In modern politics as well as in historical times, character attacks abound. Words and images, like symbolic and psychological weapons, have sullied or destroyed numerous reputations. People mobilize significant material and psychological resources to defend themselves against such attacks. How does character assassination “work” and when does it not? Why do many targets fall so easily when they are under character attack? How can one prevent attacks and defend against them?
The Routledge Handbook of Character Assassination and Reputation Management offers the first comprehensive examination of character assassination. Moving beyond studying corporate reputation management and how public figures enact and maintain their reputation, this lively volume offers a framework and cases to help understand, critically analyze, and effectively defend against such attacks. Written by an international and interdisciplinary team of experts, the book begins with a theoretical introduction and extensive description of the “five pillars” of character assassination: (1) the attacker, (2) the target, (3) the media, (4) the public, and (5) the context. The remaining chapters present engaging case studies suitable for class discussion. These include: