As you can see from this account, the blogger had his own agenda and purposes. Mostly likely trying to build his own rep and traffic by being seen as the unconventional critic. Fine for him, unless you are the victim of it. It’s the way it is with most activists and attackers in my experience. They have their own objectives and ambitions, and their take on you is just a means to an end. Nothing personal, so to speak. But in that case, reasoning with them is clearly not going to do any good. Engaging with them in any way isn’t–certainly not in the deceptive way one employee tried to do.
What Mr. Strong advocates is what I call “isolate the sinner.” Or marginalize. By “sinner” I am referring to the designation of three categories of audience in a major issue debate: saints, sinners and saveable. The saints you have with you. The sinners, against you. And the saveables are the swing vote, and that’s where you focus your effort. As I have commented many times before, many of those who appear to be “sinners” are actually saveables. So don’t presume anything. In fact, even in this case, you want to make certain that the blogger is immune to engagement before isolating, because obviously he/she is not going to like it. But, when they have their own agenda, as I said, nothing you can do.
I have used this method many times myself in tough issue management situations. If you go directly after those people closest to the attacker and confront them simply, clearly, kindly, graciously with the facts, the truth, no spin, and plenty of respect, it can do amazing things. They are forced to choose between the credibility their attacker friend has in their mind, and the truth. If you are persuasive, the result will be loss of credibility in their friend. The truth is, either you are telling the truth, or they are. But you better dang well be telling the truth, wholly and completely.
In battles like this, it is always about credibility. The initial win almost always goes to the attacker because you have the motive of profit and cannot be trusted. But if they can be shown to be less than fully and completely honest or if their own motives and agendas becomes obvious, you have a chance not only to level the playing field but win the battle. It always comes down to credibility.