Monday 24 May 2010

Harnessing "Black PR" and "yellow Journalism" for No-Questions-Asked Antiquity Collecting

As he rarely fails to mention these days John Hooker is proud as punch to have been appointed as the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild's editor of their newsletter. I have mentioned earlier his promise to provide a "survival pack" to help those collectors with no ideas of their own but the desire to "get the boot in" debate cultural property issues from the ACCG point of view.

Then I was reminded today of another bit of self-gratulatory prose committed to paper by Mr Hooker. About so-called "yellow journalism" and his involvement in creating "Black PR" in the past. The message about the first is in the Moneta-L archives from autumn 2007. For those who can access it, it can be found here. He starts off by stressing how long he has been involved in "the cultural property" debate. "My approach was to tackle archaeologists head-on" (see my discussion of Welsh's accusations on "who is to blame").

In all of these years, I have come to realize that the strategies and tactics of the anti-collecting lobby can be best described by the phrase "yellow journalism". One cannot fight this method through ethical means as it is aimed at an audience who is, perhaps, incapable of a thorough analysis of the facts. This audience likes its knowledge in small bites, and it likes its instincts massaged gently so it can be seen to be on the side of Right. [...] The public at large has no taste for a sustained in-depth analysis carried out by ethical means. It likes sensation and responds favorably to key words like "looting" and "trafficking". A complex response looks like avoidance of the issues to them. It is best, in this fight, to force such a response on your opponent. Yellow journalism is best countered by yellow journalism. We might not like it but it works. We must learn how to offend our opponents!
Then there is this from the Britarch archives (open permanently for all to see, nothing to hide there from prying eyes):
Having had training in "black PR" I can easily spot it. I am also, now, very critical of such things. Like the scorpion story: "It's in my nature". I was trained and used as a political weapon in the early seventies -- something I am not very proud of. I made up for this later by exposing the international organization that used me as such (a couple of my friends were killed. I escaped) and did some risky anti-terrorist work for the, then, RCMP Security Service (Canadian Intelligence) to make personal amends for my rather shady past in political intrigue
(I recall I was recipient of a much more explicit version of John Hooker's involvement in Black PR" but it was in a private email sent much earlier, see also here). No mention in either of a chip in his head like Alan van Arsdale though.

This past experience perhaps gives us a clue why John Hooker has been appointed as editor of the newsletter by the ACCG (presumably a personal appointment of the Executive Director, there seems no record of nominations received and voting on the topic). This presumably is what the "Hooker Papers" and his many contributions to online discussions speaking on behalf of the ACCG are intended to be. Hooker is the "Internationalists" specialist in Propaganda and Black PR.

Vignette: black propaganda.


FlaviusSextus said...

Perhaps a more fitting title might be "ACCG Minister of Propaganda"?

But "Editor of the ACCG Newsletter" does sound more benign.

Paul Barford said...

Well, as far as I can see the Third International had no "minister of propaganda" but Hitler did, but I'll leave the overworking of that, their favourite, motif to the collectors (who have more than once insultingly likened me to Jozef Goebbels).

David Gill said...

"Black Public Relations (BPR) or negative PR is a process of destroying someone's reputation and corporate identity" (source here).
John Hooker has made an unsubstantiated claim about me. The "factoid" was based on an insinuation from the Washington lobbyist Peter Tompa.
Is "Black PR" the standard (and long-standing) method used by John Hooker?
Have other individuals been the targets of his "Black PR"? And does the deployment of "Black PR" show Hooker is unable to present any justification for acquiring recently surfaced archaeological material (or "dug-ups")?
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Have other individuals been the targets of his "Black PR"?

Whole groups of them!

Paul Barford said...

I think on the whole the collectors' lobby has from the beginning been engaged in merely propagating "negative (black) PR", see its many attacks on archaeologists (the published article "Archaeology a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" being a prime example) and individual State Department officials.

You will note that whenever one of their assertions about "where coins come from" is challenged they clam up about that but then begin the name-calling "goose stepping", "space cadets" "metally fixated ideologues" etc.

I think the appointment of an experienced (nay, "trained") black propagandist within the raknks of the ACG is a clear pointer that this is the way they intend to go in future.

Let us draw people's attention to this, that instead of harnessing accredited academics and ANA officials to their team (there are currently none), to provide proper and informed answers to the challenges about their coiney mantras, and justify the continuation of the freedom to deal in illicitly exported coins, they appoint a black propagandist.

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