“Character assassination is a deliberate and sustained process that aims to destroy the credibility and reputation of a person, institution, social group, or nation.
Character assassination is a deliberate damage of an individual’s reputation. Most notable victims of character assassination are political leaders, officials, celebrities, scientists, athletes and other public figures. “Character assassins” target private lives, behavior, values, and identity of other people. Their biographical details are altered or fabricated. Intimate features become public. Achievements are questioned. Good intentions are doubted. Using exaggerations, mockery, allegations, lies, insinuations, and slander, the attackers try to hurt their victims morally and emotionally in the eyes of public opinion.
Agents of character assassinations employ a mix of open and covert methods to achieve their goals, such as raising false accusations, planting and fostering rumours, and manipulating information”
The International Society for the Study of Character Assassination (ISSCA) is a nonprofit scientific, educational, and non-ideological organization with the following purposes:
A. To facilitate communication of scientific research, theory, and practice concerning character assassination across disciplinary boundaries.
B. To expand a community of scholars and practitioners who have scientific and practical interests in examining the phenomenon of character assassination and defamation.
C. To provide mutual support among members of with regard to their freedom to generate and disseminate their findings and ideas.
In July 2014, our edited volume Character Assassination throughout the Ageswill be published by Palgrave Macmillan. Ranging from ancient Rome to Communist China and the modern-day U.S., and featuring kings and queens, popes and prophets, emperors and presidents, it examines how character attackers have been attempting to damage and destroy the reputations of their victims in a wide variety of historical cultures.
This volume is the result of the 2011 seminar Character Assassination: The Art of Defamation throughout the Ages at the University of Heidelberg. Next to papers which were presented at this event, it contains several new contributions
Using a variety of cases from history and today’s life, the book examines character attackers targeting the private lives, behavior, values, and identity of their victims. Numerous historical examples show that character assassination has always been a very effective weapon to win political battles or settle personal scores.
The Facebook page of the International Society for the Study of Character Assassination provides regular updates about character assassination in the international news, announces interesting publications and events, links to online articles and provides short introductions to historical cases of character attacks.
This extensive Wikipedia article mostly treats defamation from a legal perspective.
An extensive Wikipedia article on mudslinging in politics, including a list of notable examples from various countries.
On this website, you can stream both Republican and Democratic TV ads for the US presidential elections from 1952 to 2008. A short explanation places each commercial in its historical context.
Complete Campaigns is an organization that provides web-based services for people running political campaigns. In this article from their Campaign Guide, William Bike discusses the pros and cons of “going negative”.
This website focuses on defamation law in Australia, but also discusses cases from other countries.