Former ESA Boss Couldn’t Be More Wrong about Jack Thompson Coverage

Hey, Doug Lowenstein. Don’t shoot the messengers.

While I’ve got a lot of respect for Lowenstein, the former ESA president sent a letter to Kotaku yesterday that simply blew my mind.

Commenting on Thursday’s Florida Supreme Court order disbarring Jack Thomspon for life, Lowenstein blamed the gaming press for "making Thompson what he became."


On this issue Doug Lowenstein should look in the mirror. It was Lowenstein’s own unwillingness to stand up to Thompson years ago which emboldened the game-hatin’, soon to be ex-attorney. It is a remarkable piece of spin to blame Thompson on the gaming media, but that’s exactly what Lowenstein has done:

Time and again, the game press… would ask ESA to engage with, or respond to Thompson’s latest excess. The media knew well that he was a charlatan who wholly lacked credibility. But hey, they said, he was news and could not be ignored. That was a cop out. It gave Thompson a platform… 


Mainstream outlets… were worse but the game press knew better. But he was the game press’ crack. And even as they said privately he was a kook, they treated him as if he was a credible, fair minded critic. That represented an abdication of the critical filtering role the media should play.


…for the game press it was all Jack all the time… You help set the tone for mainstream media coverage and if you validate extremists you give license to the less informed to follow your lead.

To be fair, Doug is no stranger to Thompson’s tirades. During his days at the helm of the ESA he was a frequent target of the disgraced attorney’s most outrageous vitriol.

But, by refusing to respond, Doug dropped the ball. Thompson, finding no resistance from the top of the video game industry, was empowered to push harder. In retrospect, it’s important to understand that bullying is the essence of Thompson’s strategy. In fact, one of the tips he offers in his forgettable 2005 book, Out of Harm’s Way, is "be mean." And, since caveman days, bullies have pushed and pushed until someone got up the nerve to push back.

Doug never pushed back.

Instead, Lowenstein’s ESA operated in a sort of la-la land in which Jack Thompson did not exist. As a journalist, I soon learned not to waste time asking the ESA to comment on anything Thompson said or did because, ostrich-like, they pretended that there was no Jack Thompson.

The gaming press, on the other hand, deserves kudos for helping reveal to the larger world the kind of vicious tactics Thompson employed in his culture crusade. And isn’t that the function of a free press? You’d think that Doug Lowenstein, a former journalist, would understand that.

Given the nature of what we cover at GamePolitics, Jack Thompson was undoubtedly written about here more than anywhere else. Did the Thompson coverage draw traffic? Yes, as much from the Miami activist’s eagerness to mix it up with GP readers in the comments section as from the actual stories. Through his publicity-seeking, over the top antics Thompson came to symbolize anti-game prejudice. Gamers – unlike Doug Lowenstein – invariably wanted a word with him and they often had that opportunity here at GamePolitics.

Was there a price to pay for GP’s coverage? Yes. Without going into detail, Thompson threatened me with lawsuits on an almost continual basis. While some might write off such threats as bluster, that’s easy to say when you’re not the one being threatened. He actually did add my name to one of his million dollar lawsuits until a federal judge ruled that he couldn’t. But he didn’t stop there. He vilified me to the newspaper that I write for and to the company that formerly hosted GamePolitics. He reported me to the FBI at least a half-dozen times. For a guy with a mortgage and kids and (back then) a day job, this was more than a little stressful. Frankly, I’m incensed at Doug Lowenstein’s implication that GP did it for the traffic. I can’t speak for other sites, but GamePolitics covered Thompson because there was a story there, a story that needed to be told.

In the end, it was Thompson who carved out his own record. The things that he did and said eventually told the world all it needed to know about Jack Thompson and where he was coming from. It was Thompson, for example, who told a Louisiana newspaper that nobody shoots anybody in the face unless you’re a hit man or a video gamer.

It was Thompson who appeared on Fox News while the bodies were still warm at Virginia Tech to claim that video games were responsible for the tragedy. And it was Thompson who carried out the vicious and unprofessional conduct outlined in his 2007 Florida Bar trial, behavior that one victim compared to the emotional equivalent of stalking.

In fact, if there is one thing in GamePolitics’ four-year history of which I am most proud, it was our exclusive coverage of those transcripts containing witness testimony from Thompson’s Florida Bar trial. If you think Thompson – who can turn on the charm when he wants to – is not such a bad sort, read the transcripts and then decide.

To be sure, GamePolitics wasn’t the only game site in Thompson’s crosshairs. He filed a lawsuit against Kotaku in 2007. He threatened My Extra Life over a Jack Thompson Photoshop contest. He tried to get the Seattle Police to bust Penny Arcade, and when he found out PA isn’t actually in Seattle (doh!), he called the FBI, instead.

As for Doug Lowenstein, he’s way out of line to suggest a "critical filtering role" for the gaming press. He is essentially saying that game sites should censor news that the video game industry doesn’t like – in this case, news about Jack Thompson. Doug seems to be laboring under the impression that the gaming press works for the benefit of big money game publishers instead of readers.

Doug Lowenstein, of course, left the video game industry in 2007 for a new gig lobbying on behalf of the hedge fund crowd. Come to think of it, isn’t there enough for Doug to worry about on Wall Street these days? Perhaps he should leave the gaming issues to the gaming press.

We can handle it. We always have.


UPDATE: Destructoid has weighed in on the issue:

Can the coverage of Thompson be defended from a journalistic standpoint? Perhaps. JT was a loudmouth with more words than common sense, but in a world where reality TV stars can become credible icons, ignoring Thompson could have been a bad idea. It was thanks to us that Thompson was exposed for the duplicitous, vulgar and disrespectful man that he is. His personal attacks on industry figures and his many documented online flame wars with youngsters helped to damage whatever credibility he may have been able to forge. 

