The Lab for Character Assassination and Reputation Politics (CARP) is an interdisciplinary research team of scholars studying character assassination. It was founded in 2016 in cooperation with the International Society for the Study of Character Assassination (ISSCA).
What is Character Assassination?
Character assassination (CA) is the deliberate destruction of an individual’s reputation or credibility through character attacks. CA techniques include negative campaigning, spreading rumors, anonymous online defamation, and many other tactics. All of these are common in contemporary politics, but character attacks can also be used against celebrities, athletes, scientists, and others with a high public profile. Attackers target the private lives, values, and identity of their victims in an attempt to discredit them and subject them to scorn and ridicule. Character assassination has been a widespread method of power struggle for centuries.
Who are we?
We include researchers with disciplinary homes in psychology, history, communication, and public relations. Our research team spans continents, including scholars here at George Mason University and at the University of Amsterdam.
What do we do?
We focus our efforts along 3 main dimensions:
1) Research: we research historical and contemporary examples of character assassination to better understand this timeless phenomenon
2) Teaching: we teach both our university students and members of the public about the phenomenon of CA so that they can better understand and prepare to defend themselves
3) Assessment: we conduct risk assessment to determine vulnerabilities for public figures concerned about their reputations