Game-hatin' attorney Jack Thompson went verbally medieval on GamePolitics in an interview with the obscure PopZart site last week.
In my third year of running GamePolitics, I've grown accustomed to Thompson's criticism, but this attack was remarkably personal in nature, so I feel called upon to respond. Part one of my riposte may be found here. Part two follows:
JT: the worst example of [a game industry stooge] is GamePolitics and its owner Dennis McCauley. McCauley is now an operative for Hal Halpin's ECA, so the curtain behind which this Wizard of Odd, Mr. McCauley, has been rent asunder. McCauley has pretended, mightily, to be a journalist. He is not. He does put out a lot of information, some of it correct, about what is going on in the gaming world and industry. I commend him for that. He does a better job than most.
GP: Interesting... In a single paragraph, Thompson pegs me as both "the worst example" and doing "a better job than most." Go figure... As for being an "operative," gee, it sounds so very Splinter Cell-ish...
As far as the ECA goes, I think GP readers already know that the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) is NOT a game industry organization, despite Thompson's efforts to paint it that way. The ECA receives zero funding from the game industry, and wouldn't accept game industry money if it was offered. Hal Halpin has been very clear about that. Membership fees paid by gamer-members drive the ECA. Personally, I've always made it very clear that I have no connection to the industry. My record reinforces it.
To put it bluntly, I've pissed off a number of people in the game business over the years - Take Two people, ESRB people, ESA people, and more. I'm kind of proud of that fact, actually. As a journalist, when you're simultaneously angering Jack Thompson and Paul Eibeler, you know you're playing it right down the middle.
What's more, even a cursory glance at GamePolitics illustrates that Thompson's comments are dead wrong. In the past few weeks alone we've been all over Microsoft concerning the Xbox 360 red rings issue because A.) they deserve it and B.) it's an issue that's very important to game consumers. At other times we've taken Sony to task when they tried to bully Kotaku. We ripped inept former Take Two CEO Paul Eibeler on a regular basis. It's all in the GP record.
Oh, and don't forget that GP made its journalistic bones by breaking the Hot Coffee story in 2005. That little episode cost T2 close to $30 million and still reverberates through the business. Our person of the year for 2005 was Leland Yee, architect of the California video game law - not because we thought the law was a good idea, but because Yee was so skillful in maneuvering it to passage. By the way, can you guess which publicity hound complained about not being selected?
So, GP as a game industry stooge? I don't think so. We're after the truth here, wherever it leads us.
JT: McCauley gets money from the very industry that he is supposedly "fairly" reporting about. Look at his ads. Look at his now formal ECA affiliation. I get money, by the way, from nobody, nor have I ever accepted any in my twenty years of fighting the entertainment industry's marketing and sale of adult entertainment to children. I'm clean. These sites are not.
GP: What money from the video game industry? I work for the ECA. Once again, and I'll say it slowly this time, Jack. The ECA is a consumer group. We fight for gamers.
Ads? What ads? Prior to the ECA acquisition we had small Amazon and Commission Junction affiliate ads for things like games, books, DVDs and T-shirts. I personally selected and posted the ads. Never - as in not ever - did we have an ad paid for by a video game company.
Currently there are some issue-oriented banners - but nothing to buy - on the front page of GP that I picked myself because they are relevant to what we cover. We've also got links to every major - and several minor - video game watchdog organizations on the front page. My goal with GamePolitics is to be a comprehensive, one-stop shopping resource for information related to the politics of video games whether you're a gamer, a game company executive, a political staffer or an activist.
On the other hand, may I ask, Jack, how much you expect to receive from your video game debate tour? $3,000 per appearance, wasn't it? May I ask how much your combined lawsuits against the video game industry in Alabama and New Mexico are seeking? $1.2 billion, isn't it? That works out to a pretty hefty legal fee...
GP: Thompson’s attack on GamePolitics was extensive. So is our reply. Look for Part 3 soon…