Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Prankster Shmankster – Does It Really Matter?

The recent dialogue about whether or not the radio transmissions received by US Naval warships during an encounter with Iranian small craft has brought up the possibility that these transmissions were not from the Iranians at all, but rather from a “prankster”.

Does it really matter and who cares?

The key thing to remember about PSYOP is that it’s only the effect on the desired audience that really matters. A second key point is that time will pass quickly and that it is the effect on the audience that lingers, not necessarily the authenticity of the actors.

If the audience for the Iranian PSY Act was the population of the Middle East then it’s their reaction that matters, not whether or not the transmissions came from the Iranians. Did the man on the Arab Street feel sympathy for the poor US warships? Did they identify with ‘heroic’ acts in the face of certain death? Did the addition of the radio transmissions to the acts at sea strengthen or weaken the event?

It’s my contention that the radio transmissions strengthened the impact on the audience and reinforced the actual acts of the Iranian vessels. Influencing perception is done best when multiple senses are put into play and most of all when the receiver has an emotional picture of the event that touches them.

Bottom line: it doesn’t matter if the source is credible, only the effect on the intended audience.

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