Newsweek Retracts Story Regarding Jim Rome Fansite’s “Activity”
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
WASHINGTON (AP) - Newsweek magazine has retracted a story in its current issue, regarding the statistics of a website devoted to a nationally syndicated radio show host.
The embattled magazine, on the heels of retracting a story reporting desecration of the Quran at an American military prison camp in Cuba, says “false reporting skills” are to blame for a story about Livewithmom.com, a website for fans of sports radio figure Jim Rome.
The story cited that activity on the site has remained busy, despite the emergence of a rival website, Stucknut.com.
In actuality, activity on Livewithmom has grown excessively dormant, with most of its regulars now members of the rival website.
Furthermore, the story profiling the website, run by a fan from the Wichita area who has a second home in Nebraska, failed to report major occurrences within the site recently, such as the webmaster’s suppression of the First Amendment, and the random termination of several members’ accounts - including a member in the website’s own hierarchy.
“We regret the error”, a message on Newsweek’s website reads. "We're going to go back and learn from the mistakes we made so that we don't repeat them."
Calls to the webmaster were not returned, and a call to Rome’s handlers was met with the response: “You don’t have strong enough material today, bro.”
Earlier this week, Newsweek retracted a story that claimed American interrogators put copies of the Quran on toilets or in one case, flushed one down a toilet, at a U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The publication was under intense pressure by the Bush administration to retract the story.
Last Thursday, a former co-administrator of the Livewithmom website, appeared on CNN’s “Larry King Live” to discuss the rivalry between the two Rome fan websites. He said he stepped down from day-to-day duties at the troubled website, due to creative differences. He added that he no longer wears a fanny pack.
Joe in NYC Discusses Clone Civil War On "Larry King Live"
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Analysis of the Jungle Civil War
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the man in the crossfire of a brutal jungle war, two websites, one decision, and he decided to share his thoughts right here, for a full hour. All that and more next, on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Roughly one year ago, a website called LiveWithMom.com came into existence. These days, it’s been facing some competition, as well as criticism, from a swift rival known as StuckNut.com. Joining us from New York is Joe, one of the founding members of LiveWithMom.com, as well as one of its administrators, until recently. Joe, welcome.
JOE IN NYC, GNN: Hi, Larry, before we get started, and I do anticipate discussing these matters with you and your audience, because I’m known in the Jungle as “GNN”, you know, “Good Night Now”, is it possible you could refer to me throughout the show as GNN?
KING: Don’t push your luck, Joseph.
KING: Tell me what the vibe was on LiveWithMom a year from now, give us the gist of it.
JOE: Well, it started via word of mouth, and soon after, word of mouth turned into “war” of phone calls, you know, at the end of each call, a caller would be like, “War so and so” -
KING: Who do you call? Who’s calling?
JOE: Oh, the “Jim Rome Show” a nationally syndicated radio show, where those calls are made to… So we started to hear callers ending their calls with “War LiveWithMom” or “War The Mom”, emailers signing it at the end of emails, as well. And, momentum really picked up a few times last year, once when Jason Stewart, one of the producers on the Rome show, was on the website, and a few weeks later, when Travis, another producer, was on it.
KING: Wow. Ringing endorsements, wouldn’t you say?
JOE: Well, yeah, considering that they were accidentally banned from the site, at first.
JOE: Well, we thought they were impostors at first, but when we heard them discussing the website on the show the next day going through the whole --
KING: So does anyone from the show visit the site? Frequently?
JOE: (cough) Let me tell you, we don’t have the studio IP address and pin it to the computer, or at least I don’t.
KING: Who would?
JOE: Well, I don’t even know if she does, but Jackie, she’s - it’s her baby, the website was started by her, and I’ve been helping out on the site a great deal with content and stuff, but the website is online because of Jackie.
KING: Do you get along with Jackie?
JOE: We do, well, up until this point, at least, I’m not sure --
KING: When did this StuckNut website start?
JOE: From what I understand, first it was just a website, with some fun games on it, news and stuff. But then one day, Steve, that site’s administrator decided to turn it into a website similar to the Mom.
KING: For what gain?
