Organisations jealous of your success, or just wanting access to your resources (your name, your contacts, your credibility) may try infiltration, cooptation, smears, or attacks, depending on circumstances. Knowing how to respond without wrestling with pigs (you both get muddy but the pig enjoys it) is a sadly necessary skill in many situations.
|You can deal with the smears and/or attempted infiltration/undermining by not terribly bright and clearly desperate organisations who are jealous of you/outmatched
|You can deal with the straightforward and mildly nefarious efforts of competent (if predictable and unimaginative) organisations with some resources and – in certain quarters- credibility.
|You can defend your organisation’s integrity in the face of coordinated attacks from groups and sock-puppet organisations casting around various slurs and innuendos, while exposing them for the awful low-rent people they are.
|You’re like an expert, only you do this stuff while running the campaigns your organisation is supposed to be doing, without breaking a sweat. You know what your organisation’s vulnerabilities are, and how to maintain morale in the face of nasty attacks from nasty organisations.
Element Overview Essay
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The reason this is done badly is it doesn’t happen that often, usually you get stabbed in the back rather than stabbed in the front. And when it does, it’s such a surprise and such an emotional fraught moment that you tend to try to fight fire with fire. And in that instance everyone gets cooked.
The consequences of this is that if you do it badly, everyone gets cooked. You look petulant at best and some of the mud that has been flung at you will stick.
So the solutions are to imagine in advance what kind of attacks you might come under. But of course, just because you imagined it will happen doesn’t mean that it will. And you shouldn’t respond to organisations that you’ve dreamt up attacks from as if they actually did the attack. As per that anecdote in about the salesman who crosses the fields to try and get some gas for his car, and has worked himself up into such a lather that he attacks the farm people as soon as the opened the door before he’s even asked them if you can have some gas.
Next, remember, “never wrestle with a pig you both get muddy but the pig enjoys it.” So you need to lower the emotional temperature. You need to point out any inaccuracies in what has been said or mischaracterizations if you can do it quickly? If it’s been a Gish Gallop, just call it that and say that you will respond in detail on your website soon, but that you do not intend to get into public slanging matches, because there are other bigger fish to fry. As Michelle Obama said “when they go low, we go high.”