One of the great benefits of travel is that you get to see other people’s point of view. Ordinarily I turn to my weekly edition of the London based Economist for a non-US perspective. While it’s not really a European view either, and for the most part the UK is our closest ally, the Economist views things differently and can often say things that American publications simply can’t. I also used to read the Far East Economic Review, but alas it was shuttered after 63 years ! (see: http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/09/22/dowjones-feer-idUSHKG23852320090922)
What has this got to do with PSYOP? Actually quite a bit.
I’m in London for a week as the final phase of a trip to Ireland (see www.cosac.net) and a weekend in Edinburgh. While I’m not a bit TV fan, my wife watches enough TV for the both of us and so it was no surprise that she the tube on virtually all the time we were awake on the road.
One evening the BBC had a bit on the US government shutdown and to illustrate the feeling of the average American they interviewed random people at the Texas State Fair. (see: http://www.bigtex.com/sft/) Photo Source: RYOT.org
The prelude to the interviews showed typical Texas Fair cuisine, which of course, means anything that can be fried. The interviews captured the thoughts of three ‘average Americans’ who felt: Obama care was nuts; government was too big and/or if shutting the government was the only way to curtail runaway government spending then – so be it.
Of course had the same ‘average Americans’ been in Berkeley, CA or Seattle, WA or Miami, FL it is more than likely that their views would have been different.
The moral of the story: you need to do your media research every day to develop a baseline of what the local media is saying so that you can gauge your own messages accordingly.
Input and other sources invited.