Character Assassination in the Court of Law

Or: Why Don’t More Character Assassins get Sued? One of the things that our extensive research into character assassination has uncovered is the staying power of this communication strategy through the ages. As Martijn Icks’s work demonstrates, character attacks can be traced back to our democratic forefathers in ancient Athens. We’ve also seen character assassination... Continue Reading →

“I Just Don’t Like Her”

Or: We Can dance if we want to. I’ve written before about the double-bind facing female political candidates, which is well-established in the rhetorical and political science scholarship. In the United States, leaders are expected to be decisive, rational, and independent, traits stereotypically associated with men. When women would-be leaders enact these traits, they are... Continue Reading →

Trumpism as Brand Commodification

The so-called Trump Bump is a gift that keeps on giving. Traditional news outlets and their social media competitors for advertising dollars, liberals and conservatives, and even Trump and Putin all benefit from the commodification of public interest in the Trump White House.

The Character of Thomas Jefferson: Then and Now [Part 2]

Today, the most notable character attacks of Thomas Jefferson derive from widely-circulated newspapers, campus protests, or national figureheads. But Jefferson’s character is also questioned in students' history texts. This has not always been so. In the mid-nineteenth century, instruction books devoted considerable space to Jefferson, casting him in a favorable light. Publications from 1835, 1842... Continue Reading →

On Authenticity and Character Assassination

By Jennifer Keohane While the heat and humidity have made those in DC lethargic and prone to staying inside and binging on Netflix, on Twitter, it’s always a perfect 75 degrees with conditions ripe for character assassination. My case today comes from the recent wave of primary elections ahead of November’s midterms. In New York’s... Continue Reading →

CARP 2019 Conference “Character Assassination and Populism”

Fairfax, VA – George Mason University’s Character Assassination and Reputation Politics (CARP) Research Lab hosts its second international conference “Character Assassination and Populism: Challenges and Responses” on March 15-17, 2019. One primary characteristic of today’s global society is the growing public distrust in traditional authorities. In the context of institutional legitimacy crisis, there is a great demand for... Continue Reading →

Selfish Teachers

By: Jennifer Keohane Can you undertake a character assassination campaign against a profession? We at CARP Lab have had rousing debates about whether groups of people can be targets of character assassination. After all, we tend to think of character as traits stemming from individuals. Things like honesty and humility are individual characteristics. Of course,... Continue Reading →

Sharia for the Netherlands

By Martijn Icks Last month, Eric Shiraev and I participated in the 2nd International Conference in Scandalogy at the University of Bamberg, Germany. It was a very engaging event, bringing together researchers from many disciplines who focus on the study of scandal and scandal cultures. Obviously, these terms are closely related to character assassination. After... Continue Reading →

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