Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.
Media vultures are trying to make a meal of my political career. What should I do?
Chris in New Jersey
You are suffering from an attack of opposition research.
Opposition researchers know that human behavior often involves patterns. Meaning, if you did it once, there are probably other instances. So, they are digging.
You are in deep scat. As a former hard-charging anti-corruption prosecuting attorney who won convictions or guilty pleas from 130 public officials, you probably know that.
Opposition research does far more damage than is generally reported, whether it takes the form of anonymous whispers or professionally prepared dossiers. Its dynamics usually only come to light through insider revelations. Why so? Because reporters don’t want to admit that their earth-shaking stories were the result not of their own brilliance but of spoon-fed, un-sourced tips.
It used to be a shady, hush-hush, backroom activity that few admitted to. But today there are fancy firms devoted to opposition research, three-piece suits strutting down K Street with briefcases full of DUI reports and divorce records. For the amateur, there are handbooks and seminars led by private investigators.
What the diggers are looking for, as you well know, is further examples of dirty tricks.