- perception management—Actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning as well as to intelligence systems and leaders at all levels to influence official estimates, ultimately resulting in foreign behaviors and official actions favorable to the originator’s objectives. In various ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover and deception, and psychological operations.
Emily Goldman characterizes the phrase "perception management" as a "euphemism" for "an aspect of information warfare." She notes a distinction between "perception management" and public diplomacy, which "does not, as a rule, involve falsehood and deception, whereas these are important ingredients of perception management; the purpose is to get the other side to believe what one wishes it to believe, whatever the truth may be.
Although perception management is specifically defined as being limited to foreign audiences, critics of the DOD charge that it also engages in domestic perception management. An example cited is the prohibition of viewing or photographing the flag draped caskets of dead military as they are unloaded in bulk upon arrival in the U.S. for further distribution, a policy only recently implemented.
The phrase "perception management" is filtering into civilian use as a synonym for "persuasion." Public relations firms now offer "perception management" as one of their services. Similarly, officials who are being accused of shading the truth are now frequently charged with engaging in "perception management. These individuals are widley known as "Spin Doctors" For example there is an old Soviet story saying that USSR and the Americans had a race. The actual results were the Soviets came in 2 seconds behind the Americans. What Pravda reported to their readers was: Americans Come in Next to Last Place!" This is a simplified Spin.
Spin has to be fortified with repeated messages of a similar nature from multiple sources, real or otherwise to make it more acceptable and believable. Spin does not even have to have an iota of truth to it, just keep repeating it over and over. It was also known as "Brain Washing" in the Korean War. An example of this was used in the Manchurian Candidate a great novel and twice made into a movie. What is an example of this Brainwashing? Do you know what brand and what product I am referring to when I say,"Wat's-s-s- u-u-u-u-u-u-u-p-p-p-p-p-p?" Of course Budwieser beer! You have been brainwashed.
Although perception management operations are typically carried out within the international arena between governments, civilian use of perception management techniques have been carried out by some practitioners.