Jun 072008

Box Turtle Bulletin always has interesting articles, and this one, about Tivo doing a promotion with Focus on The Family was no different. This bothered me a bit, so I went to the Tivo website, got a number for their corporate headquarters and called. A very nice person named Alyson called me back, and we had a good discussion about the situation. I followed up my conversation with the following letter:

I’d like to thank you for calling me back today regarding my concerns about Tivo’s involvement in a promotion sponsored by Focus on The Family, an organization run by James Dobson.

I appreciate talking with you directly, but wanted to ensure that my position was clearly stated and understood by you and others at Tivo.

I am in the technology business, and happen to especially love gadgets. As I explained to you, I’ve found my Tivo to be one of the best pieces of technology I have ever owned. It does exactly what I expect it to do, and it does it well and simply. I applaud your efforts, and as I noted, I’ve recommended it to numerous friends…often unprompted. I have been considering one for my mother.

I am not so naïve as to believe I can not do business with every company that associates in some way with organizations that have political views different than my own. I doubt I’d be able to buy much of anything I use on a daily basis. Also, I’m not so presumptuous as to believe I have a right to demand that you not do business with a particular organization.

At the same time, your involvement with Focus On The Family and James Dobson creates an especially troubling situation for me. I am a gay man. I am also a Christian (Methodist if it matters), and teach an adult Sunday School class. Because of this, I frankly find James Dobson’s vitriolic rhetoric unacceptable. Dobson frequently makes statements that go far beyond mere political extremism. He often crosses the line to literal hate speech, especially in regards to gay and lesbian people. This organization particularly targets LGBT people by spreading information known to be scientifically inaccurate; he creates threats where there are none in order to appeal for financial support; and makes statements that provide some people all the license they need to direct violence at people perceived to be gay and lesbian.

As a Christian, I find Dobson to be all the more repugnant as he cloaks his hate speech in the banner of Christianity and “family values.”

It’s unusual for me to take pen in hand (or keyboard as the case may be) and write a letter of this type to an organization such as yours, but I’m sure you can understand why this particular situation gets my attention. I believe only a little time on Google would reveal that my statements and concerns are valid (or I’d be glad to provide links as required).

I really love my Tivo, and the last thing I want to do is allow the subscription to expire and replace the Tivo with a cable supplied DVR. As I noted in our conversation, it is my hope that someone just failed to properly vet the FOTF organization and Mr. Dobson, and that you will be able to notify me that Tivo will no longer partner with Focus on The Family after this promotion ends. Then I can return to enjoying and bragging about my Tivo experience.

Thank you again for speaking with me today. I appreciate that you took my concerns seriously. You were most gracious, and I look forward to hearing from you.

I really do hope this helps. I love my Tivo.

  One Response to “Tivo and Focus On The Family”

Comments (1)
  1. Excellent letter!! You’re right – one of your best and of course I agree wholeheartedly; we can only hope it will do at least a speck of good!

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