JOE: Well, it was a good opportunity because people who used to be members of the Mom were going over to the StuckNut website.
KING: (laughs) Come on, like that? It’s a popular website, like you said, and they just leave it?
JOE: Perhaps “was popular” is the term I should use, Larry.
KING: Why did they leave?
JOE: A few months ago, one of the crews, this is how it all started… Jackie set up these crews, you know, if you wanted to join people in the area, or whatever. So one of these crews was the West Coast Crew. And one of the moderators was a member of this crew. So when a few of the West Coast members were getting a little out of control, in Jackie’s eyes, anyway, she asked this moderator who was in this crew to control the West Coasters. So when that didn’t happen, she took it upon herself to take care of the situation herself - fold the crews.
KING: And all their members?
JOE: Eventually, a few members of that West Coast crew would have their accounts arbitrarily deleted by Jackie, because they would just cause trouble. She told me that she wanted to take the site back to its roots, when it was just clones - clones, by the way, nicknames for listeners of the Rome show - just clones talking about the show, the way it was in the beginning, before there were crews.
KING: And you didn’t dispute it?
JOE: (sharp sigh) What could I do, it’s her site, I just follow along… And that’s one of the reasons I quit, Larry. The last several weeks, have gotten ugly. First, those that were tossed that I just talked about, they went over to StuckNut. And since then, a few, here and there, sprinkled in. But during the Smackoff, its popularity skyrocketed.
KING: Tell me about the Smackoff.
JOE: It’s, Jim does this show every year, only the best callers, the point is, because there’s always callers that don’t bring enough to the table, day after day, one day out of the year, you’re guaranteed good callers during the whole show. So, anyway, a few of these callers, well, they also mentioned the Mom as well, smacked it mostly, but they spelt it out, StuckNut.com --
KING: But how do they know about it if only has a few dozen people?
JOE: That was then, Larry. Ever since Jackie’s initiative of having a cleaner board, and cleaner discussions, at the height of the Smackoff, members were going to StuckNut in droves. And she got so jealous, anyone who was a member of the Mom, who was seen having a conversation in the StuckNut chat room? Gone.
JOE: Broke ‘em off.
KING: But how would she know, wouldn’t (laughing) she be a member of StuckNut, too?
JOE: I, there’s this “big brother” URL someone showed me, you can see who’s chatting without even logging in.
KING: How many members did you lose?
JOE: Whatever members were lost from the Mom, was doubled given the free advertising on the show from callers, I gotta tell you, it’s been a crazy week for jungle websites. Because now StuckNut has the momentum, and they’ve got all the lively conversations in their chat room, in evening hours, and the Mom’s chat activity has decreased dramatically. Even though there’s a filter, you can’t write “StuckNut” on the Mom, it’ll get filtered out -- despite that, the clones eventually find out about this StuckNut.
KING: So how many moderators and administrators are on your site now?
JOE: Oh, gosh, we had like a main admin crew, then a second tier, but we lost that when the crews were blown up. There were six original members. Two of them are now full-fledged members of StuckNut, one of them, Robert, he’s a great guy, but he didn’t agree with Jackie’s motus operandi, so I can’t blame him for getting angry… Ugh, Howard, Albuquerque, he requested to be demoted to a regular member, I don’t even know if he’s on the other site frequently… Which left me, Jackie and Joey, her friend, a female friend. And, when I came home from work one day, Jackie said she and Joey got into an argument, and so Joey got clipped.
KING: Now it’s just two.
JOE: Well, was two, Larry, you know, despite this war going on, I was going about my regular duties on the Mom, acting like there was no war - first of all, she wouldn’t even let me take the gloves off. I wanted one potshot, she said we can’t stoop down to their level. You know, to paraphrase Bobby Knight, I don’t think it’s a good idea to just sit back and enjoy it. So yesterday, this Chowd who’s now on StuckNut called the Rome show to break down the civil war, and at the end, he glossed Jackie “Hitler”. So you’d think she’d stand up for herself and call in the very next day to crack back, because that’s what she was writing everyone, “I’m calling in tomorrow, she’s gonna get it, wait and see”… And every time she says she’s gonna call the show, it’s like Jason Stewart says, “Heh heh, you always say that”. And today it was no different. Today, a second StuckNut member piled on, before she could call in. You’d think she’d respect all the work I’ve done and try and save her site? Not reacting is not an option. And I didn’t want to tell her that to her face, so I wanted her to learn the hard way, and I hope she’s watching this tonight. Because now she’s got a huge hill to climb if she wants to gain back respect, let alone members.
