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Lowenstein: The press made Jack Thompson, covering him was a “cop out”

Saturday, 27 September 2008 20:26 GMT By Patrick Garratt

jackthompsona.jpg

Ex-ESA boss Doug Lowenstein’s written to Kotaku to claim that about-to-be-disbarred legal sensation Jack Thompson was partially a monster creation of the games media, accusing the specialist press of reporting on him despite the fact “he was a charlatan who wholly lacked credibility”.

“The game press had a schizoid relationship with Thompson,” said Lowenstein. “He was the person they loved to vilify and the person they could not get enough of. Time and again, the game press — and mainstream 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 he might not have had for as long as he did.”

Lowenstein went on to say Kotaku’s coverage of Thompson gave legs to mainstream stories, branding Thompson an “extremist.”

“As it takes delight in his apparent demise, it is a good time to contemplate whether the game media itself has matured,” he said.

“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.”

Read the full thing through the link.

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21 Comments

  1. Shatner

    Last three paragraphs are solid gold material.

    Many in the games culture/media are particularly unhappy with the way Jack Thompson consistently misappropriated some sort of misunderstanding about games as a victory for him or some leverage for him to preach his sermon on.

    It would be shameful irony, then, for the games culture/media to stoop to the same level by misappropriating Jack Thompson’s iminent disbarring as a reflection of the virtue of their own cause.

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Right?

    #1 7 years ago
  2. patlike

    Thompson was legitimate news. Lowenstein’s being a complete clown, frankly. It’s literally stupid to say, “He was an idiot so you shouldn’t write about him.” I do find it funny when non-journalists throw in their tuppences like this. Unfailing naive beyond belief.

    #2 7 years ago
  3. morriss

    Everyone’s a critic.

    #3 7 years ago
  4. wickedman

    fuck him!!!! what and idiot,a 100 % dumbass

    #4 7 years ago
  5. No_PUDding

    He’s pretty much correct.

    We’re an extremely defensive industry/community. The volatility of the community’s reactions are based purely on being acknowledged.

    And the part that makes him sound like a complete clown is comparing the gaming industry to a matured industry.

    Of course it’s not, it’s 20 years off the ground. And even pettier of him, to point to certain individuals when every industry has their weak members.

    But I do agree with him somewhat, perhaps only in retrospect because I really didn’t give Thompson very much attention. He was never actually going to have an impact.

    #5 7 years ago
  6. patlike

    It’s a circular argument, though. If you’re a Tory and you pick up a copy of the Guardian, you’re more than likely to sit there saying, “This isn’t news, this isn’t news,” story after story. Same if you’re a lefty and you go through the Telegraph. Each publication’s just catering for its audience.

    The games media is, pretty much by definition, pro-games. So if someone attacks the industry in the mainstream it’s going to get coverage. To be honest, at the end I think Jack was getting less column inches due to the “stuck record” nature of his appearances – I know I skipped over quite a few quotes in the few months before he went up against the judge – but Doug’s argument that people shouldn’t report on him just because he lacks credibility genuinely doesn’t make any sense. Sites like Kotaku cover everything: why would they not cover Jack Thompson?

    #6 7 years ago
  7. Harry

    We covered Jack less and less at Boomtown over the last year. Mainly because I was sick and tired of getting insulting emails from him.

    I did try to engage Jack in some sort of debate, but he just responded with more insults. And so in the end I blocked his email address and vowed not to cover any stories related to him.

    We have covered the disbarring, but I imagine that’ll be the last time we ever mention him.

    #7 7 years ago
  8. patlike

    I can’t really see what else is going to come out of it that’s actually newsworthy. It’s pretty much over. Depends what he does now though, obviously: if he continues a high profile campaign against games in the US, I’ll cover it.

    #8 7 years ago
  9. rainer

    Would Tompson have had a “high profile compaign” if the game press had not given him so much coverage though ?

    He is a classic troll and lots of high profile sites seemed to want to engage him (Ars-Techinca, Penny Arcade etc) multiple times only to find that he didn’t care or just wanted to push his anti-games message.

