Jack Attack on GamePolitics, Part 4: The Bookstorm

July 25, 2007 -


Part 4 of 4

Background: Controversial anti-game attorney Jack Thompson went on the attack against GamePolitics in an interview with the obscure PopZart site during the week of E3. 

In my third year of running GP, I’ve grown accustomed to Thompson’s criticism, but this attack was so remarkably personal in nature that I feel compelled to respond.

You may also want to read part one, The Demonizing, part two, Game Industry Stooge and part three, Raising The Bar. Part four, The Bookstorm, follows.

Picking up where we left off in Part 3, we resume by quoting another of Thompson's accusations from the PopZart article:

JT: McCauley even went so far as to link his site to my Tyndale House book offering at Amazon.com to assure that it would be "bookstormed."  The number of obscene postings at my book offering there were so voluminous because of what McCauley did that Amazon had to delete many of them.  McCauley is simply a tool of this industry, then, and its too bad, because the guy has talent and has a sense of what is news.  What he lacks is any sense of fairness when it comes to Jack Thompson.



GP:  This is an absolutely, utterly, false accusation which Thompson has repeated numerous times, including to PopZart. Here's the truth:

Back in 2005 GP's only source of revenue was a pittance from Amazon affiliate ads. You know - someone clicks through and buys a book, GP earns a few pennies. Thompson's book Out of Harm's Way was to be published in mid-November, 2005. Thinking that it might be a good seller among GP readers, I posted an Amazon ad for it, pre-publication, in early September. For three months that ad ran and Thompson never complained. Why would he? He was getting free advertising.

When the book finally launched in mid-November, people certainly did post nasty things on its Amazon page. I actively discouraged that on GamePolitics and even wrote a charitable commentary on the book at one point, for which Thompson thanked me. All of this from the guy who, in Thompson's words, "lacks any sense of fairness when it comes to Jack Thompson."

Timing is crucial to understanding what happened next, and how this outrageous "bookstorming" accusation suddenly materialized. Thompson's book was published on November 14th, 2005, and the nasty Amazon posts started almost immediately, but the  bizarre "bookstorming" charges against GP didn't surface until nearly three weeks later, on December 1st. Why?

It's impossible to know for sure what triggered the sudden turnaround, but Thompson may have become angry with me over two stories - one that I wrote, and one that I didn't. It's also possible that he became even more frustrated when I was unable to take his phone calls. 

All I know is that from September 1st until the late afternoon of December 1st, Thompson was fine with his book being advertised on GamePolitics. What caused him to suddenly begin making these outlandish allegations? Here's the timeline. You decide...

Sept. 1, 2005 - GamePolitics begins running pre-publication Amazon ad for Thompson’s book

Nov. 15. 2005 - GamePolitics announces Thompson’s book is now for sale; posts first chapter; negative comments start to appear on Amazon

Nov. 16th, 2005 - I admonish GP readers who are discussing some mischief against Thompson's book ("I won't have a book burning advocacy here, no matter whose book it is.")

Nov. 25th, 2005 - Having now skimmed the book I write my generalized impressions; Thompson posts a thank-you

Nov. 30, 2005 - Book ad has run on GP for 90 days – no complaints from Thompson

Dec. 1st, 6:45 AM - GP runs a story about a service promoting Thompson as a radio talk show guest; Within hours Thompson will take exception to this item

Dec. 1st, 2005, 9:59 AM - via e-mail, Thompson offers GamePolitics an op-ed, “Hillary’s Video Game Hoax,” which is his response to GP's  Nov. 29th coverage of game legislation introduced by Sen. Hillary Clinton

Dec. 1st, 2005, 12:43 PM - Thompson posts response on GP to the radio bookings piece; chides GP for not running Hillary story; vows to quit visiting GP.com

Dec. 1st, 2005, 12:48 PM - First of six voice mails left this day by Thomspon; chides GP over bookings article and not covering Thompson's Hillary op-ed

(these voice mail recordings were left on my office phone by Thompson on December 1st, 2005; they were digitized and saved)

Dec. 1st, 2005, 1:28 PM - GP, busy on those oh-so-annoying non-GamePolitics segments of life, posts a brief response to Thompson; but no time to respond to Thompson's phone calls

