HOW TO...CONDUCT A SMEAR CAMPAIGN

How to...Conduct a Smear Campaign
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HOW TO...CONDUCT A SMEAR CAMPAIGN



Written by Kieron Monks
01 Monday 01st June 2009

(a) Feel pleased for your friend and wink knowingly at him from across the floor?

(b) Stroll over and loudly ask about his history of STDs, murdering the cherps stone dead?

For b-based bastards who love nothing more than slandering innocent victims, we have prepared a collectable distillation of what makes a successful smear. If nothing makes you giddier than a dragging a good name through the gutter, chew on these hot tips for character assassination.

MASK YOUR IDENTITY

The world may not agree with your individual hatred, so a good smear must appear to represent a wider view. Anonymity is a handy weapon, as the absence of an accuser makes the attack seem more objective. So "I've heard you're a hermaphrodite" is more effective than "Stacey says you're a hermaphrodite." If you've got ca$h and backing, it might be worth creating a phoney committee. In 2003 Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean was smeared out of the race by ‘Americans for jobs' a multi-million dollar alliance of Kerry supporters. The group, which claimed to voice public concerns, spent most of its time comparing Dean to Osama Bin Laden.

FROM THINE OWN LIPS BE DAMNED

No matter how squeaky clean your victim may appear to be, no-one can get through life without encroaching slightly on some controversial area. Dig deep to find any remarks that can be twisted. Will ‘I don't swear on records' Smith must have been mortified after a 2007 interview where he said, "In his twisted way, Hitler probably thought he was doing good." was taken by various gossip magazines and turned into the headline, "Will Smith: Hitler was a good person".

 

BUY SOME EXPERTS

Doctors are good, scientists too. Experts are an invaluable tool to politicians, journalists and anyone who wants to give their smear some credibility. In the world of pharmaceuticals academics and researchers are frequently paid to publish reports damning other companies' drugs. This shady practise reached a nadir when the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry bad-mouthed Trazodone, which was subsequently proved to be one of the least harmful anti-depressants. Many states now insist that academic institutions make public any funding they receive from drugs moguls.

GET A REACTION

‘Just ignore him and he'll stop', says conventional wisdom (your mum). But when a reputation is on the line, few can display Christ-like forbearance. Making someone deny an absurd accusation is a good way of getting people to associate them with the subject. Senator Joseph McCarthy, a legend of the smear, heaped pressure on his opponents by challenging them to prove they were not communists. Whatever their response it was taken as an admission of guilt and often ended up in court. Creating a dialogue adds longevity and credence to a smear.

One of Mccarthy's many victims

MAKE MONSTERS

Why accuse someone of being dishonest/unethical/perverted when you could cut out the middleman and tell people they're actual monsters? The Tories reached for the stars in 1997 with a brilliant but unsuccessful attempt to derail the Blair bandwagon. "New Labour: New Danger" was the message and those scaly eyes peering out from behind the curtains made John Major look like a relatively safe option. Julia Greenberg of The Atlantic magazine did even better with John McCain, mocking up a truly terrifying image, while Michael Howard was just born unlucky.

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