    I think there is truth to Lowensteins remarks, its like the Large Hydrogen Collier experiment a few prominent news sites began reporting about some crackpot who though black holes would form, before you know it this “theory” [because it made popular news] had spread through many news outlets and into mainstream despite the fact it was a load of horse manure. Other sites would continue to report on this while faux mocking it at the same time (Engadet) which all it did was pour fuel on the fire of the story.

    It seems to me the same thing Tompson was a crackpot as proven by his own disbarment and news sites fell over themselves to cover him because it was popular which only added to fuel to his fire.

    #9 7 years ago
  10. patlike

    You have a point, but I think it’s a wider argument about the role of the press in general, rather than whether or not Jack Thompson benefited from the press’s role in his story. It’s an age-old debate, innit: does the press create or report on the “news”?

    #10 7 years ago
  11. Shatner

    Good point Pat.

    The sad thing is, merely reporting the news as it is can be fairly mundane. It’s a mundane industry at a grass-roots level. But that’s not attractive copy and, as it is, it won’t get people interested enough to read articles.

    Personally, just like the we’re over the period where every game had to have a central character with attitude to compete with Sonic or Mario, I’m very much over the need for news to be delivered with attitude or pithy/smartass comments or rhetoric. Simple delivery of the facts and some considered reporting into their influence is the way to go. Many sites do exceptionally well from such an approach.

    #11 7 years ago
  12. patlike

    Shatner – You are, of course, right. The games industry is pretty boring and there does need to be a “hook” to make people read copy. They’re drowning in information and it’s a fight for sites to make their editorial stand out.

    I do agree that straight fact reporting is very important, but I also believe that “games” has a special attitude that does need to be represented. It’s an entertainment industry, and a unique one, and it’s flavour is something worth celebrating, in my opinion.

    #12 7 years ago
  13. patlike

    Chicken ;-)

    #13 7 years ago
  14. wickedman

    Patlike: 1 The Rest: 0

    #14 7 years ago
  15. No_PUDding

    I still agree with him. Had it been a more mature industry I doubt there would have been such a reaction. But I think it’s preposterous he could suggest this industry is even considered matured. It’s young.

    And when someone from outside the loop makes a big fuss about it, why should the industry not take notice? It’s actually a form of acknowledgement there.

    Don’t get me wrong Pat, EVERYONE posted the news, it just wouldn’t have been newsworthy had this been a more mainstream industry. And say what you want about the industry, it’s audience is still not as wide as that of movies.

    #15 7 years ago
  16. pjmaybe

    If only that logic applied to the current “controversy” surrounding that weirdo Advanced Wars DS case. The media still has such a fucking huge boner for citing gaming as the root of all evil in today’s society that it keeps missing the bigger picture. Games aren’t evil, people are.

    (as it turns out, the oldest psychological reason in the world was responsible in the Advance Wars case – one bloke having a boner for another bloke’s missus and offing ‘im to get a sniff at the action was actually the root cause rather than gaming per se. All parties had facebook accounts and regularly kept in touch using that, but not one word was mentioned on BBC newscasts of this fact. Nope, it was gaming wot dun it guv…)

    #16 7 years ago
  17. disusedgenius

    Eh? I haven’t read a single mainstream article which blames computer games in that case, and that includes The Sun!

    #17 7 years ago
  18. pjmaybe

    Insinuated blame. As in there being absolutely no fucking reason whatsoever to mention Advance Wars DS in the various press coverings as it’s pretty clear that they didn’t communicate via the AW forum exclusively, but hey if they can make enough paranoid mums think that little timmy is plotting his next murder while innocently tinkering with his DS, then all the better.

    Just like the various reports of people being murdered in gamestore queues for GTA IV.

    #18 7 years ago
  19. disusedgenius

    Of course there’s a reason: because it’s a geeky-internet ‘hook’ to a story. You’ve got to have a special kind of paranoia to see anything malicious to it really.

    It’s very tabloid for sure, but not an attack on gaming whatsoever.

