Poison the Well

 

The term poison the well is a metaphor to describe detrimental information or misinformation that has been preemptively communicated to an audience with the intention of damaging or discrediting an individual(s), organization, or an effort.

 

Example:

 

The legislative aide spread a rumor that House Bill 2305 was not in fact designed to decrease the burden on taxpayers but was really just a favor to one of the patron’s to poison the well so that his boss could kill the bill that would be damaging to the constituents in his district. That the staffer was not proud of using smear tactics. However, if HB 2305 passes it will result in millions of jobs lost in the district.