Maybe State-and-associated nationals tend to have a more cynical view of stuff but: of course it’s media manipulation. So’s pretty much any kind of communication to the media.
If you have a problem with a secret society, how do you hurt it? Well, for starters, you drag it into public view. Secret societies start off on the wrong foot when they get exposed, because of course the first question everyone’s going to have at the back of their mind is, “Why keep this secret?” Quickly followed by, “What else are you hiding?”
(It’s normally good for your credibility to make at least the accusation that it exists stick, though. That’s the risk the SoE is taking-- whether they’ll be believed, and whether they’ll be believed about other stuff in future if they end up looking like they’re lying.)
If you want to keep a secret, whisper it down your garbage reprocessing shaft (but check the maintenance schedule and shine a flashlight first). If you want to un-keep a secret, tell it to the media-- if it’s worth telling.
As an aside, the SoE has a certain degree of sovereignty (in Thera, notably) and does piles of humanitarian work. If they have some dark secrets here and there … well, seemingly so does everyone.
Probably CONCORD has some kind of failsafe that’ll neutralize us if/when we outlive our usefulness. (The next one darker would be having no such failsafe and no way to shut us down if we figure out a bypass that’ll let us do stuff like lock titan superweapons onto planetary surfaces.) I’d be a little surprised if they didn’t have a few dozen or even hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of other things (a little might depend how you count) they didn’t want known.
I don’t really see one as more credible than the other, necessarily.