    #19 7 years ago
  20. pjmaybe

    Hmmm I reckon it works both ways. You’d have to have a special kind of thick skin not to see it as being newsworthy because of an extremely tenuous link to games.

    Man I can’t WAIT to see the tabloid shitstorm when GTA CW hits.

    #20 7 years ago
  21. disusedgenius

    To be honest, if it was insinuating anything about nerd culture, it was internet forums, not gaming.

    /googles for train tickets to Oxford

    #21 7 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Activision has put the majority of its library on sale through Steam this weekend, and if other titles weren’t included, it could be referred to as a Call of Duty sale. Below are a few standouts. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Gold Edition 25% off Call of Duty: Ghosts 67% off Call of Duty: […]

  • The Dota 2 International Compendium is out, second Stretch Goal almost complete

    The International Compendium has been released for Dota 2 with the prize pool sitting at a lovely $1,917,155 as of press time. Valve said over the weekend to expect the International Compendium to drop sometime this week. As with previous years, those who purchase the Compendium can earn rewards by completing challenges, making predictions and by […]

  • If permadeath RTS games are up your alley, check out indie project XO

    The Square Enix Collective showcases projects for a limited time to help drum up community support and potential backers, and RTS title XO from Jumpdrive Studios is worth taking a look at. The teaser trailer is fairly brief, but if you visit the page for XO over at the Square Enix Collective, it’s understandable – […]

  • GTA 5 PC patch disables mods. Here’s how to get them working again

    A new patch for the PC version of GTA 5 was released yesterday and, as it turns out, has wiped the ability to use mods with the game. The wasn’t great news for some players, but YouTuber taltigolt has already figured out how to play the PC version with mods after installing the patch. Matt […]

  • Xbox One ad stealth launches a mysterious Halo 5 competition

    A new Xbox One advert released today isn’t as straightforward as it appears. The trailer has a couple of pretty conspicuous ‘glitches’ throughout, and members of NeoGAF wasted no time in breaking it down. The first item of interest is the screen from the hunt the signal site, which displays an error message when accessed […]

  • Battlefield 4 Jungle map improved with latest update

    DICE LA has updated the Battlefield 4 Jungle map, adding more foliage and a new route. As demonstrated by Westie in the video above, the map now has the kind of foliage you’d expect in the jungle, helping to conceal infantry players. The update also tweaks positions of objective points and has added a concealed […]

  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate free DLC pack for May includes Metroid and Mega Man armour

    The May DLC pack for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate boasts some big ticket items, including Metroid, Street Fighter, and Mega Man gear. This big fat chunk of free DLC, detailed on the capcom unity blog, includes Hunter equipment: Metroid’s Varia Suit Metroid’s Zero Suit Metroid’s Arm Cannon Taiko Drum Master Hunting Horn USJ’s Star Rook […]

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory for May 1, 2 – Hard Light edition

    Here he comes with his weird face, dealing goods and gear for Guardians. It’s Friday. Xur: Agent of the Nine is back in the Tower. Of Course he is. Got your Strange Coins? Here’s what’s in his bag this week: Ruin Wings [Exotic Titan gauntlets] – 13SC Don’t Touch Me [Exotic Hunter gauntlets] – 13SC […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition Jaws of Hakkon DLC drops for PS4 on May 26

    Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC has now been announced for May 26 for PS3, PS4 and Xbox 360. The announcement was made on Twitter via the official Dragon Age account. Mark your calendars! #DAIJawsOfHakkon pic.twitter.com/mU1WfkSrQV — Dragon Age (@dragonage) May 1, 2015 The DLC was released for PC and Xbox One back in March thanks to […]

  • New Witcher 3 screenshots highlight Geralt’s questionable fashion choices

    Even though The Witcher 3 release date is drawing closer, it still feels like a million year away. So here are some more screenshots to tide you over until then. We got to look at in-game shots yesterday, but these new screens show Geralt riding through some gorgeously vibrant mountains, in the midst of combat […]