KING: To quote a Mother Goose poem, “Two birds were upon a stone, one flew away, and then… there was one.”
KING: We’ll continue with this discussion and take your phone calls. Don’t go away.
KING: Joe, when people started going to the other website, you had to change the direction of your website to keep them locked in.
JOE: Yes, and that’s exactly what I did, you know, first of all, I accept challenges, and I thought it would be interesting to give the Mom a little branding, so what I did was, I made the site’s new slogan “Home of the Jungle Legends”. And to hammer that point home, that first weekend, I was playing all classic rock songs, and had these liners, “Home of the Legends, with Jimi Hendrix”, you know, goofy, just having fun, little potshots at the competition.
KING: So Jackie would allow that, but she wouldn’t let you take the gloves off?
JOE: It’s beyond that. You know, it’s gotten to a point, and by the way, now what good is it to call yourself a home of the jungle legends, when the legends themselves are now more active on the rival site? And like I said, this week, it’s been like the Titanic, everybody jumping off the administrator staff, so as not to associate --
KING: Or getting deleted off.
JOE: Yeah, that too.
JOE: So when she didn’t defend herself on the show like she said she would, that was like another slap in the face. Another empty promise. I mean, if I wanted empty promises, I would hang with politicians. So I left.
KING: Did you leave because you felt your site was inferior to the other --
JOE: The writing’s on the wall, Larry. I can’t associate myself with her standards, for the sole fact that both of our names are in red on the website. Everybody who despises her, despises me equally because of my association with her. I don’t have to have people questioning my manhood, I had to go out on my own. And Jackie won’t even try to scout for new moderators because - and this is coming from her - not enough trustworthy people on her website to recommend. Yeah, no kidding, a mutiny ran through it. Now it’s her mess to clean up.
KING: So will we be seeing you on StuckNut?
JOE: I - Larry, I just need a sabbatical from this jungle cyber world. I shouldn’t have to continue carrying the load for a site whose stock is clearly falling. I shouldn’t have to feel pressure because I’m sticking to guns, that aren’t even in my holster. I made a decision to break those apron strings, and get free. Now I don’t have to answer to anybody. Aggravation, gone. Responsibility, gone. Migraines, gone.
KING: Would you have left the website even if it was not losing popularity?
JOE: You know, there’s still new members every day, that sign up, but you know, memberships, it’s just a number, you know, ask Ashton Kutcher, he’ll tell you. But really, it’s not too long until the new members spend enough of time there, and just read messages. Used to be a lively chat room, until all the lively chatters went over at StuckNut.
KING: Are you bitter?
JOE: I guess I have to be bitter at Jackie for letting this great clone empire start to fall apart. And, Larry, to answer your question, I left because, well, even through this tepid period for the Mom, I hope it tries to find a niche and tries to succeed in some way, but the bottom line, Larry, if the Mom indeed does fail and go so far as to shut down, I will have no shame because it ultimately will not be my fault.
KING: We’ll take a break. When we come back, we’ll take your phone calls. We’ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ROME, HOST OF “JIM ROME IS BURNING”: Welcome to another edition of “Jim Rome Is Burning”, we are absolutely loaded today. Coming up, I’ll be talking to Florida Marlins catcher Paul LoDuca, but first, let me get right to what I am burning on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Welcome back. Joe, has the thought ever crossed your mind, of just starting your own jungle website?
JOE: You know, it’s funny, Larry, around the time I discovered the Mom, I had a few inclinations to start my own, but then I saw what Jackie was doing, and I liked it, so I thought, why rival it, we can put our resources together.
KING: One year later.
JOE: Yup. I mean, at this point, I’d pretty much have to rely on StuckNut’s camaraderie falling apart, but I’d rather not foresee that.
