Jack Attack on GamePolitics, Part 3: Raising the Bar

 (Part 3 of 4)

Game-hatin’ attorney Jack Thompson went verbally medieval on GamePolitics in an interview with the obscure PopZart site during the week of E3. 

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 here. Part three follows:

JT: McCauley filed a Bar complaint against me over a year ago, claiming that my tactics were “unethical.”  He’s entitled to his opinion, and he can even file a baseless Bar complaint.  It was baseless, because The Florida Bar… looked at his ridiculous Bar complaint and threw it into the wastebasket.

GP: Thompson has been the subject of a number of Bar complaints in recent times, filed by judges, lawyers, and yes, GP. In fact, based upon the Florida Bar’s investigation of other complaints, Thompson faces a pending disciplinary trial before the Florida Supreme Court.

In regard to GamePolitics, Thompson has posted about my Bar complaint before, and I’ve made no effort to block his postings.

The fact is that filing the complaint was never something I wanted to do, but under the circumstances in early 2006 (veteran readers may recall those turbulent times) I felt I had no recourse.  A cease-and-desist letter sent to Thompson on April 3rd, 2006 had been ignored. It read in part:

As a public figure, you can expect to be commented on, and not always to your liking… for a long time I resisted calls from readers to ban you from GamePolitics… I thought that you had something to add to the dialogue and that there was benefit in hearing diverse views. 

When the C&D was ignored, the 9-page Bar complaint was filed on April 19th. Thompson’s characterization of the complaint as “baseless” is simply his spin. The Florida Bar took four months to investigate and ultimately chose not to proceed. They didn’t explain why. The fact that I was neither Thompson’s client nor involved in any legal cases with him seems a likely factor. The Bar certainly didn’t say my complaint was baseless.

JT: When McCauley filed it, I told him that he had a journalist [sic] obligation… to disclose to his readers that he had filed the complaint.  Why?  Because it’s called full disclosure.  It gives all a heads-up that you, a reputed “news” site, have a vested interest in harming someone about whom you are “fairly” reporting.  Any real journalist knows you can’t report on a story and at the same time make yourself a player in the story.  

GP: Disclosure was definitely an issue I considered. In the end I decided not to write about the Bar complaint for several reasons. First, I did not file it for the purpose of creating a news item, although it would have been a big story. To do so would have been exploitative of the Bar process and just plain wrong. Next, the complaint was against a man’s profession and I had to respect the privacy issues involved. Finally, I was much concerned about legal exposure if I publicized the complaint. From the very beginning of the process I was aware of this warning from the Florida Bar:

Disclosure of the existence of an inquiry or complaint and the contents thereof outside of the disciplinary system may provide a basis for legal action. 

Thompson has chosen to make to my Bar complaint public. If he wants to talk about it, fine. But beyond confirming its existence, I won’t discuss specifics, for the reasons listed above.

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