Response to Attacks by the Times Newspaper

Initial Response from the Organisation for Propaganda Studies Response to the Recent Times Newspaper Articles Attacking both the Organisation and Its Members

The Times of London has recently published a series of articles attacking the Organisation for Propaganda Studies (OPS) and some of its members for ‘promoting conspiracy theories’.

The articles contain multiple inaccuracies and flaws including the conflation of the OPS with an academic working group (Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media), inaccurate claims that the OPS holds collective views or positions on issues, and a failure to demonstrate that anyone associated with the OPS has promoted a ’conspiracy theory’. In particular, the attacks appear to be the continuation of a longstanding smear campaign against some of its members who have been researching the war in Syria.

A detailed list of required corrections regarding these inaccuracies has been sent to the Times newspaper editor and we await their response. If no response is forthcoming, we will publish the detailed list as well as further information regarding the history of the Times newspaper attacks on academics. 

For now, we would like to make clear that the OPS is comprised of academics and researchers who work on different issue areas, all of whom hold a variety of views. Any examination of the OPS website shows that it contains material reflecting a variety academic research and opinions. The organization does not hold collective views on any issue and to suggest that it does is entirely false.  

In reality, these attacks are precisely what can be expected to happen in a global media industry where propaganda plays such a central role. Academics who study it are frequently attacked and smeared by some of the same media and political organizations that are regularly deployed to elaborate and support the dominant military, business, and international relations publicity campaigns of the moment. 

In this sense, the latest Times attack actually confirms the urgent need to study and analyse propaganda as well as the role and function of mainstream media to ‘manufacture consent’ for the interests of the powerful. No doubt the attacks will continue, but so, too, will the work of academics, journalists, religious leaders, dissidents, and the general public worldwide whose efforts to advance truth and rationality so frequently arouses media ire.

The Directors

Organisation for Propaganda Studies