KING: Why don’t the two websites… just… work together? Be like a network?
JOE: Larry, I wish it was that easy, but at this point, I’d be hard pressed to count on my hand any clones that have respect for Jackie.
KING: Too little, too late?
JOE: And I also want to say - because, things change, habits change, change is what makes the world go round, et cetera, okay… There will come a day where I will stop listening to the show, whether it wraps up shop one day, I mean, it’s still an entertaining show, so I’m not going to stop listening, you know, tomorrow. But years from now, everyone will be moving on. But the one element that remains no matter what, is life. And the life is now, for the most part, on the other website.
KING: The other moderators, when they were at the Mom, did you get along with them?
JOE: I did, Geoff did some good stuff, Joey, not Jackie’s friend Joey, but Joey, this Chowd, despite his hair-trigger temper and utter disdain for all things New York, he still did some good stuff, moderating the chat room. Um, Mark from Houston, this guy’s like a knowledge of jungle facts. I enjoyed working with them, but now they’re gone from the Mom. So now I’m gone from the Mom.
KING: How did you get into the show?
JOE: Well, see, Larry, the show isn’t on live in New York, it never was, it was on tape delay. But I knew the regular time to call in live. So one day, I’m feelin’ it, called the show for the first time, some takes on the Yankees and what not. I was prepared for rejection, nothing against Jason Stewart, he’s just doing his job, trying to get the best stuff for the air, including the guests.
KING: Yeah, I read that article in the L.A. Daily News, he’s a nice boy.
JOE: Absolutely. So, yeah, put me on hold, I got on the air, ending up getting the Huge Call of the Day.
KING: Wow, so did you call you up everybody and told them, “Hey, listen later today, I’m gonna --”
JOE: It’s not like that, Larry. See, as much as I am into the show, I don’t like to have that fact, like, tattooed on my forehead for everyone to see. I have a job, I have friends, I’ll only let a radio show control my life if I’m on the payroll. Plus, it’s good every now and then to vent about the Yankees’ inabilities to three million listeners.
KING: You’re a regular caller.
JOE: Yes, well, most recently I’ve been emailing, but I’ve called several times.
KING: Did you ever get on one of these Smackoff shows you were talking about earlier?
JOE: Well, the Smackoff, and one thing I failed to mention earlier, it’s invite only. The best of the best. So when your name is in the Smackoff field for that year, you know, you take pride in it, you embrace it. Reputations are made or broken in Smackoffs.
KING: Well, I guess you, you fill in the blanks, which websites match that statement.
JOE: (laugh) Anyway, I was invited to two Smackoffs, and I was able to make it on to the last one. Just last week.
JOE: I was cruising, and then I got run, because when I said the word “absolutely”, it sounded like… Like, I can’t say it on the air, here, but…
KING: A soft consonant.
JOE: Yes, Yes, exactly. But, even if I did finish my call, I don’t think I would have outlasted Sean the Cablinasian, this guy brings it each and every year, he’s won three Smackoff events. Would I have come in second? Who knows. But I’ve gotta give Cablinasian his props. Live, right here on the air.
KING: You know, Tiger Woods, is a Cablinasian. Did you know that?
JOE: Yes, I did, Larry.
KING: We’ll take a break, when we come back, your phone calls. Don’t go away.
KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. Once again, my guest this evening, Joe, former moderator, co-administrator of LiveWithMom.com, which is a website for fans of the Jim Rome radio show. And a fan of the Jim Rome show. At least for now.
JOE: Don’t misinterpret that, Larry. I’m still a fan, and another thing, you know, I don’t want certain people to think that I have just given up, or taken my ball and gone home… You know, or “melted”, as some call it, given the circumstances. The circumstances I was concerned with were, scorn by association, artificial respect, and doing what is right. And I just thought, you know, the time is right, to just step back, slowly, and move on. I shouldn’t be concerned with which members have been deleted on any given day. Jackie’s just doing her job, when she makes her decisions, but especially in this climate, I shouldn’t be looked at like I’m endorsing these decisions she’s making. And I think that’s probably why Howard stepped down. And maybe that’s why Joey, Jackie’s friend, also lost her duties.
