How to Conduct a Smear Campaign

by Culture & Society Editor

A smear campaign is an effective, if destructive, political tool that casts an important shadow of doubt over a person's moral and personal integrity. Used in electoral politics, career maneuvering and even personal life, a well conducted smear campaign can help you chip away at your opponent's image, no matter how good his or her reputation might be. Follow these steps to conduct a smear campaign.

Begin with the truth. A smear campaign that is based on lies is bound to backfire. So, kick off your smear campaign by researching your opponent. Look for statements they made in the past (check old webpages such as MySpace), speak with their enemies and pay attention to the most obvious and mundane of facts about their life. Look for contradictions, slips of the tongue or simple facts that might make your opponent look ill intentioned.

Build the story. To conduct your campaign, you need to create a story from the facts you find. You should know clearly and exactly what you are suggesting or accusing and what you are not. Collect as much supporting evidence as possible to illustrate the story but leave enough blanks in the story to get others curious enough to start looking.

Spread the story anonymously. Anonymity not only prevents you from being accused but adds an aura of truthfulness to a story. Without a direct accuser involved, the story about your opponent seems objective and impersonal. So, tip off news outlets or create an anonymous posting about your opponent. Also, begin locally, with scandal-hungry neighbors and new organizations who are usually all too happy to help conduct a smear campaign.

Get your opponent to respond. One of the best ways to ensure a smear campaign's success is getting the accused party to respond to the accusations. Without the advice of a savvy media team (and sometimes even with it), denial is as much an admission of guilt as a direct confession. So, if your opponent does not suspect you, suggest that he or she refute the charges. If you aren't on such good terms, then challenge the person to deny the charges, and to do so publicly.

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