UPDATE 2: Simon Carless of Gamasutra offers his thoughts:

Probably one of [Thompson’s] closest reports, and therefore subjects of his harassment was GamePolitics’ Dennis McCauley, and he has a passionate, angry editorial on the subject up on GamePolitics. His view? "By refusing to respond, Doug dropped the ball. Thompson, finding no resistance from the top of the video game industry, was empowered to push harder."


I’m not sure I completely agree. There’s an argument that you empower trolls by acknowledging them, and then nobody comes out of the situation looking good. Lowenstein realized that preventing state-based legislation against violent games was more important in practical terms than debating Thompson regularly ad infinitum.

UPDATE 3: Aaron Ruby, editor of our sister-site GameCulture adds:

…what the discussion so far has lacked, including Lowenstein’s inciting letter, is that it doesn’t matter who "created" Jack Thompson. The real issue is that the entire gaming community — journalists, developers, lobbyists and gamers alike — let a hack lawyer with a stunningly unsuccessful track record as a videogame vigilante become its most prized bogeyman…


Jack Thompson was a perfect storm, a confluence of circumstance, political climate and the maturation of a medium that now dominates entertainment…  we were allowed to knock down straw man after straw man, irrational argument after unsubstantiated claim, and poorly written law after spurious legal theory. We went after him because he was an easy target. Someone who made us feel smug, superior and ritually oppressed. And in our self-righteousness, we all had a hand in keeping the bogey man alive.


In the end, Jack Thompson was the Wicked Witch of Gaming, that evil wretch who always seems ready to poison the world, until, finally, one day she’s dowsed with water and melts. And after we’re done singing "ding dong, ding dong" from every hill and rooftop, we stop and wonder what all the fuss was about in the first place. And as we catch our breath, we realize the power was ours all along.

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  1. duncan_922 says:

    Jack Thompson never got opposing views in Fox news or any other place he went… (Except for the time he was on G4 and some other times, and still the opposition was soft on him)  His arguments were so nimble that when there was opposition on the horizon, he crawled down under a rock.  But what Doug is talking about, and my point is, that many of this gaming sites, and sometimes GP too, gave "coverage" to Jack Thompson that he didn’t deserve, just for the sake of generating traffic and thus providing the stage for him for his antics.  He was never a God amongst men!  And trust me, had he been ignored as the failure that he was…  He would’ve dissappeard a long time ago.

  2. lumi says:

    Personally, I’d like to know about the first time Thompson attempts to spin his "martyr" status into another chance for the spotlight, and fails MISERABLY, just for the confirmation that he’s done and we can stick the fork in him.  Beyond that, I’d be happy never hearing from him again.

    I want the assurance that he is as impotent to the rest of the world as we know he should be.

  3. Bennett Beeny says:

    I’m no fan of that Lowenstein fellow, but where is it a rule that if you don’t complain you can’t have an opinion?

  4. CLLewis says:

    Point taken lumi.  You’re right, there is the possibility – however small – that Fox, desperate for any story, would lend him a platform.  Until that happens I think it more likely that some minor contrivance of Thompson’s will make headlines in the game media.  That’s basically what I’m arguing against because I think this is the perfect opportunity to get Thompson out of our lives for good.  I hope that we as a community can rise to the occasion and move forward, leaving Thompson to petition himself into obscurity.

  5. lumi says:

    This depends entirely on how the mainstream media treats him post-disbarment.  Will he be able to play the "conspiracy victim martyr" card and continue villifying the industry?

  6. lumi says:

    You’re misinterpreting that last line.  We didn’t cause JT to be what he was, but we did inspire him to make his idiocy and generally unhinged state of mind much more apparent.  When you want to explain to someone how deranged he is, it helps to have examples.

  7. lumi says:

    A "more respectful PR campaign against thompson" would have been the worst response.  THAT is what would have legitimized him more than anything else.

    Calling him, bluntly and immediately, on his bullshit, is what needed to be done, more than anything else.

  8. Timbo says:

    When did the mainstream media ever laud him as a ‘god amongst men’?  The only time I ever recall seeing him on the mainstream media and not being made a fool of was when he was on Fox news.  Given Fox News is notorious for its anti game sentiment, he wasn’t even adding anything new to the table by going on to it.

    Think about when he was on the news talking about the virginia tech shootings and completely got shot down when it was shown he had absolutely no evidence for his claim.  Gamers had nothing to do with that.

  9. thefremen says:

     So you’d rather that the mainstream media lauded him constantly for being a God amongst men and there be absolutely no opposing views.

  10. E. Zachary Knight says:

    I am more than willing to use another quote, if it is simple, applicable, and packs the same punch. As it stands, my above statements do not translate well into something with the same punch. So I chose to use the former.

    I must ask though, would the PTC or CCFC or NIMF had been so adamant in their oposition to the games industry, if we had reached out to them the moment we noticed their doubts? I think not. They could have been some of our biggest allies if we did not simply ignore them.

    Now we learned that with John Bruce. After the video game industry chose to ignore him, his efforts increased. I honestly don’t think he ever would have become an ally to the games industry had we had reached out to him in the beginning. Many gamers certainly tried reaching out to him during the years and he treated us with bile and hatred. Perhaps we caused that. There certainly many gamers who treated him the exact same way. Should he really expect anything different from anyone else with the gamer tag.

    You don’t make friends by ignoring people. But the smae could be said about ridiculing and harassing people as well.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
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    E. Zachary Knight
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  11. Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis of Jack Thompson says:

    Hahahaha! Sweet! Castlevania: Symphony of the Night FTW!!!

    "For what profit is it to a man, if he gains the world and loses his own soul?" -Paraphrase of Matthew 16:26A by Dracula



  12. gamegod25 says:

    I can understand ignoring him at first since, like a kid doing something they shouldn’t, he’s just doing it for the attention.