  • Sims Gurus patch out pregnant men

    Say goodbye to The Sims 4 unique take on fatherhood, as The Sims Gurus confirm that male pregnancies are no more. The Sims 4 players have been reporting high numbers of alien abductions, leaving their male characters with sore bottoms and a bellyful of alien baby. Kotaku reports that not everyone was getting their knickers […]

  • Black Mesa countdown probably points to Half-life remake release date

    Half-life remake Black Mesa may have a release date at last. Black Mesa is a Source Engine remake of the original Half-life, which like everything related to Half-life feels like it’s taking forever to come out. The first part launched in September 2012, and it looks like we might have a release date for the […]

  • Spector puts down rumours of troubled Epic Mickey development

    Epic Mickey seemed like a surprising follow-up project from the man who made Deus Ex, but Warren Spector has put down rumours of a difficult relationship with Disney. Epic Mickey displays several qualities found in Spector’s other games and which he has always espoused in interviews – heck, this is the man whose dream it […]

  • Ubisoft makes good on Child of Light promise with free eBook

    Child of Light fans can check out a gorgeous new illustrated book set in the world of Lumeria. Earlier this month, creator Patrick Plourde confirmed that there were more Child of Light projects on the way. As we expected from the cagey wording, at least the first of these projects isn’t a game: it’s an […]

  • Half-life episode from Junction Point would have featured a magnet gun

    Half-life seems to be on near permanent hold, but at least we can glean some insight into what might once have been. Junction Point’s cancelled Half-life game came up in Warren Spector’s Reddit AMA overnight. Commenting that he isn’t sure whether he’ll get into legal trouble for discussing the project, Spector gave a few comments […]

  • Destiny: exclusive shader, emblem on offer with Nepal benefit shirt

    Destiny developer Bungie has asked Guardians to offer their aid, and they’ve already responded in troves. A new Destiny shirt added to the Bungie Store is the object of a fundraising drive to provide aid in Nepal following a devastating earthquake this week. Bungie popped the pretty stylish shirt on sale earlier today, offering an […]

  • What does the creator of Deus Ex think of Human Revolution and Mankind Divided?

    Deus Ex creator Warren Spector seems pretty positive about the direction the sci-fi series has followed under Square Enix’s hand. Deus Ex was created by Spector and his team at Ion Storm, and remained with Eidos after the developer shuttered. When Square Enix purchased the British publisher, it put new studio Eidos Montreal to work […]

  • Protest Goat secures future for Elite Dangerous destruction derbies

    One of the stranger and more beautiful stories to manifest in the gaming world this week, I think. Elite: Dangerous has given birth to an unintended, emergent style of gameplay; a destruction derby like affair where players gather in no combat areas to both race and gleefully smash into each other until a victor limps […]

  • Destiny’s stunning landscapes captured in panoramas

    Destiny has some beautiful environments, which screenshots don’t necessarily do justice to. Walking around Destiny exclaiming over the lighting effects and the tiny animated details is the best way to experience Bungie’s tremendous achievements, but these panorama images stitched together from in-game screenshots are a good second. Click to see them fullsize. Redditor CenturyEagle made […]

  • Star Wars Disney Infinity re-release on the cards – rumour

    Star Wars is a no-brainer for Disney Infinity, and at long last it looks like it’s happening. A Star Wars re-release called Disney Infinity 3.0 has reportedly leaked from German retailers. We have to lable this one a rumour as we haven’t seen the original source, but the story was originally reported by DisKingdom, which […]

  • Award-winning mobile indie Monument Valley out now on Windows Phone

    Windows Phone’s game selection can be a bit restrictive, but has expanded delightfully today: Monument Valley is now available. Monument Valley is one of those gorgeous, mind-bending puzzlers the indie scene produces on the regular, winning awards and consuming everyone’s lives for weeks on end. Developed by Ustwo Games, with beautiful, understated art from Ken […]

  • Old-school EverQuest servers safe from legal troubles thanks to Daybreak agreement

