Not surprisingly, the juiciest targets for this sort of willful misinterpretation are organizations and people who are successful. They have power, and power makes them both interesting and envied; I teach founders they all have to be prepared for this as their startups grow.
In my blog post, “Subtle Mid-Stage Startup Pitfalls” I said:
You can’t prevent yourself from being a target. It’s an automatic consequence of being successful. So the best you can do is react in the right way when people attack you. To some extent you have to resign yourself to letting people lie about you.
The problem with this is, the most successful people in an industry tend to have some of the most valuable insights about it. So you lose a lot when they are silenced. And also, if they keep those insights to themselves, it makes the powerful more powerful. It means useful information remains amongst insiders, like me, for example.