KING: They say these things come in threes.
JOE: Yes, definitely.
KING: We’ll go to your phone calls. Effingham, New Hampshire, hello.
CALLER: Larry, I would like to ask Joe, is he afraid of going to that Stuck website, because they’ll turn the tables on him and delete his account?
KING: Good question. (laugh)
JOE: Again, I haven’t deleted members from the Mom, unless they were deliberately being a nuisance on the Mom. As far as StuckNut deleting members, I can’t really tell you the logistics behind that site, being I’m not a moderator there. I know Steve, the administrator, he’s welcoming all exiles from the Mom with open arms, that they can say whatever they want, without being censored.
KING: Could you explain why Steve, on his own website, his username is “Steef”?
JOE: You got me, Larry.
KING: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, hello.
CALLER (in monotone voice) : Hi, Larry, good to speak to you tonight.
KING: Good to hear from you.
CALLER: Hi, Joe.
CALLER: (long pause) Sorry to hear you got run in the Smackoff. (long pause) Wait, no, I’m not. (long pause) You know, did you ever consider --
KING: I think we, we’ve got a bad connection, sorry… Um… Tell me about the Scoreboard Game.
JOE: The Scoreboard Game was an activity on the Mom, inspired only because a great deal of the clones that were on during the show in the chat room, this was their game. You get, I forget, five points for each email, ten points for each call, ugh, if you “War the Mom”, that’s an extra five points…
KING: Who’s leading?
JOE: Well, the game was suspended when Jackie wiped out all the bad seeds, as she saw fit, from her website.
KING: What’s the grand prize for winning the Scoreboard Game?
JOE: The same thing you get when you win the Smackoff: bragging rights.
KING: We’ll be back with more of your phone calls. Don’t go away.
KING: Tomorrow on the show, Amber Frey. Sparta, Wisconsin, hello.
CALLER: Yeah, Joe, couldn’t you just remain on the Mom as a member, and not an administrator? Not take yourself off completely?
KING: In other words, Joe, are you concerned that Jackie might (laughing) delete your account?
JOE: Larry, like I said before, I need to back away from this civil war, while I’m still sane. Maybe sometime down the road, when cooler heads prevail, I’ll sign up on one site, or I’ll sign up on the other site, or I’ll sign up on both, or I’ll sign up on neither.
KING: And you’re doing the latter right now.
KING: Pasadena, California, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry, thank you for taking my call.
CALLER: Ugh, you know, the fact that Jim Rome’s show is on during the day, when most listeners are at work, ugh, clearly, I don’t know how many IT guys are down with anyone accessing a site with the word “nut” in it on company time, whereas before, you had… Howard Stern --
KING: Ugh, we seem to have another --
JOE: That caller actually brought up a great point, um… I’m sure they’ll find a way to work around it, where there can be a more user-friendly domain, for interaction during the show. I wouldn’t want to see anyone get in trouble and I don’t.
KING: The --
JOE: I mean, I work, and when I was on the Mom during the show, it was few and far between, but that’s just me.
KING: Then there’s this kid named Ethan. Tell me about him.
JOE: Ethan is a child who is battling a rare form of leukemia. This guy Gordo, he’s Ethan’s uncle, anyway, he sent Jackie a link to put up of Ethan’s page and his progress, his parents writing comments, his diary, how he’s feeling, et cetera… The clones embraced him, and his story, even got to a point where people warred Ethan in calls and emails.
JOE: Yeah, and there was a link at the top of the Mom for awhile, to that website. So, at the time of the big fallout between the two websites, Ethan was being preparing for a bone marrow transplant. Meanwhile, one of Gordo’s friend Chris, Jackie did not see him in her good graces, so she deleted him. And so Gordo followed Chris over to StuckNut. And now I see that the vigil for Ethan has moved over to StuckNut, and it’s good to see that. You know, don’t take the members of that site at face value. They’re only anger is geared toward my former co-administrator, and all her doings. And if she wants to run off bad people, that’s one thing. But for her to run off good people, like Gordo, and Ethan, that’s where I draw the line.
