Wikipedia's entry on character assassination includes, in part:
Character assassination is a deliberate and sustained process that aims to destroy the credibility and reputation of a person, institution, social group, or nation. Agents of character assassinations employ a mix of open and covert methods to achieve their goals, such as raising false accusations, planting and fostering rumors, and manipulating information.Some examples of attempted character assassination against the Virginia Flaggers that has taken place over the last five years include:
Character assassination is an attempt to tarnish a person's reputation. It may involve exaggeration, misleading half-truths, or manipulation of facts to present an untrue picture of the targeted person. It is a form of defamation and can be a form of ad hominem argument.
In practice, character assassination may involve doublespeak, spreading of rumors, innuendo, or deliberate misinformation on topics relating to the subject's morals, integrity, and reputation. It may involve spinning information that is technically true, but that is presented in a misleading manner or is presented without the necessary context.
Three features of character attacks are important to understand. First, their intention: character attacks are by definition deliberate. Second, the public nature of the attacks: private insults do not lead to reputation damage. And third, the importance of the public perception of the attacks, which means that the truth of allegations is irrelevant.
- the public accusations (via blog entries) of child abuse leveled against Tripp Lewis by people who are not trained in child welfare or law enforcement, based solely on a few moments of video that didn't even show the children in question ... accusations made from sheer personal animosity for Tripp ...(If these people really believed child abuse had taken place, why did they not notify child protection agencies in Richmond? That they didn't verifies that they knew no child abuse took place, and they were attempting to character assassinate Tripp with lies even they didn't believe.)
- the deceitful term "Virginia Flagger favorite Matthew Heimbach," and the false claim that they "embrace" Heimbach which is to imply that they "embrace" white supremacy ...
- the implication that Susan Hathaway was involved in, or had knowledge of, the kidnapping of a child ...
- the suggestion that the Flaggers had stolen a backhoe belonging to one of them, in an attempt to claim insurance money ...
- the implication that the Flaggers had foreknowledge of an acquaintance's false claim of thwarting a vandalism attack on historic monuments in Richmond
- the claim that two Flaggers had put the home address of a Flagger opponent on the internet, when she did that herself, and the namecalling of the two Flaggers as "Susan's henchmen"
- the implication that the Flaggers agree with or approve of negative statements spoken by someone they do business with
- the implication that the Flaggers approve of or agree with negative behaviors or events simply because the accuser has not heard them disagree with or disapprove of them.
Unfortunately, what I cannot do is explain WHY these two bloggers, and everyone who joined them, would do this ... what motivates them to target people they don't even know, people who have not harmed them in any way. It is truly mystifying. What do they hope to gain by the smearing of people who've done them no wrong...
I hope to get started on this study before I have to take the blog dormant again... if not, I'm sure the opportunity will still be here when I come back.