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Maintaining Credibility Within Military Public Affairs While Preserving and Participating

Know your enemy.
Introduction
As gatekeepers of information for the U.S. Military, the credibility of military public affairs is vital to remain trustworthy in the eyes of the media and more importantly, the American people. If credibility is lost, the media may no longer look to military public affairs officials for accurate and timely information. Instead, they will search elsewhere, seeking to "climb the fence" instead of passing through the public affairs gate. Maintaining this credibility is difficult because it is necessary to participate in deception during the course of the military public affairs personnel's duties. To maintain these two seemingly conflicting policies (deception and credibility) warrants investigation, explanation, and discussion.
Since the United States Civil War and earlier, U.S. Armed Forces have used deception to outwit opponents, win battles and triumph in war. In the summer of 1862, the Confederate Army was able to deceive the Union Army into thinking they faced a much larger force than existed. The Confederates did this in part by planting disinformation in the Richmond, Va., newspaper and by shifting troops from one side of a line to the other. Subsequently, the U.S. military continues a policy of deception through such things as psychological operations, targeting enemy forces, and withholding information to aid in secrecy of operations. As gatekeepers of information, military public affairs must temper the conflict between providing a steady and reliable flow of information to the media while preserving military deception (as an active participant in that deception) and maintaining credibility.
The study of deception has been studied extensively. Knapp and Comadena (1979), argue that "the conscious alteration of information a person believes to be true in order to significantly change another's perceptions from what the deceiver thought they would be without alteration," (O'Hair & Cody, 1994).
Theoretical Rational
Organizational Theory

In the systems framework, an organization is conceptualized as having a definite boundary through which environmental input and output flows. It strives to maintain this boundary in order to maintain its own distinctive survival as an entity (Clegg, 1990). Public affairs rests on the military organization's boundary and public affairs professionals work as the gatekeepers of information with the media. The desire to ensure the military's survival poses a conflict for public affairs between the need to use deception practices--collaborative deception, concealment, omission of facts, and evasion--and the need to maintain credibility with the media.
The quest to respond to a changing environment and manage complex systems makes organizations an essential and inescapable feature (Clegg, 1990) and the military is no exception. Military structure follows the classical theory of organization. Classical organizational theorists do not see communication as problematic; they view it primarily as a tool for issuing orders, coordinating work, and gaining worker compliance. Eisenberg and Goodall (1993) elaborate on the classical theory. They explain how, in the rationalized and hierarchical world, the only type of communication that matters is that which carries the correct information through the proper channels. This is a good description of military communication and public affairs' inclination to use deception strategy and is a byproduct of its place within this bureaucracy. When the commander says to deceive, either directly or indirectly, the public affairs officer (PAO) may advise otherwise, but the commander gets what he/she wants.
Deception Theory

Public affairs can better understand the reasons for deception, and the ethical considerations by observing the O'Hair/Cody Model of Deception. O'Hair and Cody use this model to describe the motives of deception as exploitation, egoism, benevolence, malevolence, utility, and regress. The predicted consequences a person may consider before using deception include detection potential; harm to target and third party; loss of trust and respect; relational costs; and positive consequences. The ethical and moral considerations, or groundings, this method discusses are: (1) deception is unethical, (2) it is a means of survival, or (3) it is used as the situation determines. Actions used to deceive include lying, evasion, overstatement, concealment, and collusion. The model also identifies behaviors associated with deception and honesty. People who are friendly, attentive, precise in their delivery, and use low drama in their presentations are considered most honest.
Credibility

"The single most critical problem facing many a professional today is the problem of lost credibility."
William A. Durbin, 1975 (Hill and Knowlton Executives, 1975, p. 219).
Credibility resides in the eye of the beholder (Infant, Rancer, & Womack, 1997). That is, credibility is a perception by an audience. The ultimate impact on the receiver rests on what they attribute to their communication sources. Receivers attribute high, medium, or low credibility to people, organizations, church, military, and institutions that are forms of communication sources. Meanings, values, beliefs, and attitudes are characteristics people attributed to messages. Therefore, messages are perceptual, and thus care must be taken in assuming that a person "has" meaning, or "holds" credibility. With these cautions in mind, generalizations can be made about communication and how it works.
Another principle in credibility is that a change of attitude depends on how credible the receiver believes the communication source to be. Source credibility is an area of ongoing research in communication. Public figures, leaders, and peers can be assessed objectively and precisely in terms of their perceived credibility. Communication researchers have found that credibility is essentially composed of the degree of competence, character, composure, sociability, and extroversion attributed to sources of communication. Thus, people tend to change their attitudes more readily as they attribute more competence, trustworthiness, composure, sociability, and extroversion to their sources of communication. Also, receivers tend to attribute low credibility to people or organizations that are different from their own norms, values, beliefs and attitudes (Cummings & Somervill, 1981).
Uncertainty Reduction Theory

