Smear campaign

A smear campaign, also referred to as a smear tactic or simply a smear, is an effort to damage or call into question someone's reputation, by propounding negative propaganda.[1] It makes use of discrediting tactics.

It can be applied to individuals or groups. Common targets are public officials, politicians, political candidates, activists and ex-spouses. The term also applies in other contexts such as the workplace.[2]

The term smear campaign became popular around 1936.[3]