In the past I worked as a political advisor for a corporation. It was sometimes my job to dig up compromising information about the company’s enemies. This part of my history has caused me to become a bit of an expert on how to run a political smear campaign. I would like to share some of the techniques with you so that you can point out certain smear strategies in the next Presidential Election.
Basically, there are two types of smear campaigns. They are referred to in the business as solitary or blanket. A solitary smear campaign will take one issue about the person’s past, present, or future and exploit it as much as possible. A blanket smear campaign we take multiple issues about the person and exploit them all.
Common issues to be covered during a solitary smear campaign could include infidelity, a past political mistake, a political alliance, a business alliance, or a legal issue that has come up. These issues will be hammered to make sure that people question the judgment of a certain person during current and future issues.
The goal of a solitary smear campaign is to call a person’s decision making into question. By being hammered over and over again about the same topic, it will stick for many people. A great example of this would be the number of people that had issues with John Kerry because of the fact that they believed that he flip-flopped on issues. They had been told that John Kerry flip-flopped so many times, that it stuck.
A solitary smear campaign will focus all of the attention to the one issue. It is common, though, that multiple issues can be brought out from the solitary issue. For example, if a person has a political or business alliance with someone who would be considered questionable, all decisions made after that could be suggested as being influenced by the political or business ally.
All of the people involved would then be asked if they really wanted someone in a position of power that would not make the decisions themselves? It would be pushed that this person could not be trusted because of the power and clout of the person’s ally.
During a blanket smear campaign, multiple issues would be brought out that did not really have any direct connection to each other. This kind of smear campaign will pull from a wide variety of issues so that people will not only question the decision making of the person, but the person’s ethics, and mental stability.
This is the most common type of smear campaign that would be used in politics. Essentially, this process evolved from the methods of prosecuting attorneys during high-profile court cases.
The more negative information that comes about a person, the more the target audience will question that person. If a blanket smear campaign is successful, there will be more people that will be standing against the target of the smear campaign, then those standing with the target.
Granted, there are many that believe that a smear campaign is an unethical practice that should either be modified or done away with. Smear campaigns, though, are a necessary evil. If all you heard about politicians was the good points, many decisions would end up being regretted.