Character assassination is a deliberate and sustained effort to damage the reputation or credibility of an individual. The term could also be selectively applied to social groups, institutions, and corporations, which could all experience loss of reputation due to character assassination. Character attack is an inclusive concept that can be addressed from various academic perspectives, such as rhetoric, political science, propaganda studies, and others. This entry first examines the history of the study of character assassination and then highlights the fundamentals and typologies of character attacks. It concludes by discussing application areas of character assassination.

Character assassination practices stem back to ancient times, but there had been little academic interest until the 1950s to conceptualize many well-known cases. As a subject of scholarly study, character attack ...

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