    EverQuest rights holder Daybreak Game Company given its blessing to the wonderful Project 1999. EverQuest: Project 1999 is one of those lovely ideas that it are all too often crushed by the realities of the games industry. An entirely fan-managed affair, it provides an emulated version of the classic EverQuest experience, which is no longer […]

  • Free Dragon Age short stories fill us in on Corypheus’s followers

    Dragon Age: Inquisition developer BioWare invites you to learn more about the lore and characters that make up its beautiful role-playing setting. Dragon Age is set in Thedas, a world still only partially revealed by the three core games to date. BioWare puts a heck of a lot of work into its worldbuilding, employing a […]

  • Remember that gorgeous Luminous Engine tech demo? It now utilizes DirectX 12

    Remember the gorgeous Luminous Engine tech demo Square Enix showed off three years ago? The firm showed it again at Microsoft’s Build Conference, this time utilizing DirectX 12. The Witch Chapter 0 [cry] real-time tech demo was created from research Square conducted using real-time CG technology and DX12 in collaboration with Microsoft and Nvidia. The […]

  • Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones sneaks onto GOG and Steam services

    Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones can now be purchased through GOG and Steam. On both services it will run you £12.99/€14.99/$14.99. Links here and here. The game features: Fully explorable ‘Metroidvania’ style overworld, laying siege to a diabolical cloning facility with varied and detailed environments. A variety of special equipment to unlock new […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare DLC Ascendance has arrived on PC, PlayStation consoles

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players on PC and PlayStation consoles can now download the Ascendance DLC. The second content pack contains the OHM weapon, the OHM Werewolf custom variant, and the second entry in the Exo Zombies saga, Infection. Four new maps are also included: Perplex, Site 244, Climate, and Chop Shop. Ascendance was […]

  • Latest Xbox 360 system update is live, now supports 2TB hard drives

    Xbox 360 now supports 2TB hard drives via the latest system update for the console. Support for the drives was announced earlier this month and has been available for preview members. “In addition we will also no longer reserve space in advance on your hard drive,” said the firm. “If you are using 16GB of […]

  • Kickstarter for Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor Yooka-Laylee launches tomorrow

    Playtonic Games has announced the Kickstarter campaign for its spiritual successor to the Banjo Kazooie series, Yooka-Laylee, will launch tomorrow. The title of the game was announced today along with the Kickstarter date. Formerly known as Project Ukulele, the 3D platformer is said to be “between the size of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie,” and stars Yooka […]

  • Console version of Mistwalker’s Terra Battle is in development

    Now that Mistwalker’s Terra Battle has surpassed 2 million downloads on mobile, the developer is now working on a console version of the tactical RPG. As part of the original Download Starter campaign, the 2 million milestone means the company will begin development on Terra Battle’s console version with details to be announced at a […]

  • Prison break game The Escapists is heading to PlayStation 4 from May 29

    The Escapists, Mouldy Toof’s prison break game originally released as a timed console exclusive Xbox One, has a release date for PlayStation 4. For those unfamiliar with the title, which is also a PC release, it tasks players’ time management skills as they do a bit of digging and crafting, and other prison-type stuff as […]

  • Dead Island 2 delayed into 2016 to ensure series is “taken to the next level”

    Dead Island 2 has been delayed into 2016 by Yager in order to ensure the sequel “takes Dead Island to the next level.” According to a tweet from the developer, it set “big goal” for the game, and in order to deliver what fans expect, the team needs more time to reach development goals. “We […]

  • Project Cars: here’s a list of all available cars at launch

    Project Cars will contain many, many cars and if we are counting correctly, there will be 74 total at launch. The standard edition contains 65 total, and when factoring the free car as well as the Modified and Limited Edition cars packs, you can add an additional nine cars to the mix. Comb through the […]

  • Competitive matchmaking support is coming to Team Fortress 2

    Team Fortress 2 will soon feature support for competitive matchmaking, which Valve says is a “high priority” project for it at the moment. According to a report from TeamFortress.tv, which visited Valve headquarters recently, Valve is looking into the possibility of 6v6 or 9v9 matches 9v9, a possible quick play option and it is also […]