Dec. 1st, 2005, 2:15 PM - second of six voice mails left by Thompson

(in these voice mails Thompson seems to believe he's talking to an answering machine on which I'm screening calls; he's actually talking to Verizon's voice mail service, which I use for my office phone. I can't hear a word he's saying until I get around to checking messages)

Dec. 1st, 2005, 2:27 PM - third of six voice mails left by Thompson (as a courtesy to Thompson, we've blocked his recitation of his phone number with a tone)

Dec. 1st, 2005, 2:32 PM - fourth of six voice mails left by Thompson (ditto, regarding JT's phone number)

Dec. 1st, 2005, 2:48 PM - fifth of six voice mails left by Thompson

Dec. 1st, 2005, 4:24 PM - last of six voice mails left by Thompson ("I'm done with you... you're a hack...")

Dec. 1st, 2005, 4:32 PM - Eight minutes after his final, angry voice mail, Thompson’s FIRST EVER attack on the GP Amazon ad materializes via e-mail to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, cc’d to GP: Tortious, Possibly Criminal Activity at Amazon.com...I would ask that you rescind from [GP] the privilege of linking to my book on your site.  The idiot videogamers who visit that site are not buying the book.  They and the owner of the site, Dennis McCauley, are using the link to “bookstorm” and spike the book.  I want it stopped now.

Dec. 1st, 2005, 5:54 PM to 7:19 PM - GP sends several e-mails to Thompson: "I can't tell you how disappointed I am that you would link my name with anything insidious … I would caution you not to blame your bad [book] reviews on me... I've been in and out of meetings all day and I can't talk to you on the phone...  FYI, as per your request, the ad for your book is gone from my site. To date, five copies were sold through GamePolitics - which probably makes us the world's leading referral site on your book."

Dec. 2nd, 2005, 6:07 PM - Thompson posts a lengthy tirade, vows never to return to GP (no such luck, unfortunately)... GP responds, admittedly with more heat than is my norm. But then again, I'd just been accused of this "bookstorming."

Dec. 3rd, 2005: Thompson sends an e-mail to newspapers that carry GP's column claiming that GP is misrepresenting himself; copies to media outlets; claims that GP is orchestrating bad reviews at Amazon, including the line, “I got McCauley to pull the [book] link this week, because I caught him doing this.”

Dec. 3rd, 2005: The truth being that I took the Amazon ad for his book down as a response to Thompson's request, I wasn't about to sit still while he claimed this courtesy as evidence of some wrongdoing on my part. I immediately reposted the book ad and left it up the entire month of December to prove the point. This did not go over well in Miami, to say the least.

The bottom line is simply this: If Jack Thompson makes people angry, that's not my fault. I can't control what people think about him or what they post on Amazon.com or anywhere else. I absolutely challenge Thompson to produce any evidence whatsoever that I encouraged an attack on his book. There isn't any evidence because it never happened. In fact, there's substantial evidence to the contrary.

Jack's parting shot at me from the PopZart article:
JT: These blogs like GamePolitics, where Dennis McCauley lets people hide behind anonymity, like big tough guys, casting their stones and then whining when I respond with what I think is the truth, with my name attached, kind of tells anyone who is willing to listen and hear who the mean-spirited anonymous cowards are.

GP: I assume he is referring to reader comments. What am I supposed to do about that? Did GP invent the anonymous Internet? Maybe Jack could take it up with his old law school classmate, Al Gore.

In the end, I must think back to Federal District Court Judge Paul Huck, who, in dismissing a recent case filed by Thompson against the Florida Bar, wrote:

Thompson submits nothing beyond wild accusations of a vast conspiracy against him…



Comments

@Jack Thompson
If I ever hear or read you saying hooah again, I will come to your office and yank your internet connection and phone line out of the wall.

HOOAH is a USARMY phrase. You don't know the meaning behind it, just like you don't know the hardship of such a life, so kindly shut your damn mouth fool.
Austin, Sane and you're a jackass.

ok i noticed those...i just thought someone was able to listen to them??

my bad!