    As for who’s fault it is, I think we all share some of the blame. The mass media for giving him air time, the ESA for not standing up to him, and just society in general for allowing JT (and people like him) to spout things that are ignorant, racist, and just plain crazy.

  13. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    That still doesn’t do much to expose his behavior to the general populace.


    -Remember kids, personal responsibility is for losers! Jack Thompson is gone, but we are not done… Not yet.

  14. Timbo says:

    I tend to agree with Doug Lowestein on this one actually.

    In terms of Thompson getting disbarred, I am not so sure that his repsonses on gaming websites and information made apparent by the gaming community had so much to do with establishing he was a nut.  From what I can tell, his disbarring was more from his actions within court cases, which were already documented by the courts.

    In terms of Jack Thompson (and all people for that matter) there are three perspectives -those that think he is a nut, those that do not and those who are undecided because of lack of knowledge or evidence.  The gaming media is the ones saying he is a nut here and they are speaking to he gmaing community who also think he is a nut.  Those who do not think he is nut belive what they believe about gaming despite the eveidecne to the contrary, meaning they’ll believe in him no matter what.  Those who are undecided will likely look not look at a gaming news site- so gaming news sites will have little effect.  Looked at this way, I think the gaming media had little to do with his disbarment or making him look crazy.

    But,by spending so much time focused on Jack Thompson, the gaming media added credibility to Jack’s crusade in his own eyes and those who would blindly follow him.  By estabishing him as "gaming enemy #1" and focusing much news on him, Jack Thompson can misuse evidence and gets ammunition (flimsy ammunition, but still ammunition) against gaming websites.  This allows Jack Thompson to continue spreading info and having things to respond to and continue on.

    Also, by creating controversy around him, media notice and importance is created.  News stations love controversial figures to put on the air because they attract yelling and emotional responses on both sides, which will (sadly) get people to watch the news.  So, I think the gaming media indirectly helped boost Thompson’s influence.

    By not focusing on him, he’d become less controversial, losing mass media appeal, and have less ammunition to fire against the gaming media- both of which would have weakened him.


    I don’t think this wouldb true if Jack ever posed a legitimate legal threat to gaming, but he is a nut and his legal system knows that from his court history.

  15. Timbo says:

    Your analogy doesn’t follow.

    Al Queda terrorists wanted to kill people and strike fear into America – a terrorist attack performs both of those actions, so if the press didn’t say anything about it, it would still have helped their goals.

    Jack Hompson is trying to win a cultural and legal war.  To win a cultural war, he has to spread his message to the culture.  By continuing to talk about him all the time, you are indirectly spreading his message, give him cultural influence.  He constantly lost in court, so he wasn’t going anywhere with that.

  16. Adamas Draconis says:

    Think of it in more modern and fitting words right now. "if you didn’t say anything about the problem, you have no right to complain about the answer."


    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  17. CLLewis says:

    While I agree that Jack Thompson often stirred up "newsworthy" events, much of the coverage of his lesser activities did serve to enable him to some degree.  I’m willing to suspend judgement on the merits of earlier coverage based on a future good faith effort to let sleeping dogs lie.  While Thompson did pose a threat to the video game community for a long time, his disbarment means that any future effort on his part will almost certainly be in vain.  

    Now that he has been effectively rendered impotent the true test will be the willingness of this site and others to cease coverage of him.  I think we can all agree that a month from now when his disbarment becomes permanent, Thompson will no longer have a leg to stand on.  I think those in the video game media should respect his new status as completely irrelevant and leave it at that.  This will mean no more coverage of his (now absolutely) meaningless antics. 

    There may be less entertaining stories for a while (I don’t think in all of this anyone has argued, or would, that Thompson wasn’t entertaining), but hopefully we’ll find more thought-provoking and relevant issues to address in the interim.  Let’s take this opportunity to quietly celebrate the end of a long reign of a self-indulgent and purile video game basher and move forward with a dignity that Thompson certainly will not.

  18. Monte says:

     " It was thanks to us that Thompson was exposed for the duplicitous, vulgar and disrespectful man that he is. His personal attacks on industry figures and his many documented online flame wars with youngsters helped to damage whatever credibility he may have been able to forge. "

    honestly, i got to disagree… i mean, did gamers or the industry actually do much of anything against Jack in the long run? From where i’m looking the only ones that did anything effective to destroy his credibility were those that actually stood up against him in his TV spots and Jack himself. Arguing with him on forums, blogs and what not, really had no effect since politicians, lawyers, judges, the news media (aside from the gaming ones ofcourse), and the general public payed no attention to that; only ones listening were gamers and they already made up their minds about him. None of us can really destroy his credibility if no one in the general public is listening to us. Some of us did send letters and e-mails to public officials and the media, but did any of them every really take the time to read those letters and gives us the time of day? I can only think of a few people that actually heeded what we had to say about the man. Really for the most part, we were nothing by just bystanders watching everything unfold. 

    When it comes down to it, Jack’s ultimate downfall came from his court cases where he made an idiot of himself and harassed people that the floridia bar actually cared about (lawyers, judges, and what-not). The trial against Jack made no mention of his online behavior or even dennis’s complaint and the industry itself played no role (unless you count their lawyers showing up with personal complaints). I know i would have LOVED for his wiki-quotes to have appeared in trial to rip apart his character, but they never did. All in all, Jack’s downfall is actually somewhat poetic… i mean, with all the opposition against him, all the people that would want to actually aim in getting him disbarred, in the end, Jack was actually brought down completely by himself. Jack’s disbarment is an exercise in true self destruction of his own career. Had he just played the law game by the rules. played nice, and did things properly, he would still have his job and he might actually be dealing REAL damage to the industry.

