My attention has been drawn to a factoid on Moneta-L (July 24, 2009; the author was John Hooker (author of "The Hooker Papers" available from the ACCG website). In a discussion of "astroturfing" Hooker comments:
David Gill pays a rate of $400 per 400 words for his frequent PR Newswire releases, yet despite many requests by Peter Tompa to reveal the source of his funding, still refuses to do so. It is uncommon, to say the least, for archaeologists to maintain such expensive PR campaigns without outside funding. With the limited funding available to the ACCG, such releases are very infrequent and Wayne Sayles tell me that he is always finding less expensive methods -- one of which actually gets fed through PR Newswire at a greatly reduced rate. Even so, the ACCG with its large membership cannot afford the levels of PR releases enjoyed by David Gill.So what is the fact? Looting Matters has been issuing near weekly press releases via PR Newswire since mid-May 2009. This has been stated quite openly. Topics have include the Sarpedon (Euphronios) krater, the place of Switzerland in the antiquities market, the return of antiquities to Greece, and changing attitudes in North America towards antiquities and coins.
Notice the language of Hooker: "David Gill pays a rate of $400 per 400 words for his frequent PR Newswire releases". How does Hooker know this? What is the basis of this statement? (Hooker's certainty allows him to avoid writing "David Gill possibly pays a rate / is likely to pay a rate" or even "Does David Gill pay a rate ... ?")
Peter Tompa - he wears several hats, among them legal officer of the Cultural Property Research Institute, and an attorney in Washington ("Cultural Property Lobbying and Advice") - left a comment on my original post about PR Newswire:
I am curious about the source of funding for your effort. As I'm sure you know, PR Newswire is not a free service. To give your effort credibility I would urge you to provide your readers with some information in this regard. Otherwise, we might just suspect that you are merely acting as an undisclosed agent of influence for some nationalistic, repatriation seeking foreign government, like that of Greece.Tompa's curiosity has drawn comment from European and North American archaeologists. I am sure that Tompa is curious: he would probably like his viewpoint to be distributed as widely as those of Looting Matters.
So has Hooker taken Tompa's insinuation ("we might just suspect that you are merely acting as an undisclosed agent of influence ...") and turned it into a fact ("David Gill pays a rate of $400 per 400 words for his frequent PR Newswire releases")?