Uncertainty reduction is motivation for much of the communication that takes place between people and it may illuminate the solution to public affairs' desire to maintain credibility in light of the need to use deception strategies to safeguard sensitive information. The less uncertain people feel about those with whom they are dealing, the more comfortable they become communicating. The need for uncertainty reduction is heightened if one or more communicators display abnormal behavior, if future communication is expected, or if there is a perception of a strong reward and/or punishment power associated with the individual (Infante, Rancer, & Womack , 1997).
Introduction
-- Theories
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"Close contact and association with civilians should be encouraged and maintained, since a citizens' army is a result of combined interest, effort, and contribution of both military and public."
The Doolittle Board
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"Don't lie to me. You don't always have to tell me everything, but don't hype it either. If we think you're always hyping, we are not going to take you seriously and you won't have credibility."
Wolf Blitzer
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"To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill."
Sun Tzu Discussion
Analysis

The communication phenomena of concern to this study are between military public affairs personnel and media representatives. As previously stated, if media representatives do not feel they are getting complete information, or that information is accurate, they will find sources other than military public affairs. When media find other sources and receive information the public affairs office was not able to release, credibility is lost. The suggested solution for the problem of maintaining credibility while using deception is a two-step process. First, military public affairs personnel will use deception only when absolutely necessary. Second, the media will be indoctrinated on the release restraints facing military public affairs.
Military public affairs continue to face the problem of being perceived as purveyors of deception. A consequence of this perception is low credibility with the media. The purpose of this research is to determine methods military public affairs personnel use to maintain credibility with the media while regularly using deception strategies.
Next, credibility is examined as to its importance and difficulty to maintain. Achieving credibility with the media must be a goal with any public affairs office, but this can be a difficult task when facing a biased media (Arnold, 1973). However, any message the command intends to relay to the public will be contaminated by a perceived bias of media representatives attending a news conference or reading a news release. The media recognizes public affairs as military members and expects public affairs to have a vested interest in the entity it talks about (Arnold, 1973). An example would be a message concerning the latest warfighting equipment under development in the United States. If the command approaches the news conference with the intent of telling how the equipment will be technologically advanced over a rival country's, the media may already be skeptical of the message because the command and public affairs have a vested interest in the development and acquisition of the equipment. Likewise, a member of the military attempting to relay a message that the United States is not trying to bomb the civilians of Iraq will have a harder time convincing the media than a foreign affairs scholar at the University of Oklahoma saying the same thing. The scholar does not have a (perceived) vested interest in the outcome of the bombing and will be more convincing (Arnold, 1973).
Nonverbal communication plays a key role in credibility also. It must match the message being conveyed (Singletary, 1976). If the message indicates everything is fine, the sender is sweating visibly or shaking uncontrollably, chances are the audience is not going to take the message seriously. Nonverbal communication must indicate the power of the message. Attractiveness accounts for a large part of credibility. If the sender's message comes across with a warm, personable, and pleasant appearance, it is more likely to be perceived as more credible (Singletary, 1976).
Prior credibility of the military public affairs office to the media is also a concern. If past messages have led the media to believe information has been withheld, incomplete, or off the subject, attempts to pass on a credible message will become more difficult with each successive attempt. With lack of credibility, persuasiveness is also lost. To regain credibility, it is important to include evidence of the position taken, testimony from others with knowledge of the subject, and prestige-references (people known to provide credible information to the media in the past). It is also important to deliver explicit statements whenever possible to regain the media's trust. This means giving truthful statements that can be verified and believed by the audience (Wheeless, 1973). If a communicator is already perceived as highly credible, his or her assertions will be accepted as accurate. Bringing in others to strengthen opinion or presenting facts from an outside source is perceived as redundant. People who do not have a high level of credibility, however, would prosper by bringing in outside sources to serve as a reinforcement to increase their credibility level. An example could be a news conference or news release that identifies an environmental spill on a military reservation. If prior messages were perceived as trustworthy, a message of containment with little or no damage to the local environment would be taken as the truth in most cases. On the other hand, if credibility is in doubt, the same message could be viewed as a cover-up and an alternate source might be sought.