    In the end, gamers can’t really take any credit for Jack’s downfall… doing so would be just as bad as Jack claiming he was responsible for the better self enforcement as seen in the FTC studies or claiming he was a key figure in stopping the EA take Two merger. Overall, our exchanges with Jack have amount to pretty much nothing on both sides; we never did any real damage and Jack never gained any ground over us or the industry. 

  19. SimonBob says:

    Wow.  I’ve seen men ride high horses, and I’ve seen them build ivory towers, but I’ve never seen a man ride the former in the latter.  Doug must have a hell of an observation deck.

    The Mammon Industry

  20. DeusPayne says:

    The video game industry, games or journalism, did nothing to JT. By the time he started attacking the medium, he was already a well documented psycho. From his gay bashing, to his crusade against shock radio, he was ALREADY being a huge dick to anyone that he felt like. We just happened to document it better, and expose his craziness in a much more mainstream way than anyone had before.

  21. Deamian says:

    "…and when he found out PA isn’t actually in Seattle (doh!)…"

    Oh? I thought they did! -Giggles.-


    I half agree with Doug. Not paying attention to JT for all this time meant one thing ; he’s not going anywhere. He hasn’t yet, he has not currently, and in 30 days or less never will. JT might not be quieter, but he’s effectively finished. No one will listen to a disbarred emotionnally-stalking-equivalent attorney.

    The other half I don’t agree… Game press should be nicer? Nuh uh. Press is meant to tell, not act sweet or bad-ass. Don’t like what you read? Flip the page. Easy. Free. And nobody gets sued. But no, apparently, some people know it’s better to let failing concepts, such as censorship, raise the future generations.



  22. thefremen says:

     So you don’t believe there should have been any news sites which catalogued his various deeds? If CNN stops playing the tapes from Al Quida you think all the terrorists will just pack things up and go home? 


    JT was JT long before he even realized video games existed, OBL loved to kill Americans long before he ever got on TV.

  23. duncan_922 says:

    I’m with Doug Lowenstein on this one….

    I’ve followed GP for a long time, I was even one of the ones that was threatened to be sued by JT on that last incident that prompted GP to get out of LiveJournal.  I have an e-mail that JT sent me personally when he got to the habit of replying to people that posted here. 

    There’s really things that were worth covering (like the crap he pulled when the VT massacre happened),  But many of them were just like posting the pictures of a car crash…  Just so people can slow down and stare. 

    Why so much coverage about what could arguable be the most unsuccessful lawyer in history???  So he got on Fox news a lot and he won a red-neck award…  Does someone care?  And banning him from posting here, then unbanning him, rinse and repeat?  Why?  Did you (Dennis) think that he was going to turn onto a new leaf and start contributing constructively to the site???  Please…  He should’ve been banned the first time and stayed like that forever.  That to me is enabling him. 

    Basically, every clown needs a stage, or they just become a weirdo with a painted face and silly clothes.  Many gaming news sites, and a lot of times GP provided that stage.

  24. Adamas Draconis says:

    I’d speak up against that and for the same reason that the legislations have been ruled in violation of the constitution . Banning material because you may find it offensive is a violation of the letter and the spirit of the first amendment. And I quote.


    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."




    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  25. Conejo says:

    Doug Lowenstein is to Russia


    Jack Thompson is to Osama Bin Laden

    by ignoring what was a minor pest, they allowed his rhetoric to grow and reach beyond what it should have been able to.  Lowenstein’s ESA ignored every chance they had to shut him down before it got out of hand for everyone.  thus, all that is left is a zealot who thinks himself stronger than the world.

    Fuck You, Doug Lowenstein.  just because you don’t pour more gasoline on the fire doesn’t mean you’re to be credited for putting out the flames.

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  26. thefremen says:

     Why so serious?


    John 5:17 handles this pretty well: "All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death."

  27. PHOENIXZERO says:

    Douggy and the ESA are like that kid who doesn’t fight back against bullies and ignores them like ignorant parents and teachers tell you do. All they did was let him keep pushing and pushing until he dug his own hole. It would have happened a long time ago if Doug and the ESA didn’t have their collective heads shoved up their rectal cavities and likely things today might have been better for it if they were proactive in protecting the companies they supposedly represent instead of being reactionary. But of course it’s unless it’s someone they know can’t fightback and easy money, how long until more companies dump them?


    . . = The Doug and the ESA’s balls though that might be generous..

  28. JDKJ says:

    Doug Lowenstein can go lobby himself. GP’s coverage of Thompson (done at great risk of exposure to Thompson’s terrorist tatics) did more than anything/anyone I know of to expose Thompson for the complete asshat that he is — a fact that, absent the coverage, many would not have fully appreciated. Regardless of GP’s motives for covering Thompson, the end result of that coverage was a clear public good. 

  29. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    I gotta ask…does anyone other than the gaming populace (who already knew JT was a twat) read the gaming sites? Or did this manage to get coverage on the major networks that the misled whiners watch?

    Also, the final line of your post is sort of what Doug was saying. That gamers and game news sites drove him to do a lot of the shit he did (I of course don’t believe that, but I thought I’d point it out).


    -Remember kids, personal responsibility is for losers! Jack Thompson is gone, but we are not done… Not yet.

  30. illspirit says:

    Well said.

    I would also like to add that Jack has been Jack for a long time before there was even a gaming press. Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it was Ice-T, NWA, 2 Live Crew and film makers who he blamed for everything. He didn’t really go after Doom until, what, ’95 or ’96? And by ’99, well before game journalists paid much attention to politics, he was a regular goto guy for the media when they covered youth violence.

    Were it not for GP, Kotaku, and others, Jack’s side of the story would have remained largely unchallened, and he’d likely still be a respected violence "expert." Likewise, without game journalists, bloggers, and individual gamers exciting him into a frenzy, he probably wouldn’t have done or said half the outrageous things which got him disbarred and destroyed his credibility..

