“We're in a new world. We're in a world in which the possibility of terrorism, married up with technology, could make us very, very sorry that we didn't act.” — Condoleezza Rice, Former U.S. Secretary of State
The term “Perception Management” (PM) has firmly entered the public lexicon. The Department of Defense even defines PM in one of its manuals, so the military folks obviously take it very seriously.
Perception management is a type of strategy that is aimed at guiding the motives, emotions, and conclusions of another party by means of using different approaches to alter that party’s perception of past events and the projections of future events. This particular type of strategy has been used in military operations in attempts to gain advantages over enemies, and has also found use in the business world among competitors. The goal is to alter the perception of the opposing party in a way that provides the manager with an advantage that can be used successfully to score a victory or otherwise defeat that opposing party.
There is some difference of opinion regarding whether the task of perception management must remain firmly rooted in the use of verifiable information that is presented in a manner that is likely to trigger the desired outcome, or if the strategy allows for the selective use of certain facts while ignoring others or even leaving room for the inclusion of data that is questionable. For those that focus on the use of verifiable data only, the task is to assess all the available information, then determine the best way to present those facts in a way that is likely to cause recipients to react in a certain manner. Sometimes referred to as spinning, here the focus is not on attempting to mislead per se, but instead to call more attention to certain bits of information while downplaying the importance of others. When successful, this approach has the benefit of having provided all the information, although in a format that definitely slanted the point of view in a specific direction.
At other times, the process of perception management includes the selective use of available data. In this scenario, certain facts are presented completely and concisely, while others are either presented only in part of are left out altogether. Doing so makes it easier to create a particular perception that can be sold to consumers, the citizens of a given country, or to a rival of some sort, assuming the opposing party is not privy to and does not discover the omissions.
In essence PM is not spin doctoring because perception managers don’t spin facts. They create facts and then sell them to the world as truth. Using these methods, a major untruth can be established so quickly and overwhelmingly across the world that no digging after the fact can make a dent in public consciousness that it actually isn’t true at all. And that’s what makes it so dangerous.
Examples of PM might be considered as: The sinking of the Battleship Maine, which got us into the Spanish-American War; the sinking of the Lusitania, which caused public opinion to enter World War I, the shooting at Fort Hood by a Radical Islamic terrorist shouting “Allāhu Akbar” was “work place violence”; and that Islam is a religion of peace and only a few nut jobs carry out terrorist activities.
Here is a quick test
Savages go on a shooting spree at the offices of a satirical magazine. While they're murdering journalists, the killers shout:
- Hail Mary full of grace…
- John 14:6
- Shema Yisrael
- Allahu akbar
A captive is beheaded by:
- The Salvation Army
- The Book of the Month Club
- The National Geographic
- The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
In Europe, demonstrators carry signs calling for "Death to the Jews" and proclaiming "Hitler was right!" are:
- Octogenarian Nazis
- Members of the Church of Scientology
- Representatives of Jimmy Dean Pork Sausages
Someone who plants a shrapnel-packed bomb near the finish line of a marathon is likely to belong to:
- an Ashram
- a Reform synagogue
- a Masonic Lodge
- a Mosque
You’ll probably get death threats if you:
- Produce something called “Piss Christ”
- Make a movie that presents Moses as a psycho
- Call Tea Party members terrorists
- Do or say anything which shows Mohammed in an unflattering light
The response to the latest Religion of Peace atrocity – the attack on a humor magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris that left 17 dead, 21 wounded — was craven, inane and utterly predictable. This count does not include the three Radical Islamic Killers.
The facts so far known and verified by the French authorities pin the attack on three French citizens – all Muslims. According to a report by Fox News the terrorist attack was sponsored by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) from its base in Yemen:
“Shortly after the massacre in Paris, a series of tweets went out from a known Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Twitter account. They show images of the Paris massacre with photos of al-Awlaki and Samir Khan (editor of Inspire magazine, who was killed along with al-Awlaki).
An intelligence source told Fox News that the tweets suggest foreknowledge of the Paris attack.
On Friday, U.S. government sources confirmed to Fox News that 34-year-old Said Kouachi, who, along with his brother Cherif, was responsible for the attack in Paris, travelled to Yemen in 2011 and trained with or fought along side AQAP, and one of his goals was to meet with the Al Qaeda branch's leadership. A U.S. intelligence assessment described to The Associated Press shows that Kouachi was trained in preparation to return home and carry out an attack.
Soon after the Al Qaeda member claimed responsibility for the Paris attack on Friday, The Associated Press reported that the branch's senior cleric Sheikh Harith al-Nadhari issued a recording on the group's Twitter feed commenting on the "blessed raid on Paris." He denounced the "filthy" French and called them "the heads of infidelity who insult the prophets." He praised the "hero mujahedeen" who he said "taught them a lesson and the limits of freedom of speech."
In a recent report by Fox News Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen has released a video claiming responsibility for last week's deadly attack by two gunmen on the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris:
“Nasr al-Ansi, a top commander of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP as the branch is known, appeared in an 11-minute Internet video posted Wednesday, saying that the massacre was in "vengeance for the prophet."