@cullarn - I will do the best I can for that, but I don't have the same access to FL Supreme Court (where JT's trial will take place) as I do with the Federal Courts.

Don't worry, I'll figure out some coverage

http://jack.thompson.justgotowned.com

I remember the commercials that used to say "A mind is a terrible thing to waste"

There is no better example of the tragedy of a wasted mind than Mr. Jack Thompson...

How tiring.

what is all this talk about phone calls people keep talking about?

Hilary: go back to the article. Dennis links a total of six voice mail messages that he'd received from Jack back in the day.

Those phone calls are hillarious. He sounds more like Jack Torrance from 'The Shining'. It makes me wonder if anyone else out there has such recordings. As part of a set, they could do wonders for the BAR hearing regarding his professionalism and conduct.

He's got to be worried right now that he's going to wind up without a license.


Dennis - I will voice my support once more for your website and journalism. I don't always agree with the amount of ink dedicated to some people and issues, but I can at least trust that you are posting the most factual information that you can accumulate. Keep up the good work and don't let the b*****d grind you down.

Seems like more and more harassment and slander by Jack Tohmpson.

@Erik
"Okay we have wrath there. Now add that to the pride and greed. Come on Jack four more to go! You can do it!"
Don't forget Sloth, seeing as he still has yet to create JackandGoliath.com

this is a question (

this is a question (probably a stupid one) for gp.

your going to cover as much of the procedure on jackys hearing right?

"IIRC, when Jack was using his wife as a playing the sympathy card, Kurisu emailed him saying his wife was also in a bout with cancer and pulled through and that he understands what Jack was going through etc. and Jack replied saying he wished Kurisu’s wife died simply because she’s a gamer."

Okay we have wrath there. Now add that to the pride and greed. Come on Jack four more to go! You can do it!

@Cavalier

Oh yeah, you got a point there.

By the way, Jack's court date... is that September 16th? Cause that's my birthday and would be a TOTALLY awesome present to have Jack disbarred on the anniversary of my birth. Oh man, I'd toast champagne to that while singing "Ding Dong the Dork is Dead!" :D

Seriously though, I can't help but wonder what his wife and kid think about his crusade.

~Otaku-Man

@hilaryduffgta
IIRC, when Jack was using his wife as a playing the sympathy card, Kurisu emailed him saying his wife was also in a bout with cancer and pulled through and that he understands what Jack was going through etc. and Jack replied saying he wished Kurisu's wife died simply because she's a gamer.

@kurisu7885
I forget the full details but do you still have that email mentioned above?

damn, the "using his wife as a" part of the text was supposed to be in strikeout

Sorry Phantom,
I was just saying that I'm proud not to be John Bruce.

John Bruce sees himself as an honorable, ethical, intelligent attorney.

Based on his model, himself, of "attorney", I wouldn't want to be his kind of attorney either.

So, no, I wasn't talking about attornies in general. We have several good ones who hang around here in fact.

None of them would I use John Bruce's model of "attorney" to describe either.

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software

@E. Zachary Knight:

I think he only 'selectively' read The Bible.

@StepForward:

I'll bring the beer!

he never told me to get good at suicide games but he proclaimed it was childish and immature to destroy something (his book, for charity) you don't agree with, then in the next sentence said he was going to destroy Rockstar and Take-Two.

oh and i do remember posting on amazon about his book after i read it at border's (there's two hours of my life i wont ever get back)


jack's a hack and will always be a hack!

so am i the only one he told to go buy a suicide game to or was it to other people also?

Im an attorney and your not!

Lmao Man that was the funniest thing i've read all day

Well, that does it. After reading this four parter about Jack Thompson, I can't keep giving this guy the benefit of the doubt.

All I can say is, at least New Jersey doesn't have to worry about a quack like him. Our state has enough problems as it is.

That's all I can say about that, since no words can describe how much he gives lawyers a bad name.

cullarn: Remember the voice mails? The man loves Dennis. That's why he keeps evading IP ban, that's why he keeps leaving voice mails, that's why he singles out GP more than anything else.

