The sewer-mouth by the name of Howard Stern once denounced Jack Thompson as a “lunatic lawyer” for getting him kicked off radio stations. Considering the source, this is why this statement is featured as a badge of honor on the cover of Thompson’s book, Out of Harm’s Way, about the dangers posed by what passes for “entertainment” on television, radio and video games. The book not only describes how Thompson has waged a valiant legal war on those who pollute our culture, it offers evidence of direct harm caused by what children see, read and hear.
Thompson is a father who cares about his family and country.
Another fighter is Rebecca Hagelin of the Heritage Foundation, who wrote Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture That’s Gone Stark Raving Mad. You can read her excellent speech to Hillsdale College on the Hillsdale website. A mother, she understands the dangers. We need more mothers like her speaking out.
She’s right that the culture has gone mad. To the disgrace of American society, Stern, who has since fled to satellite radio, has become something of a cultural icon. It’s like he’s become the new Hugh Hefner, the modern version of the dirty old man. Stern has even appeared several times on Fox News, supposedly the “conservative” cable channel. Thompson’s book would be well worth it if he only dealt with the damage caused by this so-called “King of All Media.” Thompson’s chapter on “Stern Stuff” examines the disgusting nature of what this creature spews forth. To cite just one example, Stern told his audience shortly after 9/11 that prostitutes should be sent to the rescue workers on their breaks. Much of what Stern says can’t even be described without being offensive. What he represents is a sickness and blight on our society.
Thompson’s book notes that Stern saw news about the 1999 student shootings in Colorado, including film of students fleeing the school, and commented, “I don’t know who’s doing this, but I’ll tell you one thing. If I were this guy, or these guys, whatever, I’d be sure to bang these chicks before I killed them. Look at some of these broads. They’re hot.”
It’s one thing to pollute a young person’s mind. That’s bad enough. It’s another thing to provoke violence. Media which explore the well-documented link between violent entertainment and real-life violence are few in number. As Thompson documents, they include stories on the NBC Today Show and the CBS 60 Minutes program. And yet it’s Thompson who has been denounced as a “censor” by the ACLU. Thompson is in favor of more, not less, information. He wants the public to know and understand the nature of the assault taking place on our young people. He is a former libertarian who now believes strong action is required to stem the tide of violence and filth enveloping our culture.
Indeed, he has harsh words for the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, saying its opposition to any interference with business and the marketplace would, in its most extreme form, legalize dangerous drugs and prostitution in the name of individual choice. He sees that as cultural suicide.
His book contains references to his Christian faith, which has enabled him to take on media personalities such as Howard Stern, big corporations and powerful judges. One of the most fascinating stories, included in a chapter entitled, “Is this lawyer insane?,” involves a Judge by the name of Richard Feder who wanted to hear evidence that Thompson’s opposition to pornography meant that he was mentally unstable. This was a way that Thompson’s opponents had explored as a way to disbar and silence him. Thompson discovered the judge was a former ACLU official who believes the distribution of child pornography is protected speech.
Thompson waits until page 225 of his book, however, to spring a bombshell: that liberal Senator Hillary Clinton’s office had called him, asking for help and information in preparing her for a news conference on sex and violence in video games. That news conference was held last year and featured Clinton’s call for a federal probe into how video games are rated and marketed to children.
Last December Clinton went further, introducing with Senators Joseph Lieberman and Evan Bayh the Family Entertainment Protection Act (FEPA), S.2126, to prohibit the sale of violent video games to minors.
I met Jack Thompson when he provided enormous help to Oliver North, Reed Irvine and Charlton Heston in launching a campaign against Time Warner over the rap song “Cop-killer” by Ice-T and his band, Body Count. Heston attended the Time Warner meeting and eloquently denounced the company for producing and marketing such trash. Time Warner had sunk so low as to ship the CDs to disc jockeys in miniature black plastic body bags.
Thompson’s book goes into detail about the campaign against Time Warner.
In an interview at the time (with Tony Snow), Heston recalled his attendance at the annual meeting: “? I’m very proud of this, I really am. I owned some Time Warner stock and I went in and confronted their full board meeting and read the lyrics. I can’t repeat them on television?And I shamed Time Warner, the largest entertainment conglomerate in the world, into firing Ice T and dropping the album. Now, he threatened to kill me. He hasn’t done that yet.”
Heston, unfortunately, has faded from the scene because of his age and illness. His voice and presence will be missed. But Thompson continues the fight. Once you read his book, you will understand that America’s enemies don’t just hijack planes and fly them into buildings.