  31. SS says:

    I am not arguing your points about the ESA and their silence on JT.  I am just saying that the quote you used is kind of strong for JT.  It just gives him ammo to target gamers.

     Think of it this way,  If I used that saying against someone who wants to ban books with sex from being checked from minors in a library in whatever managing meeting the library has, wouldn’t that make me look stupid.  Evil to that extent is not done. 

    I personally believe the ESA should have tackled JT head on.

  32. Chuma says:

    Here, bloody, here.  I can’t say I agree with everything you say, Dennis, but on this one I think you are spot on.

  33. CK20XX says:

    I must admit that Jack’s endless coverage has gotten tiring at times.  He really is laughable in his attempts to weild law against his enemies.

    One of the things I’ve hated the most is how he derails topics with his vitriol.  Dennis, I’m sorry, but unbanning him previously just because he was a significant news contributor was one of the worst things you’ve ever done.  He has never deserved to be treated like a proper news contributor.  When you likewise dropped the ball there, he felt vindicated and got worse and worse, polluting many stories and topics.  If you’re going to punish someone, stick with it until they improve.  Hopefully the requirement of registering to comment here will finally and permanently keep him out now.

    But… as I said in a previous topic, Jack probably is gaming’s number 1 enemy, just for all the wrong reasons.  He’s like a used car salesman, seeking to take advantage of every sucker out there just to forward his own agenda.  He preys on the public’s fear of what they don’t understand.  The evidence of this is in his actions.  How could such a relentless nut be fighting for families and children?  Where’s his love, his compassion, his patience, his goodness?

    I’m hoping to see people push back at him soon with lawsuits of all kinds.  I don’t think I’ll like seeing the intensity of it, but just as Judge Tunis believed, he’s so remorseless that he needs to be shut down for good.  If he wants mercy, he should show it first.


    "They were retarded hairless pink bunnies, all of them. Except Shigeru Myamoto and… well, the good ones were just too /rare/ to be worth bothering about." – Mason Hornblower on the extinction of the human race

  34. BearDogg-X says:

    I side with GP here.

    Even though they have been perfect in the court system with all state legislation against "violent" video games ruled unconstitutional, The ESA did nothing under Lowenstein and is still doing nothing under Mike Gallagher to combat the various critics like Thompson, Leland Yee, the Parent Trash Cult, etc. That job has fallen to the ECA, GP, and us, the gamers.

    Back in Black from a forced hiatus by Hurricane Gustav.

    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  35. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Funny logic you haz, its ok to treat consumers as thieves and making them into active crackers because of poorly done DRM and make legal items that fall under fair use illegal and yet you say by ignoring a anti game nut case you didn’t empower him to keep on assaulting the industry and bringing bad PR…. what world do you live in?

    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)

  36. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Wow, over reaction much?

    This quote does not apply to John Bruce alone. The ESA as has kept extremely silent in the face of attacks on video games. Sure they fight legislation WHEN IT IS PASSED. But they completely ignore the media and their biased reporting. They ignore groups like PTC and CCFC and NIMF who seek to undo everything the ESRB and other parts of the industry have done.

    The more we ignore these people, the more their messages will reach those people who could have been on our side. When you have someone telling you how bad the video game industry in one ear while at the same time, the video game industry just sits quiet in the corner, wouldn’t you believe the person actually talking to you?

    The ESA needs to be more proactively engaged in positive outreach to the average person. They cannot just play defense all the time. You have to play the offense at some point or the best that will come of it is a stale mate.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
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  37. YukimuraSanada says:

    I am with GP all the way one this one.

    Gp and it’s long time readers know that i’ve attacked thompson more then a few times, but I’ve also repeately bashed the ESA and it’s fellow trade groups for acting like thompson and other game critics didn’t exsist. While I was a heavy hard liner, demanding that thompson be sued and demonized and attacked by the industry, others thought a more respectful PR campaign against thompson would have been more appropriate. Either way, the point is, the ESA  did NOTHING! Now, with thompson out of action and the industry gaining momentum, Doug should shut his mouth and own up to being the spineless, ballless pansy he is. 

    YOu created Jack thompson Doug, cause you lack the couarge to stand up to him.



    "You want a story, here’s a story for ya. Demons over there, Kill they ASS" Ben zahtzee croshaw, smartest man on the planet.

    "Everyone needs more Epic rap battles of history in there life, if only to get them more interested in a variety of subjects" ME

  38. SS says:

    Relax.  JT is no Hitler or Bush.  He just wants to ban video games not murder people.WE might dislike him, but he is not that evil for that quote to be used.  He’ll just take this a sign of how obsessed video gamers are.

  39. tony selby says:

    the problem was JT spamed his press releases everywhere, and managed to get onto TV such as fox news and 60 minutes without GP or the other game media talking about him

    thus his voice is already getting out there, by not confronting him over his views and talking about it, the other side never gets heard and he’s the only voice out there that anybody hears

    if the gaming press hadn’t talked about him would thompson be what he is today? one really can’t say, it’s possible that he would have dropped it (though unlikely), though in my view it’s more likely he would be louder, and perhaps actually have followers because of the "If there is no opposition to his view, it must be right" attitude of the Amarican public

  40. beemoh says:

    …didn’t Lowestein himself say once that the Jack problem was because they spent too long ignoring him, and not providing a voice for the other side? Or was that someone else?


  41. Father Time says:

    The UN building attracts tourists at the very least.

    Remember remember the 25th of September. Twas the day Jack Thompson was disbarred.

  42. cppcrusader says:

    Its not surprising that Lowenstein made those comments.  He never fought back against Thompson, if it hadn’t been for the game press trying to take him to task on his nonsense he may have been accepted by more mainstream outlets as a credibile source.

    Lowenstein just wants to toss blame at the game press for picking up his slack.

