Yes, ASH Scotland (and others) I'm talking about YOU!
Right. I get why organisations like to have daily or weekly bulletins rounding up news and promotions around their special interests. According to all the marketers, this is how you engage with supporters and get them to keep coming back to your website, so when you need to call them to action, or fleece a few bob from their pockets, they're likely to be logging in.
Big business does it a lot. Apparently "Big Org" is now cottoning on.
It's just a crying shame, though, that the Tobacco Control wonks haven't worked out that 99.99951% (1) of the folks visiting their website will take a link to an external article implies endorsement of said article - after all, we wouldn't send you there if we didn't agree with it, would we?
It's called Information Curation. The idea is that whoever's responsible for the linkfest on any given day/week actually reads the content of the destination, and makes a decision as to whether or not it's something the Big Org ought to be endorsing. If not, they then have two choices. One is to simply ignore it (not the best choice - some other idiot is bound to link to it) and the other is to explain why the article linked to is a festering pile of foetid dingo kidneys - often referred to as either debunking or fisking.
This latter course of action is by far the most preferable, for a number of reasons.
First - and foremost - it demonstrates that the Big Org is actually engaging in research and not just blindly regurgitating crap which is actually counter-productive to their stated aim.
Second - it helps to stop the incredible surge of disinformation that certain groups seem to be building their salaries on.
Third - because of the second point, said disinformative groups might be dissuaded from publishing crap because every time they do, proper Big Orgs show them up for being the utter dickheads that they are, and show that they're rent-seeking disingenuous bastards.
Excuses like "It's an automated thing - we've got a bot that does it" don't hold water, I'm afraid. These Big Orgs are taking taxpayer's money to provide what they see as a service. Spending it on a bot that regurgitates lies and shite is not a good use of taxpayer money.
Excuses like "The reader will be able to make their own mind up once they've read it" don't wash, either, for a number of reasons. In this case, the reader is not allowed to make their own mind up about smoking, for instance, because this Org has been complicit in instituting a legally enforced ban in private property that the public has access to, and constantly punts outdoor smoking (and sometimes vaping) bans as being a good idea. Hypocritical much?
So, here's the thing. ASH Scotland needs to get its taxpayer funded act together and stop linking to utter shite. It needs to get a human involved, reading every last word it links to, and either commenting, fisking, or debunking the shite. Nothing less will suffice.
No excuses, not ifs or buts or ands or maybes - the taxpayer funds what ASH Scotland does (and the other ASHes, so this is aimed as much at them) so they have got to present only the truth, get in line with the PHE and RCP reports and do the right bloody thing.
(1) taken from the notion that 87.4823% of statistics are made up on the spot.