Making Profit from Character Assassination

In times of deep political polarization, the continued capitalization of kompromat and the circulation of ridicule in the media continue to drive divergent attitudes to new ideological extremes. Sadly, it undermines any prospects for civic dialogue and public consensus.

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.

CARP Digest [February 2018]

We have been busy this past month. Just yesterday, Sergei Samoilenko and I attended a series of panels in Washington, D.C. focusing on reputation management. You can check out some insights from that event in our latest blog post, “Take Aways from Reputation Management Challenges: What Every New Professional Should Know”.

You can see CARP contributors and founders in action at the upcoming Perspectives on Character Assassination Panel, featuring Sergei Samoilenko, Jennie Keohane and Eric Shiraev on April 13.

Of course, neither of these events distracted us from  our weekly blogging. If you missed any of our recent blog posts, feel free to follow the links below and check out our contributors’ insights.

In Dracula: A Tale of Terror, Martijn Icks examined the character assassination of one of history’s most infamous figures – Vlad III Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler.

More recently, Jennie Keohane discussed the recent and disturbing erosion of a seemingly concrete tenet of American political discourse in Assassinating Children and Teens. Or, Leave Barron Trump Alone.

CARP Digest [January 2018]

In Head in the Clouds: The Ridicule of Socrates in Classical Athens, Martijn Icks started a new year by looking to the past and examining how a satirical play may have impugned Socrates’ reputation decades before his execution.

Later in the month, Jennifer Keohane reflected on her own personal struggle with ad hominem attacks following an editorial she wrote, which criticized U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and was published in the Baltimore Sun in Assassinating Academics.

Finally, Sergei Samoilenko explored the unique vulnerabilities of hashtag activism campaigns to message hijacking in #MeToo and Brandjacking of Social Movement Campaigns.

Living in a Fishbowl of Big Data: Insights for CA Research

Internet companies and intelligence agencies now have access to large amounts of personal data including compromising materials that can be potentially used for blackmailing the next generation of politicians and presidents.

On #MeToo and Brandjacking of Social Movement Campaigns

Clearly, a brandjacked and counterfeited social cause is a serious issue. When pinpointing and punishing a few guilty scapegoats is generally prescribed as a solution to a complex issue, there is less urgency to promote real structural changes. By trivializing the campaign, multiple influencers with vested interests stonewall the necessary development of numerous matters such as women’s autonomy, broken legal systems, and institutionalized structural violence in Hollywood.

CARP Digest [November 2017]

by Katya Beisel

November may not have been as busy for us as October was, but it was just as exciting.

Aside from our regular weekly blog posts, we organized our first virtual press conference on Nov. 10. Our first attempt at livestreaming panel discussions of CARP’s research initiatives and insights was a success, and we plan to organize more such broadcasts in the future so that we can continue to collaborate and engage with our fellow scholars,  interested media and industry practitioners.

Most recently on our blog, Sergei Samoilenko examined the role of late-night comedy hosts as modern jesters in an international political climate defined by institutional identity crises and low public trust, as well as the consequences of increasing public reliance on these modern jesters as news sources in Like a Jester, Like a Joker: Comedians as The Fourth Estate in a Low-Trust Society.

Jennifer Keohane extended her earlier analysis of gun violence hypocrisy charges in Gun Control Debate Fails to Rage On, where she examines re-framing of mass shootings from a gun control or legislative issue to a mental health phenomenon.

Earlier this month in The Ungodly Ideas of Spinoza, Martijn Icks delivered another historical case study of character assassination, this time focusing on accusations of atheistic, agnostic, or unchristian beliefs as a historically powerful and prevalent character assassination tactic in Western society.

Finally, Eric Shiraev started us off this month with The Character Assassination Checklist, which provides a framework to categorize, file and aid in the study of new and old character attacks and assassination attempts.

Gun Control Debate Fails to Rage On

Because the National Communication Association conference is coming up later this week, pulling many of us away from classes and research, I’m not going to jump into a new topic for this month’s blog post. Instead, I want to provide more evidence for the claims that I made about a month ago in my post about hypocrisy related to gun violence.

CARP Digest [October 2017]

by Katya Beisel

October was eventful for us. It was CARP’s first full month of publishing content on this new platform. Additionally, we devoted a significant amount of time to preparing for our Nov. 10 virtual press conference. Our efforts included a successful trial run on Oct. 27.

In The Character Assassination of Robert Bork, Eric Shiraev explored the advent of “borking” and examined Robert Bork’s failed US Supreme Court nomination as a case study in character assassination.

Martijn Icks delved into an even older and more infamous case of character assassination in Fiddler on the Roof: Nero and the Great Fire of Rome, where he connected this ancient case study in character assassination to its modern media resonance in political cartoons.

In One Hypocrisy Charge that Won’t Seem to Stick, Jennie Keohane extended her analysis of hypocrisy charges as character assassination to the “thoughts and prayers” narrative among Republican NRA donation recipients in the wake of mass-shootings.

Finally, Sergei Samoilenko authored an examination of the differing nuances of character assassination in bureaucratic and democratic systems in The Benefits of Bureaucratic Leadership: When There’s No Character to Assassinate.

In other news, CARP organized a trial livestream broadcast on Oct. 27 to prepare for our Nov. 10 virtual press conference. We appreciate all of our colleagues who supported or efforts and helped us test out Google Hangout on Air as a broadcasting platform. The trial run was a success, and we look forward to the real thing on Nov. 10.


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