Game Politics (gamepolitics) wrote,

GP EXCLUSIVE: National Institute on Media & Family Disavows Jack Thompson

It appears that Jack Thompson's act is wearing thin lately, and not just among gamers.

GamePolitics has obtained a hard copy of a blistering letter faxed to the Miami attorney on Thursday by Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family.

Walsh has been a leading critic of video game violence, and stood beside Senator Hillary Clinton during her Hot Coffee press conference in July as Mrs. Clinton called for an FTC investigation into Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

The two-page document sent by Walsh to Thompson reads as follows:

"Dear Mr. Thompson,

I founded the National Institute on Media and the Family ten years ago to engage in research and education about the effects of media on children's health and development. Our original premise that "media are powerful" has been validated scientifically and socially many times over. Our work has been cited by organizations around the world and our credibility has been well established.

One of the areas of greatest concern is the issue of violent media's effect on children. I know that you share that common concern and I am well aware that you have frequently cited me and our organization as a source of scientific information. However, over the past few months, I and members of my board have a growing concern that your use of our name, without our permission, has had a negative influence as we try to educate the public on this important issue.

Your commentary has included extreme hyperbole and your tactics have included personally attacking individuals for whom I have a great deal of respect. I believe that respect is essential in all our dealings, including respect for those with whom we disagree. Some of the people that you have publicly criticized are not only people of integrity, but are people who have worked to improve the lives of children.

Even though we have no formal relationship your use of my name and your inclusion of my name in correspondence have created the impression that we condone these tactics. We do not. The result is that our position and reputation as a research based, non-partisan, solution-focused organization has been jeopardized. Consequently, I ask that you cease using the Institute's or my name in any way that would give the impression that we support your efforts. I also ask that you remove the link to our website that appears on your site.

Sincerely,

David Walsh, PH.D."

EDITOR'S NOTE: cc's listed on the letter include Senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, Sam Brownback and Rick Santorum; the governor and attorney general of Minnesota, Bill Gates, the CEO's of Target and Best Buy, Pat Vance of the ESRB, Doug Lowenstein of the ESA, as well as several other Minnesota political figures.

GP tried to reach Jack Thompson (pictured at left) for comment. However neither a phone message nor an e-mail was returned by press time.

UPDATE 10/14 8:30 A.M. Thompson acknowledges receiving the letter, and GP has received a pair of response letters from the controversial attorney to Dr. David Walsh. We will be publishing them.

Tags: nimf, thompson, walsh
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