  43. Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis of Jack Thompson says:

    OBJECTION!!! Irrelevant!



  44. Mr. Stodern says:

    All I have to say is that I completely agree with you Dennis. Seriously, you said everything that I’ve been thinking for some time now.

  45. Loudspeaker says:

    Dennis I 100% agree with you and I’d like to add to what you’ve already stated.

    I’ve read many replies from people here thinking Lowenstein was right.  That just ignoring JT would make him irrelevant.  Ignoring JT would just make him go away.  Those with this opinion haven’t been paying attention.

    John Bruce Thompson has been using the SAME tactics for 30 years now.  He was empowered for 30 years because those who practiced law and dealt with him felt it was easier to just ignore him than get further involved with turning him in for his antics.  So, in essence, those who ran across his ire all those years ago and did nothing are truly the people who empowered him long before he took up a crusade against violent video games.

    Here is but one example:

    The game press did something no one else ever had when it came to JT…  They encouraged those who were embattled with JT to come forward and bring complaints to the Florida Bar in mass.  They begged the question, "How long do you stay silent before doing something?".  They got that question answered.  For 30 years JT has harrased, bullied, and terrorized anyone who stood in his path.  The real truth here is Doug Lowenstein didn’t have the courage to stand up to John Bruce Thompson and bring his unprofessional antics to light.  Doug Lowenstein is a coward who is now trying to blame others for his shortcomings.

    "Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

  46. lumi says:

    I want to throw something out in response to the people claiming that people have already made up their minds about video games based on the media they watch.

    That is to say, "People who read GP already support VGs and hate Thompson and know he’s a liar, and people who watch Fox News already hate video games, don’t read GP or other gaming media sites,  and believe Thompson regardless of what we say."

    This is woefully short-sighted, because there is a very non-trivial third group.  There are many people out there who simply don’t recognize the ridiculous bias of the various news channels, including Fox and NewsCorp.  They watch the news without applying the appropriate leftwing/rightwing filters.  They’re not stupid, they just aren’t exposed to the more insidious truths about these groups that some of us are.

    And these people do vote.  They do get politically involved to some degree or another.  To say that the gaming media is only preaching to the choir is disingenuous.  Even word of mouth of the readers here can have an impact.

    When in doubt, assume that the guy next to you doesn’t know as much as you when it comes to things like this.  Better to spread the word and find out someone beat you to it than to assume everyone knows and then be shocked/disappointed/upset when it turns out not to be true.

  47. Bennett Beeny says:

    Oranges and Lemons is a different rhyme.  It goes:

    "Oranges and lemons", say the bells of St. Clement’s
    "You owe me five farthings", say the bells of St. Martin’s
    "When will you pay me?" say the bells of Old Bailey
    "When I grow rich", say the bells of Shoreditch
    "When will that be?" say the bells of Stepney
    "I do not know", says the great bell of Bow
    Here comes a candle to light you to bed
    And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

    Some people believe it has to do with the execution of King Charles I.

  48. Bennett Beeny says:

    I also have to weigh in here on behalf of England.  English people know the rhyme far better than they know that mediocre film.

  49. Blu300 says:

    I thought it was:

    Remember Remember the fifth of November,

    Gunpowder treason and plot.

    Was Guy Fawkes a devil, the Stuarts all Saints,

    Are we glad that we stopped him or not? 

  50. Father Time says:

    Does that really say ‘Holla boys’, or do you pronounce it differently? Or and do you know the origins of that rhyme from 1984?

    You know the ones (grabs book)

    "Oranges and lemons say the bells of St. Clemens

    You owe me three farthings say the bells of St. Martin’s"

    There might be a second one in the book too, not sure if this is the same rhyme or not (And I’m not going to read the entire book again to find out)

    "Under the spreading chestnut tree

    I sold you and you sold me

    There lie they, and here lie we

    Under the spreading chestnut tree"

    Anyway, that’s the origin of the quote? I feel like I need to change my sig now. Ok give me a minute, and I’ll have a quote from the funniest site on the internet (whatever you think it is you’re wrong). I wish I could revive the site but I don’t know all the coding I’ll need. Anyway how’s this.

    "God created alcohol so that the Scottish and the Irish could never take over the world." -Chris Knight

  51. Austin_Lewis says:

    Apparently, most of you don’t know the real rhyme.
    Its not a rhyme honoring Guy Fawkes, it was one damning both him and the Catholic faith.

    Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder Treason and Plot to surrender,
    I know of no reason
    Why the Gunpowder Treason
    Should ever be forgot.
    Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
    To blow up King and Parli’ment.
    Three-score barrels of powder below
    To prove old England’s overthrow;
    By God’s providence he was catch’d
    With a dark lantern and burning match.
    Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
    Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

    This is the part of the poem/children’s rhyme that most people know.  It’s still taught in most British schools today.  However, there is a second part, one that has been removed from what is taught in most schools.

    A penny loaf to feed the Pope
    A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.
    A pint of beer to rinse it down.
    A fagot of sticks to burn him.
    Burn him in a tub of tar.
    Burn him like a blazing star.
    Burn his body from his head.
    Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.
    Hip hip hoorah!
    Hip hip hoorah hoorah!

    As we can see, the rhyme isn’t about revolution or change, its about the death of a man who personified those things, and the hatred of the Church of England and the King for the Catholic Faith at the time that Guy Fawkes made his attempt at changing history.

  52. scribe999 says:

    They still celebrate Guy Fawkes Day in Britain. I imagine you speak for the U.S., but in the U.K. it’s not just an old rhyme, it’s still a modern holiday. Alan Moore used a nursery rhyme that English school children learn, even if it seems shiny and new to Americans.

