Focus on the Family is an American Christian conservative organization founded in 1977 by psychologist James Dobson, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is active in promoting an interdenominational effort toward its socially conservative views on public policy. According to their about page, “our outreach has grown to include a wide variety of broadcasts, podcasts, telecasts, films, websites, blogs and radio drama programs. These outlets feature information, guidance, and practical insights on everything from adoption to marriage to media discernment to pastoral concerns.”
Funded by / Ownership
Focus on the Family is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which prevents them from advocating for political candidates. However, they are active politically as they have affiliated groups which can donate to political candidates such as Family Policy Alliance, though the two groups are legally separate. This group allows money to be donated to candidates who have been 100% Republican. Revenue is derived through donations.
Analysis / Bias
In review, Focus on the Family promotes creationism, abstinence-only sex education, adoption only by heterosexuals, school prayer, and traditional gender roles. It opposes pre-marital sex, pornography, drugs, gambling, divorce, and abortion. It lobbies against LGBT rights, including LGBT adoption, LGBT parenting, and same-sex marriage.
Focus on the Family has also published misinformation claiming that “Abortion has been linked to an increased risk for post-abortive women being diagnosed with breast cancer.” According to the American Cancer Society, “After adjusting for known breast cancer risk factors, the researchers found that induced abortion(s) had no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer. The size of this study and the manner in which it was done provide good evidence that induced abortion does not affect a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.” Further, during the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020, they have promoted misinformation such as this Chinese Virologist Claims COVID-19 was Intentionally Manufactured and Released by China. Thus far there is no evidence to support this claim. Finally, they have promoted misleading information regarding the abortion pill as well as gay adoption.
Failed Fact Checks
- “Among his (Obama’s) pet projects is a bill … which would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid.” – False
Overall, we rate Focus on the Family extreme Right Biased and Questionable based on the promotion of Right-Wing Christian propaganda that is not rooted in science as well as poor sourcing and false claims. (D. Van Zandt 1/13/2017) Updated (1/8/2021)