KING: How is little Ethan doing these days?
JOE: I heard a stem cell transplant was successful, and it looks like they’re going to green-light the bone marrow transplant.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more moments on this astounding story. Right after this.
KING: We’re back. Esmeralda, Nevada, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry, Hi, Joe. Ugh, Joe, what do you know about the Trolls?
KING: Who are the Trolls, Joe?
JOE: They, they’ve got their own website that spawned off of the Rome show, but that was years ago, before I started listening to it, so I couldn’t tell you anything about them. And from what I can remember, Jackie wasn’t too cool with the Trolls.
KING: She’d delete them?
KING: Binghamton, New York, hello.
CALLER: Hey, Joe. New to the Mom. Are you still going to do that Legends of Rock Top 300 Countdown?
JOE: What do you think, genius?
KING: Okay, Rockwood, Tennessee, hello.
CALLER: Good evening, Larry. Hi there, Joe.
CALLER: You mentioned earlier about those two moderators that turned heel and went to the other website, but I think after this year’s Smackoff, no clone has turned a bigger heel than Bill in Knoxville.
KING: Who’s Bill in Knoxville?
JOE: Bill in Knoxville, I mean, here’s a clone that was getting some major run on the show. When he joined the Mom, he had this swagger, “oh, my first four calls were racked, oh, I’m going to be in the Smackoff, oh, does anyone know how long a Smackoff call should be”… And he’s just takin’ it and takin’ it from the other members of the Mom for glossing himself, when all the while, I’ve been supporting him, telling him he’s a great caller, he shouldn’t let adversity get the best of him, to take that rage and use it in the next call. So he’s on the Mom the days leading up to the Smackoff. And then on the day of the Smackoff, Bill ends his call with a plug for StuckNut. Later that afternoon, after the show, he’s just flooding the chat boards, “war the nut, war the nut”, you know, and Jackie was…
KING: They say success spoils the best of friendships.
KING: Macquarie Island, Antarctica, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry, we watch you every night on the dish.
KING: Can I ask how cold is it in Antarctica tonight?
CALLER: Ugh, pretty cold. Not cold enough, though.
KING: I see. Go ahead with your question for Joe.
CALLER: You know, I’ve been listening to this story, and the fact that there’s people getting deleted, and a West Coast reference, it’s a little alarming to me, I mean, I remember, when there was that whole Tupac Shakur, and Biggie Smalls feud, my question is, do you think as a result of this feud between those two websites, that a few bodies will turn, well, cold?
JOE: Okay, dude. Remember a few things… It’s a radio show… These are websites. I don’t think any personal attacks this side of Australia, or wherever that guy was calling from --
JOE: Yes - I said it before, I don’t need the association with that site anymore, I don’t like the direction in which it is going, I have to take a breather.
KING: Our final moments with Joe when we return. Don’t go away.
KING: We’re back. Joe, before I let you go tonight, you have to explain something to me. Why are they called “clones”?
JOE: That was the name that Jim Rome gave listeners who called the show with their own takes, because they were given in a similar delivery to how Jim does on his show, so, simple enough, clones.
KING: Pullman, Washington, our last caller for the night, hello.
CALLER: Yeah, Joe, ugh, do you still wear that fanny pack of yours?
KING: Do you wear a fanny pack, the caller wants to know.
JOE: I haven’t worn that thing, since… my last extended vacation. I have no use for it ever since I’ve discovered cargo pants.
KING: They’re good pants.
JOE: Yeah. And the fanny pack, by the way, was camouflage, so it’s hard to smack that.
KING: I have a pair of camouflage suspenders back at home.
JOE: (laugh) Yeah? Nooo.
KING: It’s true.
JOE: You da man, Larry.
KING: Joe, thank you very much.
JOE: My pleasure.
KING: And now, let’s turn it over to Aaron Brown, without his fanny pack, with NEWSNIGHT.
AARON BROWN, HOST, “NEWSNIGHT“: Thanks, Larry. Thanks for exposing that horrible secret, too. I warned you. Coming up on NEWSNIGHT…