    Also, Guy Fawkes was a Catholic Englishman who plotted to blow up Parliament due to, ahem, religious differences…in a sense, Jack Thompson could be, conceivably, a spiritual successor to the real, historical Guy, not the pro-anarchy, anti-fascist character called ‘V’ created by Alan Moore, nor the slightly watered down version of the ‘terrorist’ portrayed in the film, but rather the religious zealot willing to go to extreme lengths to get his viewpoint across. This is the danger of losing the historically accurate origin when presenting those lines.

    While V for Vendetta is a fantastic graphic novel, and an okay film translation of said graphic novel, "pretty much anyone" may only be a SMALL percentage of people who know at least the basic origins of the rhyme.

    So please

    Remember, remember the fifth of November
    Gunpowder, treason and plot.
    I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot.


  53. Alteffor says:

    Yeah, I know the actual quote is much older, but pretty much anyone who uses it nowadays does so in reference to V for Vendetta.


  54. scribe999 says:

    Just to clarify, the original rhyme is the traditional used to commemorate Guy Fawkes Day, the man who tried to blow up Parliament. V for Vendetta used the Guy Fawkes motiff thematically (and as V’s mask), but the quote is far older than the movie, or the graphic novel the movie is based on.

  55. Father Time says:

    Well Jt isn’t dead yet and there was one censor who’s ideas pretty much died with her (She had a crusade against D&D). And the quote reminded of a revolution so … yeah. Well do you have any other ideas?

    Remember remember the 25th of September. Twas the day Jack Thompson was disbarred.

  56. Alteffor says:

    Worst place to quote V for Vendetta. You do remember that quote was establishing the fact that a man could be caught and killed but his idea could still change the world. Sound similiar in any way to this situation?

    Still, sweet movie.

  57. Baruch_S says:

    You’re a journalist. You’re entitled to write an opinion piece every now and again, especially when it’s an issue that’s had a huge effect on your job and personal life.

  58. Father Time says:

    Why must you incite Godwin’s law?


    God created alcohol so that the Scottish and the Irish could never take over the world. -Chris ‘Jedi’ Knight

  59. Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis of Jack Thompson says:

    Personally, Dennis, I don’t blame you. Him ignoring JT is like those people trying to appease Hitler.



  60. Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis of Jack Thompson says:

    Don’t know about that. Don’t speak of it again.



  61. TBoneTony says:

    GP and other gaming sites were the only real media to speek out against Jack Thompson and his bashings to the Videogame Industry.

    Most would ignore it,

    but Jack had a way to persway people who did not know much about Videogames into believing in him.

    And it was only for a few Gaming sites and also Rockstar who had to put up allot of shit from Thompson’s lawsuits who were the ones to spoke out and finally gave Thompson what he deserved,

    Perminent Disbarrment.

  62. Unklebeavis says:

    Doug Lowenstein is a pussy.  That kind of behavior and comments is comparable to the nerd at school who gets punked daily, gets tired of swirlies, and settles it with a mass shooting.  Doug you should be ashamed of yourself,  if you ever grew a pair and stood up for your constituents you wouldn’t have been Jack Thompson’s bitch. Instead you wait until he’s been figuratively locked up, and strut around like you kicked his ass.  You are the Fred Durst of the Media, I can’t stand posers like you.  This automatically nominates you for the douche of the year awards.  By the way how does Jack Thompson’s ass taste, you’re qualified to answer, because you’ve been kissing it long enough.

  63. MasterAssassin says:

    Lowenstein is a straight up idiot

    If he had done something back after Columbine happened to call out this douche bag, we would not have had to deal with him for almost a decade. Shame on you Doug for accusing the gaming press of building the monster you helped to create by doing nothing. People may have been able to see this guy for the crackpot that he was if Doug had taken action to call him out after Columbine happened.

  64. Father Time says:

    The greatest comeback to that line was and still is:

    "Nobody shoots anybody in the face unless they’re a hitman or a gamer"

    or vice president.

    I don’t remember who came up with that but they won the internet on that day.


    God created alcohol so that the Scottish and the Irish could never take over the world. -Chris ‘Jedi’ Knight

  65. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    I love that line "Nobody shoots anybody in the face unless they’re a hitman or a gamer"


    Or that Amy Fisher lady.


    -Remember kids, personal responsibility is for losers! Jack Thompson is gone, but we are not done… Not yet.

  66. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    The poor handling of the Mass Effect smear was Gallagher’s fault. That’s not to say that Doug couldn’t have spoken up on his own, but overall that was Gallagher’s fault. He had the resources and everything and he didn’t do shit.


    -Remember kids, personal responsibility is for losers! Jack Thompson is gone, but we are not done… Not yet.

  67. shaoron says:

    His personal attacks on industry figures and his many documented online flame wars with youngsters helped to damage whatever credibility he may have been able to forge.

    The only credibility he has is on the weak, stupid and ignorant minds.

  68. Neo_DrKefka says:


    I object completely. Thompson is a nut case, we all know this. Problem is he should have been called out for his mess a long time ago but wasn’t. The gaming community single handedly helped Thompson dig his own grave.
    Should we have ignored and let Thompson continue his antics. This is the man who pretty much attacked rap artists and almost had them put in jail violating their freedom of speech. This is the guy who pretty much had a huge stake on taking Stern off the air. Well, I don’t like Stern himself I Thompson unprofessionally held a crusade against various organizations. Not to mention when he handed the note to Janet Reno asking her to literally check if she is gay or straight.
    He needed to be called back and so does the ECA
  69. Trevor McGee says:

    Doug Lowenstein and anyone who thinks like him are naive fools. Sure, maybe giving him the attention and coverage that he wanted gave him some power. But if he had gone on ignored by gaming media it would have given him far greater power than acknowledging him did.

    Ignoring him would have made him look more credible to the outside world, without confronting him and constantly calling him on his bullshit we wouldn’t have had the ammunition we needed to expose him for the slimy scum bag that he really is. With mainstream news he could say anything he wanted about the video game medium and gotten away with it because no one knew any better to call him out on it, but not with the gaming media. The gaming media knew that what he was spewing were nothing more than lies and misconceptions, and because of the more notable gaming media some of the mainstream media started to catch on to this guy’s act.

