About CARP

About CARP Image

The Lab for Character Assassination and Reputation Politics (CARP) is an interdisciplinary network of scholars studying character assassination and reputation management. The lab was founded in 2016 in the Department of Communication at George Mason University in cooperation with Faculty of Humanities at University of Amsterdam.

 What is Character Assassination?

Character assassination (CA) is the deliberate destruction of an individual’s reputation or credibility through character attacks. Character assassination has been a widespread method of power struggle for centuries. 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. 

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.

CARP Book Series

CARP has signed a contract with Amsterdam University Press for a book series on the topics of character assassination and reputation management. Read more about the series on the AUP website.