He's like the guy that keeps sending love letters and calling his ex-girlfriend in the face of a break-up begging for her back.

that should say punches (ive got to start proofreading!!!)

a thought hit me how come i only see jt arguing at this site, there are numerous legal blogs taking the same punhces (sometimes harsher than gp) how come i have never seen him post at on of those?

afraid to challenge a real lawyer ?

you truly are a pathetic little man

LOL I didn't even spot Jack's Shakespeare quote, was too busy responding to the 'casual comment' one. That's a somewhat amusing irony.

@jt

if you want better book sales write a better book

(Usually posting as Mnementh2230)

@ Gamepolitics

Great 4-parter. I appreciated and enjoyed all of it. Thank you for getting everything on the record. I especially liked the timeline.

And isn't Jack banned? Or did he figure out proxies?

@ Jack Thompson

So what if we're not legal professionals? Have you shown much professionalism lately?

Dennis goes and rebutts you (with his explanation why RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING OF EVERY PIECE IN THE 4-PART ARTICLE) in what could easily be called an editorial piece OR investigative reporting. That's right Jack, it's still journalism. The fact that Dennis (and the rest of us for that matter) are fact checking you and refuting your lies just upsets you, so you lash out like a child who's been caught in a lie. You attempt misdirection/distraction (see your first post here - completly irrelivant to the subject) and then blame-shifting (another form of misdirection, commonly used in psychological handling of volatile people - see blaming Dennis for something rather than owning up to your own short-comings). It's all rather childish. Dennis has explained himself, his reasons for doing this, and has evidence to back up his statements. You've got... a losing track record, multiple bills shot down on constitutional grounds, multiple Bar investigations for conduct unbecoming an attorney, and (albeit from secondary evidence) questionable sanity. I pity you and your family for what you're inflicting on them.

You don't even have refutation for the lies we revealed yesterday regarding your innacurate accusations of GP not giving us full disclosure (another attempt at misdirection, by the way... but who's counting?)

Also, the term "hooah" is pretty insulting, considering you're not a Marine. Unless you've spent the time serving your country, you've not EARNED the right to use it in the manner that you do. You've not shed the blood and sweat, nor shown the strength of character necessary to use that term. You expose your ignorance and lack of moral fiber by said use.

@ Andrew Eisen

That. Rocked.
If I weren't living in Australia (US Citizen living abroad ATM), I might have beat you to the punch on the Shakespear quote... but I doubt it. Nicely done.

Its just a book, Jack Thompson. Whats wrong with gamers looking at your book? I mean I know why you get negative comments because they know that your putting a BUNCH of lies in the book and what you said that made the gamers really angry like this:

“nobody shoots anybody in the face unless you’re a hit man or a video gamer.”

Yeah, I'm a gamer along with thousands of gamers out there. Just because we play videogames doesn't mean that we're terrorist, like you said after someone brought flowers on your doorway.

If you try banning the good stuff like Anime and Manga, everyone in America will hate you.

And let the people speak, I heard that you sue Kotaku for just "Dissecting your lies" which its just plain stupid and even stupider when you screw-up.

And don't even try sueing me for what I said. I'm just telling you that you did was STUPID.

If you going to write another book, you should put:

Jack Thompson, the Ass Attorney Who Lies

Keep the names coming, pixelantes! I'll kick your butts and take names.

Thanks and hooah!!

Tack Jhomson, Fake Attorney, and You're Not

(Also known as Archgabe)

Jack, I have never hid behind annonnimity. If you wanted my name, all you had to do is ask. I will not give you my address or phone number because I don't want to be harassed by you. I have my own life that I apreciate you not trying to interfere with. If you really wanted to disscuss with me or anyone here anything on your position you would not troll the comments page. If you changed your attitude and stopped acting like a child that didn't get his icecream then I might be inclined to talk. Of cource since you have my name I am sure you can find a way to contact me if you really cared about my opinon.

Also:

Jack Thompson:

Your still just a lawyer, and still just a pest.
Guess what JT, I don't WANT to be a lawyer or attorney, I'd rather have a life thank you very much.

After reading the first chapter of JT's book, it's obvious he's not only egotistic but also paranoid.

Read that even when he failed his bar exam the first time, he blamed everyone but himself.