    Putting him in the spot light exposed him! Keeping him in the dark leaves his true nature concealed and would have left his "good guy, do it for the children" act the only thing we see.

    Think about it. Say someone believes something is one way, when it’s completely the opposite of what they think. If you don’t give them the facts that they need to prove to them that they are incorrect, they will go on continuing to believe the false reality that they’ve been taught. For instance, the lies many anti-video game people speak about how youth violence is on the rise and is worse than ever, crap like that. If you actually took the time and showed them the FBI’s studies that show youth crime and violence has been on the decline since like 1993, well, they don’t really have much to argue about do they? Well, not without looking like a completely ignorant fool, but by then they’ve already lost any credibility that they might have had. Same can be applied to Jack Thompson. The people who believe in what he was saying can be shown the facts and set straight. But to do that you need to actually acknowledge Thompson to get the truth about him.

    Ignoring Jack Thompson would have been the worst thing the gaming media could have done.


  70. Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis of Jack Thompson says:

    Lowenstein: This was expected! This is normal!

    Me: Normal? THIS… IS… BULLSHIT!!!

    *I (Falcon) kick Lowenstein into a bottomless pit*

    (Not actual conversation, but I think you get the idea.)



  71. thefremen says:

     In the LJ days, it became abundantly clear that all you had to do to aggrevate Thompson was be alive and play video games. Video Gamers that don’t kill people are an affront to his reality, as offensive to him as showing a mental patient who thinks they are Abe Lincoln a newspaper about Lincoln being long dead. 


    Trolling him is just easy and fun.

  72. Vake Xeacons says:

     But it gave us ammo to fight JT with: his bad record. 

    I don’t blame Doug for turning the other cheek; he had bigger problems to deal with (cough) lieberman (cough) clinton (cough). But he did need to keep an eye on JT like we did. 

  73. VideolandHero says:

    Nice article GP!

    I think it went both ways.  Yes, Jack Thompson dug his own grave with his behavior and his antics for the past few years.  I also believe online gamers kept pushing him around, including Dennis and the visitors of GamePolitics.  I have read every article starting mid 2007 (I just now made an account), and every day there are people talking bad about Jack Thompson and making harassing comments about him, even if the article didn’t have anytrhing to do with him.  Dennis sometimes wrote about Thompson at times when he didn’t do anything (articles like the Janet Reno story from 20 years ago).

    I’m not trying to be mean.  GamePolitics is cool and everything, but don’t be a hypocrite.


    EDIT: The ESA shouldn’t be talking, because they don’t stand up to anybody except pirates.

    — Official Protector of Videoland!

  74. DeepThorn says:

    that guy can disappear off of the face of the Earth with JT with comments like that, and i still wouldnt care…

  75. SS says:

    Nice pissed off article GP.  I enjoyed reading it.  The ESA allowed JT to flourish because they just ignored him.

  76. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    We all know JT feeds off of people covering his atrocities and gets off on it. That sucks, but it would be far worse to not cover him at all and have people thinking he’s one of the good guys.

    And the line: "Making Thompson what he became" is shockingly close to the accusations that "games made *insert name of psychotic killer here* what he became".

    Most of all though, what the fuck did the god damned ESA do to try and keep him down? Hell, I’m almost more angry at the ESA than JT for not stepping up sooner.


    We still have a lot to go through before the politicians and the holier than thou "moral crusaders" give up the ghost and recognize that in the end, it all comes down to people and choices. For that, we need a stronger ESA, or a new organization to do what they should have always been doing.


    -Remember kids, personal responsibility is for losers! For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007) Just to name a few…

  77. Vake Xeacons says:

    Kudos to GamePolitics for putting up with JT’s crap and Lowenstein’s. 

    Although I see where’s he’s coming from. JT thrived because people paid attention to him; that’s why the ESA ignored him. But his campaign (if you could call it that) wasn’t the gaming press, especially not ECA’s, fault. 

    It was Fox, and CBS, and ABC, and several other major news networks that considered JT a reliable source. Eventually, all but Fox saw through him, but that’s who JT was getting his steam from: non-gamers who would listen. 

    It’s good that GamePolitics, as well as many other game sites and mags, covered JT and his misguided attempts at legislation. It gave us ammo against him.

    Doug is half-right (50% = F). Press coverage was JT’s power, but it came from those that thought him a noble crusader. Not the gaming press, who saw him for what he truly was: a bully, a blowhard, and an idiot.

  78. Father Time says:

    Yeah but they did give us an impeccable court record, but there hasn’t been another piece of legislation pop up in a while. Probably because there is a lot more important stuff to deal with right now.

    Remember remember the 25th of September. Twas the day Jack Thompson was disbarred.

  79. Neo_DrKefka says:

    Oh wow, ESA and they’re wonderful logic. How many more game companies are removing themselves from the ESA? Obviously they are all a bunch of hacks who really have not helped gamers or the preception of gamers.  We need a new lobbying body

  80. Father Time says:

    Hey wait besides people Thompson worked with weren’t Rockstar the only people to fight Thompson in an instance where they weren’t dragged into court by him? Oh well, why play the blame game now that Thompson’s is disbarred? It would’ve been more appropriate when he was still doing something.

    Remember remember the 25th of September. Twas the day Jack Thompson was disbarred.

  81. Tarosan says:

    He clearly doesn’t know about the ECA then and well how we atm have got an advantage over the anti video game movement and Jack Thompson who has less bite now that he’s pretty much up shit creek without a paddle… i’m so tempted to do an audio file and kick him where it REALLY hurts.

    When Life gives you lemons, you find a new god.

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