Are people on one side of an issue attempting to discredit people on the other side by using unfair tactics that impugn the latter's reputation?
Identify "witch hunts" that are occurring today in our community.
There are several kinds of witch hunts going on in today's society.
The public sees this with every election.
Stories come out about one candidate and the terrible things he has done; and the other "side" returns the favor. Propaganda controls the public view, and what better way than to find and sling "mud" around to prove a candidate is not perfect, rather than to identify the issues and discuss them.
Some will point a finger at President Obama for wrong doings. However, others point fingers at Sarah Palin. If it's not an individual in front of the "firing squad," it is an entire political party.
The recent election in November of this year is considered one of the ugliest ever. The polarization of the two parties has caused contingents on both sides to dig for "dirt" and do their best to discredit the other side. Half-truths and innuendo have become far more prevalent than debates.
The same happens with controversial issues such as abortion and stem cell research. It is hard sometimes to separate the facts from the extremely creative fiction that moves around; these tactic do little to enlighten the public, but do much more to frighten and/or confuse voters, for much of what is sanctioned in the scientific and moral communities is controlled through politics.
Martha Stewart's conviction of insider trading was a witch hunt. If she was involved in such activities, she was certainly the scapegoat that took the fall even while high-level executives in major corporations were not being charged for doing the same thing. Rather than seeming like a criminal who got caught, it seemed as if the entire thing was a joke, and it would seem, Martha is more popular now than ever before.
Witch hunts exist wherever people disagree, and someone needs to take the blame. The best way to avoid being sucked in is to be as educated as possible in order to avoid the drama; stick to the issues.
The "experts" don't see anything here that is hard to understand. Though it may seem more closely associated with politics, it is applicable on a much wider scale. According to Jordan Guinn Lodi's article (News-Sentinel, California) entitled, "Campaign ads can get downright ugly. Why do candidates embrace mud-slingling so easily?"...
...there is a reason negative political campaigns have been a part of the American political arena for more than 150 years: They work.
People seem to enjoy them
"It responds to our basic human nature," said David Johnson, CEO of Georgia-based Strategic Vision, LLC. and a senior Republican strategist who worked on Bob Dole's 1988 presidential campaign. "People respond to a negative story, no matter if it is political, financial or even sports."
With this in mind, the witch trials of Salem, Massachusetts, don't seem so far fetched. In this age of technology and the access to information on the Internet, people are looking to expose and/or blame others all the time. There is always another "witch hunt" just around the corner.