In a story broken exclusively here on GamePolitics, Miami attorney and self-described "anti-game crusader" Jack Thompson was publicly shunned by Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family late last week.
Thompson, seething over the slight, has contacted Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) to express his frustration with Walsh. Why Lieberman? Of the numerous political figures and industry types cc:'d on the NIMF letter, Thompson told GP last evening that he most valued the opinion of the Connecticut senator. Lieberman has, after all, been in the forefront of video game content issues for more than a decade. GP has confirmed that a member of Lieberman's staff received the letter, which follows:
Dear Senator Lieberman:
I received late last Thursday a remarkably false and hurtful letter from someone who is a friend of yours and who used to be a friend of mine, Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family. Two people who got Walsh's letter are you and Doug Lowenstein of the ESA. Therein is the explanation of why it was really sent.
I have over the years repeatedly told Dr. Walsh of my admiration for his knowledge as to the harm caused by mature video games sold to minors. I have done nothing for years but praise him to others, especially those in the media. Dr. Walsh has gotten himself on plenty of prominent news shows about this issue on his own, but I got him on 60 Minutes this year and in Reader's Digest. Dave indicated that he was pleased that I did. Neither of us seeks the publicity for its own sake. We both care about the message. It will save lives.
The three of us, obviously, have shared this same concern about adult games sold to kids for a very long time. When you meet the bereaved families of these victims, they change your life forever, as did the families in Paducah whom I represented. Critics of the three of us don't understand our concern. They haven't met the victims.
The very day I sent Dave a draft of an affidavit for him to sign for our wrongful death case in Alabama, Dave, instead of calling me wrote this letter saying that I needed to stop suggesting publicly and otherwise that he endorses what I do. I have NEVER suggested such a thing, ever. Dave and I have joked about how he is the "good cop" on this issue, and I am the "bad cop."
But if Dave had a problem with my "tactics," I believe you and I both know, as people of faith, that the Biblical principle is that you go privately to the person with whom you have a disagreement and express the concern. Dave NEVER did that. Why?
You see, Senator, I am presently suing Best Buy and Target over Take-Two's planned release of Bully, a Columbine simulator in which you can bludgeon your classmates and teachers. I was on ABC World News Tonight and CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight about Bully and my lawsuit against these retailers. The stakes here are very high.
Dave's organization is funded by Target and Best Buy. Elliot Kaplan is a lawyer who defended Best Buy the last time I sued it successfully, and it is his foundation that, in Kaplan's words "has given millions of dollars to Dave Walsh." Kaplan is a director on the Board of Best Buy. You and I both learned to "follow the money" a long time ago. It can explain why friends write letters that have absolutely no basis in fact but which help those who fund them. Why else would Dave tell me publicly to stop doing something he could have asked me to do privately and which I have never done?
Dave copied you with that letter. He did that because he knew of my relationship with your office, how I have sat with your people the day we were both interviewed for Spencer Halpin's Moral Kombat documentary that is coming out this fall. I am deeply appreciative of your Chief of Staff's tremendous concern and interest in this issue. I have a lovely letter from you thanking me for my abiding involvement in this issue. Nobody here is saying you endorse my methods. You appreciate my concern.
Why did Dave Walsh send his letter to Doug Lowenstein - to make sure that it would be spread all over the world. That is precisely what has happened. You should hear the things Dave has said to me about Doug, about his prevarications. I think Doug is a liar. Dave is too nice a guy to say so publicly, but I am not. Doug Lowenstein, in my opinion, is personally responsible for a number of deaths. He is paid well to spin like the worst propagandists in history. I don't need to tell you the harm that propagandists can cause, the lives they can cost. The Third Reich was founded upon propaganda as surely as it was founded upon armaments. When Doug Lowenstein says the industry wants kids not to buy these games, he is lying. When he says there is no proof that these games hurt kids, he is lying. Dave would not say so. I say so. I'm not nice, and I don't pretend to be.
The reason Dave sent that letter is the same reason the Philadelphia law firm of Blank Rome has embarked on character assassination of me in our case in Alabama arising out of Take-Two's GTA games. Blank Rome has as one of its partners Barbara Comstock, the head of "opposition research" at the RNC. Blank Rome has unethically used her RNC techniques on me because they know they can't win this case, covered on 60 Minutes and in Reader's Digest on the merits, so they have cranked up their Swift Boat Vets approach and used it on me, with no facts to back them up. As Twain said, "A lie is half way around the world before the truth puts on its shoes." Dave Walsh's money people took a page out of the Blank Rome/RNC playbook. I am getting used to it. All it has accomplished is make me more determined to destroy the Take-Two's of the world, by God's grace.
Dave Walsh is a very nice man who blew this one. I happen to think there is room in the world for Dave's approach on games, but I also think somebody has to be willing to get in the trenches and slug it out with sociopaths. Take-Two's Mr. Houser proves in today's New York Times he is just such a sociopath.
With all respect, Dave's Annual Video Game Report Card has not slowed down Take-Two, has it? I have used lawsuits in the past to accomplish some very good things. I made enemies in the process. I am proud to count Doug Lowenstein as one of them.
I wish you all of God's best. I wish people like Take-Two all of Satan's worst. Dave Walsh would not say that, and that is part of his charm. Some of us were not called to be charming. I want to win this thing, not for my sake, but because lives are at stake.
That is what makes what Dave did so hurtful. Instead of calling me up and talking to me man to man, he wrote a letter to Doug Lowenstein.
Blessings, Jack Thompson