The goal of character assassination is to cause harm to the target as a result of stories or rumors.

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

"Whoever starts anything in any movement, there will always be those to hurt its founders. Just part of the territory.  We gotta be comfortable in our discomfort to accomplish anything worthy in life!"  CM
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Character assassination - typical tactic to discredit leadership of any cause fighting the status quo.  Cynthia Mckinney

Character assassination is the attempt to discredit a person through damage to his or her personal character. This tactic is often used to harm an individual for spite or personal gain, in situations as small as a classroom rumor mill, or as large as a national election. When character assassination is attempted through the use of lies, gross exaggeration, or misrepresentation of facts, it may be considered slander or libel, and may sometimes result in legal charges.

In general, the goal of character assassination is to cause some harm to the target as a result of the stories or rumors. For instance, in a political election, a candidate may try to damage an opponent's reputation by claiming he or she is estranged from family members, or has a history of marital affairs. The rumors spread do not necessarily need to be related to the issue at hand, such as whether or not the targeted individual would make a good mayor or governor; instead, they need only to cause voters to question whether the target adheres to culturally acceptable moral and personal standards.

Character assassination is frequently associated with political and public figures, and has long been a mainstay of election drama. In mid-20th century America, during the height of McCarthyism, many innocent people found their jobs terminated for the mere suggestion, without proof, of Communist affiliations. Election campaign advertisements, while often skirting direct accusations, frequently stress negative aspects of a candidate's character in order to create a more flattering picture of his or her opponent.

While some attempts at character assassination may pass on verifiable information, those that deal in lies and exaggerations run dangerous close to illegality. Knowingly and maliciously spreading lies is illegal in many regions, and may result in criminal charges levied against the instigator. Slander and libel laws aim to prevent character assassination through lying, but are charges are often difficult to prove in court.


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