WGSPM – timeline of hostile media coverage

This page only lists attacks on academic members of the Working Group. Attacks on others, notably the independent journalist Vanessa Beeley, have been prolific.

Whitaker, Brian (2018 Feb 24) al-bab.com  https://al-bab.com/blog/2018/02/syrian-conflicts-anti-propaganda-propagandists

Whitaker, Brian (2018 Mar 18) al-bab.com https://al-bab.com/blog/2018/03/propaganda-professors-switch-focus-syria-britain-and-russia

Whitaker, Brian (2018 Mar 19) al-bab.com https://al-bab.com/blog/2018/03/911-truther-joins-syria-propaganda-research-group

York, Chris (2018 April 12) This Professor Teaches Journalism At A Top UK University. He’s Also A 9/11 Truther. Huffington Post

Georgie Keate, Dominic Kennedy, Krystina Shveda, Deborah Haynes (2018 April 14) Apologists for Assad working in British universities, The Times (note that Deborah Haynes, despite the byline, has stated she is not responsible for any part of this article)

Leader Comment (2018 April 14) The Times (Oliver Kamm has repeatedly and proudly reminded his Twitter followers of this leader comment. He has taken credit for organising the hostile coverage and publicised the encouragement received for it from the late James Le Mesurier.)

Robinson, Matthew (2018 April 16) UK academics accused of ‘spreading pro-Assad conspiracy theories’ CONDEMN Syria airstrikes, Express

Tankred, Alastair (2018 April 14) High-ranking UK academics are accused of ‘spreading pro-Assad and Russian conspiracy theories around British universities’, Mail Online

York, Chris (2018 April 19) ‘Whitewashing War Crimes’: How UK Academics Promote Pro-Assad Conspiracy Theories About Syria, Huffington Post

York, Chris and Somerville, Ewan (2019 April 17) Professor Piers Robinson Leaves Sheffield Uni Post After Accusations Of Promoting Conspiracy Theories, Huffington Post

York, Chris (2018 April 24) Pro-Assad Academics Blame Criticism On Conspiracy, Huffington Post

Ahmad, Muhammad Idrees (2018 April 26) Syria: on academic freedom and responsibility, openDemocracy

Wikipedia has been a site of persistent edit-wars relating to the group and its individual members – along with other anti-war figures and left-leaning intellectuals – in an ongoing saga that others have documented. A comment on it is included in the next item of this list:

Kamm, Oliver (2018 November 23) How credulous cranks made me the subject of their baseless conspiracy theory, CapX

York, Chris (2019 February 28) A UK Thinktank That Examines Propaganda Just Recruited A Pro-Russian Propagandist, Huffington Post

Haynes, Deborah (2019 March 6) ‘”Highly likely” GRU hacked UK institute countering Russian fake news‘, Sky News [In this article Haynes also elicits a condemnatory quote on us from Foreign Office Minister at the time, Alan Duncan. The Working Group responds to this here.]

Somerville, Ewan (2019 April 18) Sheffield University ‘conspiracy theory’ professor quits, Forge

Somerville, Ewan (2019 May 6) [A planned attack, aiming to do to me what he had previously done to Piers Robinson, involved violations of professional, ethical and legal codes, and was spiked by Huffington Post] See my mention of this in A Syrian Student Writes…

Hoffman, Noa (2019 September) Syrian students ‘put off’ attending UoE by lecturer accused of spreading pro-Assad propaganda, The Tab

York, Chris (2019 September 23) [a planned hitpiece in Huffington Post was spiked following my challenge to York’s journalistic ethics]

York, Chris (2020 January 29) The ‘Useful Idiots’: How These British Academics Helped Russia Deny War Crimes At The UN, Huffington Post

Martin, Henry (2020 January 30) Did British academics help Russia deny war crimes at the UN? Kremlin cites ‘conspiracy theorist’ university lecturers in attempts to cover up atrocities in Syria, Daily Mail

Kennedy, Dominic (2020 April 11) British academics sharing coronavirus conspiracy theories online, The Times

Kennedy, Dominic (2020 June 13) Conspiracy theories spread by academics with university help, The Times

Kennedy, Dominic (2020 June 16) Lecturer David Miller quits ‘Zionist’ Labour Party, The Times

(Dominic Kennedy has repeatedly declined to answer questions about the inclusion of his name in documentation from the information operation “Integrity Initiative“. He and other persistent smearers, like Chris York, have also failed to see that calling people ‘conspiracy theorists’ merely demonstrates a lack of any reasoned deliberation to offer.)

Hadjimatheou, Chloe (2020 November) Mayday podcast series, BBC Radio 4 [episode 7 and extra episode (11)]

[Mayday researcher Tom Wright additionally encouraged a student journalist to write about the group in a student paper. The student, having spoken with Chloe Hadjimatheou too, sent us some unpleasantly loaded questions, characteristic of a hit piece, to respond to. We complained to the BBC who denied the approach to the student until we presented documentary evidence. They were unapologetic, but to date the student has not published the planned piece.]

Hadjimatheou, Chloe (2021 February 27) Mayday: How the White Helmets and James Le Mesurier got pulled into a deadly battle for truth, BBC News

York, Chris (2021 February 20) Jewish Students ‘Intimidated’ By Professor’s Comments As Williamson Defends ‘Free Speech’, HuffPost

Jelacic, Nerma (2021 August 4) Spinning Bomb: fighting the disinformation war, Index on Censorship

Monbiot, George (2022 March 2) We must confront Russian propaganda – even when it comes from those we respect, The Guardian

Usherwood, Theo (2022 March 11) Professors at two top universities accused of sharing Russian propaganda, LBC News

Turner, Camilla (2022 March 14) University lecturers accused of spreading pro-Putin propaganda, The Telegraph

Bloodworth, James (2022 March 16) Putin apologists aren’t “asking awkward questions” – they’re degrading truth, New Statesman

Ellory, Ben (2022 March 22) University of Edinburgh academic Tim Hayward accused of spreading propaganda, The TimesChloe Hadjimatheou (2022 May 30 ) Ukraine: the disinformation war, BBC File on 4

Chloe Hadjimatheou, Anna Meisel and Hazel Shearing (2022 May30) Students accuse lecturer of sharing Russia war lies, BBC News

Catherine Lough (2022 June 10) ‘I won’t give up’, Zelensky tells UK students, The Independent [and syndicated outlets]

[Responses by others to York’s persistent attacks:

Nobody Sets Out To Become A War Propagandist. It Just Sort Of Happens

HuffPost UK editor works with gov’t censorship program while smearing anti-war scholars as tools of Russia

Interference by journalists on sovereign opinions of professors, academics, and independent researchers, comprise infringements to Art 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights