, Bruce Dumont has driven the Museum of Broadcast Communications into the ground.
If the MBC is to be saved, Dumont should do it a favor and resign. Perhaps a new management team could reverse the series of disastrous mis-steps which have nearly destroyed the institution. One first step in the right direction would be to restore its integrity by disavowing the earlier award to America's leading hater of gays, Focus on the Family's James Dobson. Only then should supporters of civil rights extend any aid to the MBC.