v· metaphor for activity that can harm an individual or group's reputation by conflation with a stigmatized group. Sometimes smear is used more generally to include any reputation-damaging activity, including such colloquialisms as mud slinging.
Common targets are public officials, politicians, and political candidates. Smear campaigns are often based on information gleaned from opposition research conducted by paid political consultants. To a lesser degree, the term can refer to an attempt to damage a private person's reputation; for example, during a trial, the opposing counsel may attempt to cast doubt on the reliability of a witness.
A smear campaign is an intentional, premeditated effort to undermine an individual's or group's reputation, credibility, and character. "Mud slinging", like negative campaigning, most often targets government officials, politicians, political candidates, and other public figures. However, private persons or groups may also become targets of smear campaigns perpetrated in schools, companies, institutions, families, and other social groups.
Smear tactics differ from normal discourse or debate in that they do not bear upon the issues or arguments in question. A smear is a simple attempt to malign a group or an individual and to attempt to undermine their credibility.
Smears often consist of ad hominem attacks in the form of unverifiable rumors and are often distortions, half-truths, or even outright lies; smear campaigns are often propagated by gossip spreading. Even when the facts behind a smear are shown to lack proper foundation, the tactic is often effective because the target's reputation is tarnished before the truth is known.
Smears are also effective in diverting attention away from the matter in question and onto the individual or group. The target of the smear is typically forced to defend his reputation rather than focus on the previous issue.
Smear tactics are considered by many to be a low, disingenuous form of discourse; they are nevertheless very common.
Smear tactics are commonly used to undermine effective arguments or critiques. For example, Ralph Nader was the victim of a smear campaign during the 1960s, when he was campaigning for car safety. In order to smear Nader and deflect public attention from his campaign, General Motors engaged private investigators to search for damaging or embarrassing incidents from his past. In early March 1966, several media outlets, including The New Republic and the New York Times, reported that GM had tried to discredit Nader, hiring private detectives to tap his phones and investigate his past and hiring prostitutes to trap him in compromising situations. Nader sued the company for invasion of privacy and settled the case for $284,000. Nader's lawsuit against GM was ultimately decided by the New York Court of Appeals, whose opinion in the case expanded tort law to cover "overzealous surveillance." Nader used the proceeds from the lawsuit to start the pro-consumer Center for Study of Responsive Law.
In January 2007, it was revealed that an anonymous website that attacked critics of Overstock.com, including media figures and private citizens on message boards, was operated by an official of Overstock.com.
In many countries, the law recognizes the value of reputation and credibility. Both libel (a false and damaging publication) and slander (a false and damaging oral statement) are often punishable by law and may result in imprisonment or compensation or fees for damages done.
Smear Campaign — Album par Napalm Death Sortie 18 septembre 2006 Enregistrement Foel Studios Durée 45:02 Genre grindcore Producteur … Wikipédia en Français
Smear Campaign — can refer to: * Smear Campaign , a 2006 album by the band Napalm Death. * Smear campaign, a political tactic that are deliberate attempts by an individual or group to malign another individual or group s reputation … Wikipedia
smear campaign — UK US noun [C] ► a planned attempt to harm the reputation of a person or company by telling lies about them: »They accused competitors of mounting a smear campaign to drive them out of the market … Financial and business terms
smear campaign — [n] mudslinging character assassination, defamation of character, dragging one’s name through the mud*, slander, whispering campaign; concepts 54,192,278 … New thesaurus
smear campaign — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms smear campaign : singular smear campaign plural smear campaigns a series of attempts to damage someone s reputation by telling lies about them … English dictionary
smear campaign — noun An effort to damage or call into question someones reputation, by propounding negative propaganda. His opponent said it was all a smear campaign to make him look bad in the eyes of the voters … Wiktionary
smear campaign — smear cam.paign n a deliberate plan to tell untrue stories about an important person in order to make people lose respect for them used especially in newspapers … Dictionary of contemporary English
smear campaign — smear cam,paign noun count a series of attempts to damage someone s reputation by telling lies about them … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
smear campaign — I (Roget s 3 Superthesaurus) (VOCABULARY WORD) n. an underhanded campaign to ruin someone s reputation. The politicians launched smear campaigns against each other. SYN.: mudslinging, character assassination, slander, public denigration,… … English dictionary for students