I don't know about anyone else, but even at the age of 19, I know if I mess up, the only person who's fault it is, is my own.

@ Nightwng2000

Be fair. Jack's not a fair representation of most attorneys. I know quite a few, and they're all very polite, rational people. Jack's a bad example, but at least he probably won't remain one for much longer.

[...] YouTube Link to Article verizon Jack Attack on GamePolitics, Part 4: The Bookstorm » Posted at GamePolitics.com on Wednesday, July 25, 2007 Part 4 of 4 Background: Controversial anti-game attorney Jack Thompson went on the attack against GamePolitics in an interview with the obscure PopZart site during the week of E3.  In my third year of running GP, I’ve grown accustomed to Thompson’s criticism, View Entire Article » [...]

Crazies are kind of fun to watch.

There's no such thing as 'passing comments' in print Jack, that's the whole purpose of writing, to nail the 'passing' into the permanent, that's why laws are written down and not passed by word of mouth, because they have permanence.

You know this, you are a lawyer, as you keep reminding us.

"Jack Thompson, Attorney and You're not"

Why thank you! What a sweet compliment!

It's so nice to know that I'm not a bigoted, dishonorable, unethical, demon worshiping, piece of guttertrash like you.

How nice of you to say so! :)

Nightwng2000
NW2K software

@ Malevolent:

To make it better, let's write in to these news shows and remind them they had Jack on their shows, then inform them of Jack's disbarrment. The media needs a good slap in the face, IMO.

Bayushisan has it right. Do not bundle this guy in with Christians. He acts very unChristianly.

I'd love to see when he gets disbarred that all the news teams that had him on to talk about anything videogame related apologizes for the misinformation he represented on their show.

Also to show support in his well being i think that when and if he is subject to this physc testing and fails i think we should all visit him and give encouragement to make it and climb out of this proverbial meriadas trench he's digging.

I'm coming back from a self imposed sabatical to talk comment on a few things.

Mr. Thompson- Time and time again you resort to tactics of the lowest common denominator. You attack people personally and bring their families into an argument and then throw a fit when the same is done to you (though personally I think its wrong for EITHER side to get that carried away).

Those are not the actions of a Christian Mr. Thompson. See I've read the Bible myself and I don't recall a "be mean" Commandment anywhere in either the Old or New Testaments. You're a bully plain and simple. More than that you're a product of a sue happy society content to let others do the thinking for them.

Dennis I applaud the decorum you've shown in your responses. I'm sure I could have done the same. Thank you for being our voice Dennis.

[...] Wesley Clark Link to Article al gore Jack Attack on GamePolitics, Part 4: The Bookstorm » Posted at GamePolitics.com on Wednesday, July 25, 2007 Part 4 of 4 Background: Controversial anti-game attorney Jack Thompson went on the attack against GamePolitics in an interview with the obscure PopZart site during the week of E3.  In my third year of running GP, I’ve grown accustomed to Thompson’s criticism, View Entire Article » [...]

The more he does this, the more stuff we'll see about him on youtube, oy.

GamePolitics: I noticed the last link posted was invalid. Are you able to correct it?
http://gamepolitics.com/2007/02/03/jack-thompson-faces-florida-bar-disci...

Time and time again, Jack has proven that he doesn't know what he is talking about. To me, the man isn't worthy of being recognized.

@Dan
"What does “bookstorm” mean? I checked google definitions, urban dictionary and even wikipedia and I can’t find a definition anywhere."

It doesn't appear to be be a common term yet, or maybe Thompson's just using the wrong words to describe things.

I'm assuming it refers to some of the abuses that can be managed with Amazon's review system. In addition to loading a book down with bad reviews, you can apparently play with the automated recommendation system in a way sort of like googlebombing that the "If you liked this book, you might also like:" thing links to books the author would find objectionable. At least I recall hearing something like that when his book came out that is the only thing I can think of JT could be referring to.

Jack is an ass, has always been an ass and because he wrote a book it just proves he's an ass who's being an ass to make money. what an ass.

@Otaku -

The trouble with comparing him to Quixote is: Quixote had style and some sort of moral code that he actually, y'know, adhered to.

I meant the JT impersonator....
 
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