Pro-smoking activists are intensifying the pressure on academics and health campaigners across the UK, as the Government looks into whether cigarettes should only be sold in plain packets.I can only assume that 'pro-smoking activists' is meant to be some kind of shorthand for opponents of tobacco control – people who oppose the way in which tobacco control advocates restrictions on smoking and proceeds to recommend sidelining just about anyone who doesn't agree with them.
Are these the same people who make abusive calls to tobacco control personnel? No – the suggestion is made in the article that bloggers spend their free time hounding people at work (they are more likely to spend their non-blogging time earning a living), but they make no specific allegation about hate mail against any specific blogger. Bloggers express themselves in strong terms but this kind of thing is hardly a direct threat, nor is it inciting violence or threatening behaviour.
Trying to associate bloggers with threatening calls and hate mail is blaming the messenger. Tobacco control has many opponents among bloggers, and they are people whose life quality has been adversely affected by smoking legislation. These people don't just rant, they investigate developments around them. The mainstream media has every reason to collude with this fiction that the blogging rabble are the ones most likely to terrorise tobacco controllers at work because they don't investigate in this part of the news.
Another example covered by Dick Puddlecote last year concerned the Independent's coverage of the Philip Morris/Stirling University story. Independent writer Steve Connor has just won an award for this coverage, but it took Dick Puddlecote to join the dots and report that Cancer Research UK, foremost in the plain packaging campaign, receives significant grant aid from Pfizer and AstraZeneca: an area that was not covered by Connor's reporting.
That the mainstream media fails to report on this issue fairly accounts for the intensity of blogging on this issue. If the MSM did its work properly it would be smeared and held responsible for acts of criminal threatening behaviour exactly as bloggers are doing now.