In this video, Marc Gafni reveals the myth of Where there is smoke there is fire and the hidden playbook of a smear campaign.
I learned about this playbook and I want to share it, because it’s so important for the evolution of public culture. I learned it the way we learn things, as my mother told me, through the school of hard knocks. I learned it through a painful and tragic experience in my life. Here’s how it works.
Marc then continues:
You have a strong person, man or woman, who is actively engaged in their profession. That’s one. Because the person’s a strong person, they’re successful, a person with integrity, has capacity, talented, good person, but because that person may be a strong personality, step two is they work well with most of the people they work with, but there is X amount of people, let’s say 5 percent, 10 percent, that have a hard time with them. That’s often the case with a strong personality. That’s step two.
Step three, a trauma enters the system. So let’s say the person is sued, let’s say complaints are filed. And I’m going to give you an example, a hypothetical example. I have a close friend, Janet, in South America. Janet runs a major hospital. Janet’s a strong person. She’s powerful. She’s talented. She’s a good person. And because she’s strong, she’s had many, many employees, most of the people she does unbelievably well with, but there’s always a 5 percent, a 10 percent who don’t do well with her. Those people sometimes are fired, sometimes they quit, all the reasons that tension exists in the normal arc of human relationships.
Gafni goes on:
Three, Janet gets sued. Now, when Janet gets sued her lawyers tell her for a series of legal reasons that she needs to go silent. So Janet’s now gone silent. She’s run a hospital in three different settings for the last 25 years. She’s had, let’s say, 1,500 employees. Of those 1,500 employees she’s worked wonderfully well with, let’s say, 1,300 of them. Another 100 were neutral and another 100 were mad at her. They got fired, they were passed over, she critiqued them, there was a hard moment, whatever the issue was.
Now, step four, the people who are behind the suit against Janet were pursuing finances, they were business rivals, so they filed a suit which was actually based on false claims. So a suit is filed based on false claims. It’s a shock in the system. Janet goes silent. What then happens? Then, using the Internet, it’s very easy to connect with all the disgruntled people in Janet’s life. And if she’s had 1,500 employees there’s going to be a group of disgruntled people.
In the following passage, Marc Gafni gives a full description of the playbook of a smear campaign:
Pretty soon you’ve got a Facebook group up called Victims of Janet. And who are the victims of Janet? They are people who are in the same social circle. They worked in the hospital together. They worked 15 years apart in the hospital, but they were connected through the Internet. And they may be former lovers, former business partners, former colleagues, but it’s the group of people who come together who look like they’re all independent people having a similar complaint, so you might suggest there’s a pattern, but actually that’s called false pattern recognition: you cherry-pick facts and put them together as a pattern.
What’s actually happened is there’s collusion. Janet has been forced to go silent until the case is resolved. There’s an alignment of stories between disgruntled people during the time of Janet’s silence. They’re all in touch with each other via the Internet. They all are attracted to each other because there’s a similar kind of emotional resonance. And all of a sudden you’ve got 40 people who claim to be victims of Janet or victims of Janet’s hospital. So you would think: There are 40 people who are victims of Janet on the Facebook group? It must be true. Of course it’s not.
Then, he concludes:
This phenomenon happens all the time, because the powerful person, maybe a good person, a wonderful person, a person of integrity, but they will rub some people wrong, and that small group of people that they’ve had clash with or conflict with, and sometimes legitimate conflict, actually then come together and then they use Janet’s silence and the Internet to hijack the narrative of Janet’s life in the virtual realm. What a failure of virtue and integrity through the medium of the virtual. It’s a new phenomenon which we can use to assassinate all of our leaders and all of our creative entrepreneurs. Every person is vulnerable to it and we need to take a stand against it.