Al-Ansi also said in the video that France belongs to the "party of Satan" and warned of more "tragedies and terror." He says Yemen's Al Qaeda branch "chose the target, laid out the plan and financed the operation," though he produced no evidence to support the claim.
The attack by two brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi killed 12 people, including eight staffers at the magazine, which had reportedly drawn their ire for repeatedly depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. Muslim orthodoxy holds that any depiction of Muhammad is blasphemous.
An eyewitness heard the gunmen say in French, "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad!" as they fled the newspaper office, while another witness claimed the gunmen addressed him before fleeing, saying, "Tell them this was Al Qaeda in Yemen."
It did not take long for major media in the West to begin to alter the facts and the truth.
The White House and State Department refuse to use the words “Islamic” or “Radical Islamic” when talking about the latest or any other act of terrorism committed by Radical Islamist. Instead they use the word “Extremists” lumping all acts of terrorism together. They don’t even call Al Qaeda or ISIL radical Islam. In this way they are presenting us with a new set of facts — facts that are intended to led us to a new truth. In essence they are managing the perception of what is happing around the world when it pertains to Islam. The motives for doing this are unclear, but one must consider Barack Obama’s background and various statements he has made about Islam over the years.
It is the job of a conscientious and diligent press to challenge the action and statements of those in authority over us — this why we have a First Amendment in our Constitution. When a free press becomes the spokespersons for authority bad things happen. This is what happens in totalitarian states such as Germany under the Nazis, Russia under the Communists, North Korea, and Cuba.
Below is a video clip of CNN’s Christiane Amanpour reporting on the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo in Paris last week refused to use the words “Islamic Terrorism” or even “Terrorism” but instead used the word "Activists" when referring to the actions of the two Islamic gunmen. This video of her is introduced by Greg Gutfeld of Fox News and reported extensively across the Internet.
Of course what would one expect from a woman of Iranian heritage and married to American James Rubin, a former US Assistant Secretary of State and spokesman for the US State Department during the Clinton administration and currently an informal adviser to former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and President of the United States Barack Obama.
There are other quotes from CNN contributors in this clip warning of an overreaction to the killings by “right-wing” activists. It should be noted that no such action has ever happened – even in the wake of 9/11.
Activists are people championing a cause. Most right-wing act activists are peaceful marchers. Many left-wing activists use violence – note the recent demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.
Martin Luther King was an activist. Gandhi was an activist. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are activists. They don’t walk into an establishment with AK-47s and start indiscriminately blasting away. Major Nidal Hasan is a terrorist.
As Gutfeld states in his comments on Christiane Amanpour:
“I get it. The enemy is pre-ordained. It's us. Which means Howard Dean is right. This is a cult, a cult of apologists. But Dean is also right when he says this is not a religious issue, which means, if I don't see Islam when I fight terror, then you cannot see Islamophobia when I fight it.
What should we see instead? Again, a death cult, one that needs no understanding, just eradication. It would be nice for moderate Muslims to help, but if they don't, we can handle it, it's nothing personal, Muslims. Just step aside.
Finally, where did this cult learn to punish language? From the Quran? From Al Qaeda? How about Harvard, and our modern cult of hate speech activists, who see language as violence, creating speech codes with penalties? Seeing "activists" silence critics so easily must make them drool with envy.”
Gutfeld is pointing out how language and the management of perception is why we cannot mount effective attack on Radical Islam.
Fueling the Western paralysis in dealing with radical Islam is the late 20th century doctrine of multiculturalism.
Multiculturalism is one of those buzzwords that does not mean what it should. The ancient and generic Western study of many cultures is not multiculturalism. Rather, the trendy term promotes non-Western cultures to a status equal with or superior to Western culture largely to fulfill contemporary political agendas.
On college campuses, multiculturalism not so much manifests itself in the worthy interest in Chinese literature, Persian history, or hieroglyphics, but rather has become more a therapeutic exercise of exaggerating Western sins while ignoring non-Western pathologies to attract those who see themselves in some way as not part of the dominant culture.
It is a deductive ideology that starts with a premise of Western fault and then makes evidence fit the paradigm. This is classic Perception Management.
A multicultural approach to the conquest of Mexico usually does not investigate the tragedy of the collision between 16th-century imperial Spain and the Aztec Empire. More often it renders the conquest as melodrama between a mostly noble indigenous people slaughtered by a mostly toxic European Christian culture, acting true to its imperialistic and colonialist traditions and values.
In other words, there is little attention given to Aztec imperialism, colonialism, slavery, human sacrifice, and cannibalism, but rather a great deal of emphasis on Aztec sophisticated time-reckoning, monumental building skills, and social stratification. To explain the miraculous defeat of the huge Mexican empire by a few rag-tag, greedy conquistadors, discussion would not entail the innate savagery of the Aztecs that drove neighboring indigenous tribes to ally themselves with Cortés.
For the multiculturalist, the sins of the non-West are mostly ignored or attributed to Western influence, while those of the West are peculiar to Western civilization. In terms of the challenge of radical Islam, multiculturalism manifests itself in the abstract with the notion that Islamists are simply the fundamentalist counterparts to any other religion. Islamic extremists are no different from Christian extremists, as the isolated examples of David Koresh or the Rev. Jim Jones are cited ad nauseam as the morally and numerically equivalent bookends to thousands of radical Islamic terrorist acts that plague the world each month. We are not to assess other religions by any absolute standard, given that such judgmentalism would inevitably be prejudiced by endemic Western privilege. There is nothing in the Sermon on the Mount that differs much from what is found in the Koran. And on and on and on.
In the concrete, multiculturalism seeks to use language and politics to mask reality. The slaughter at Ford Hood becomes “workplace violence,” not a case of a radical Islamist, Major Nidal Hasan, screaming “Allahu Akbar” as he butchered the innocent. After the Paris violence, the administration envisions a “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism,” apparently in reaction to Buddhists who are filming beheadings, skinheads storming Paris media offices, and lone-wolf anti-abortionists who slaughtered the innocent in Australia, Canada, and France.
The likes of James Clapper and John Brennan assure us of absurdities such as the Muslim Brotherhood being a largely secular organization or jihad as little more than a personal religious journey. Terrorism is reduced to man-caused violence and the effort to combat it is little more than an “overseas contingency operation.” The head of NASA in surreal fashion boasts that one of his primary missions for the hallowed agency is to promote appreciation of Muslim science and accomplishments through outreach to Islam. The president blames an obscure film-maker for causing the deaths of Americans in Benghazi (when in reality, it was a preplanned Al-Qaeda affiliate hit) — and then Obama makes it a twofer: he can both ignore the politically incorrect task of faulting radical Islam and score politically correct points by chastising a supposedly right-wing bigot for a crime he did not foster.
For the useful idiot, multiculturalism is supposedly aimed at ecumenicalism and hopes to diminish difference by inclusiveness and non-judgmentalism. But mostly it is a narcissistic fit, in which the multiculturalist offers a cheap rationalization of non-Western pathologies, and thereby anoints himself both the moral superior to his own less critical Western peers and, in condescending fashion, the self-appointed advocate of the mostly incapable non-Westerner.
Multiculturalism is contrary to human nature. Supposedly if Muslims understand that Westerners do not associate an epidemic of global terrorism and suicide bombing with Islam, then perhaps Muslims — seeing concession as magnanimity to be reciprocated — will appreciate such outreach and help to mitigate the violence, all the more so if they also sense that they share with the more radical among them at least some legitimate gripes against the West.
In the psychological sense, multiculturalism also serves as a way of dealing with affluent Western guilt: one does not have to put his kids in an inner-city school, visit the barrio to shop, or invite undocumented aliens over for dinner, when one can both enjoy a largely affluent and apartheid existence in the concrete, while praising the noble Other in the abstract. In the European context, the liberal French or British elite welcomes in the Muslim Other for low-wage jobs and to feed his multicultural sensitivities — only to outsource the immigrants to outlander suburbs that devolve into no-go zones even for the police. In the Clinton context, when Hilary lectures us that we must understand and even empathize with the minds of our enemies, we assume that Chelsea is not on the barricades trying to fathom what drives the violent “Other.”
Ultimately multiculturalism is incoherent, claiming that all cultures are equal, but then (privately) disturbed that Iranians behead gays or Saudi women cannot drive a car — or radical Muslims prefer to live in Europe than among the believers in Yemen. Yet even multiculturalism cannot quite equate honor killings with the glass ceiling.
Radical Muslims both emigrate to the West and yet, once there, seek through Sharia law to destroy the very foundations of what made the West attractive to them in the first place. Clean water, advanced medicine, entitlement support and free speech ultimately cannot exist in a society that routinely assassinates the outspoken satirist. In a less dramatic sense, the entire open-border, La Raza movement is based on the anomaly that the United States is such an inhospitable and racist place, while Mexico is such a benevolent homeland, that 11 million risk their lives to reach the former and abandon the latter.
For Muslims of the Middle East, there is a clear pathway to economic prosperity and a secure lifestyle; countries as diverse as South Korea, Japan, and Chile are proof of it. Within wide parameters, success only asks adherence to a mostly free market, some sort of freedom of expression, religious tolerance, a separation of science from orthodoxy, the rule of law, and consensual constitutional government — along with a cultural ethos of rough parity between the sexes, merit-based evaluation instead of tribal favors, and tolerance for ethnic and religious minorities.
Fail that, and human misery follows of the now familiar Middle East sort, in turn followed by the tired blame that the Jews, the Americans, the Europeans, or the West caused these self-generated pathologies.
If the Western establishment were truly moral, it would reject multiculturalism as a deductive, anti-empirical, and illiberal creed. It would demand that critics abroad first put their own house in order before blaming others for their own failures, and remind Western elites that their multicultural fantasies are cheap remedies designed to deal with their own neuroses.
Finally, it would also not welcome in newcomers who seek to destroy the very institutions that make the West so unlike the homelands they have voted with their feet to utterly abandon.