Why worry about credibility? Results of studies have shown receivers can tell whether evidence being provided is relevant to the issue or not. They can also distinguish between credible sources of information and those that are not. Evidence provided by a credible source results in more attitude change as well as lending support for the stated position. Relevant evidence from a credible source does much in the way of gaining audience support. Poor evidence will hurt a position whether the communicator has high or low credibility (Luchok & McCroskey, 1978).
Credibility is important and yet difficult to maintain. Maintaining credibility with the media must be a priority with any public affairs office. Media have a biased perception of any message the command intends to relay which reduces the credibility of the commander and public affairs office. The reason the message is received with some form of bias is because the public affairs office is noted to have a vested interest in the subject (Arnold, 1973).
An example would be messages command would want to put out on the latest warfighting aircraft under development in the United States. If the command approaches the news conference with the intent of telling how the new equipment will be technologically advanced over a rival country's, the media will already be skeptical of the message because the command has a vested interest in the development and acquisition of this equipment.
As important as recognizing the fact that there will be perceived bias by the media to a public affairs message, the presentation of the information is just as important. One of the leading factors within the presentation of information are nonverbal messages sent by speakers. Nonverbal communication must consistently match the message. If a speaker is relaying a message to the audience that everything is going smoothly with a current operation, but sweat is running down his/her forehead and the person is obviously shaking uncontrollably, chances are the audience is not going to take the message in the context meant to be understood. Nonverbal actions must indicate the power of the message (Arnold, 1973).
Credibility, in this sense, means the willingness of the audience to believe the public affairs message will depend upon several distinguishable characteristics visible by the speaker. If the speaker presents an educated, informed, and interpretive appearance while delivering a presentation, the speaker would portray the characteristic of being knowledgeable. Presenting a discussion using humor and talking in a pleasant voice, while being well groomed and neat would add attraction characteristics. Trustworthiness is gained when the speaker is thorough, objective, and comes across as open-minded. Being able to deliver the message in a clear, concise and comprehensive manner also aids the speaker by lending the characteristic of articulation to the presentation (Singletary, 1976). Considering and adding these characteristics when delivering a presentation to the media usually adds to the credibility of the speaker. However, because a speaker exhibits many of the characteristics, does not mean the message is perceived as the speaker intends.
There may be more than one audience to the presentation in some cases. For example, if the media perceives the message as credible, it is possible another branch of the armed forces could view the message as hostile toward its position or take the message in a different context. The credibility of the message could be completely lost on other audiences (Singletary, 1976).
For instance, if command was convening a news conference on the capability of a new weapon system that would greatly enhance the capability of the service holding the presentation, but adversely affect the budget allotment of another service, the other service would view the message as competition. The media could take the message at face value and give glowing praise in the news programs or in print, but the rival service could be spreading a message of another weapon system that was more capable on the battlefield in an attempt to shift budget money to its project. The rival service may be perceived as attacking the capabilities described in the news conference as false, or as half truth, thereby casting doubt on the message.
Another way credibility is lost is by improper use of deception strategies. Turner, Edgley and Olmstead (1975) indicate that at the core of this communication perspective is the assumption that people control the information they present in their messages (Buller & Burgoon 1994). As such, deception is used throughout people's lives. People at large must consider what types, how and in what order information is being communicated when they manage impressions, negotiate conversations, comfort others, gain compliance, express affinity, adapt to another culture, respond to others, resolve conflict and seek additional information (Buller & Burgoon, 1985).
An important consideration in this process of communication is whether to send information that is entirely honest or to modify it in some way that departs from the truth as the source knows it. Most conversations rest on the assumption of veracity in information exchange,(Buller & Burgoon, 1994). Turner et. al (1975), states that 62% of conversation exhibits information that could be classified as deception. According to that study, there are five types of deceptive acts and it also points out that their average of occurrence in conversations: (1) Lies--30%; (2) Exaggerations--5%; (3) Half-truths--29%; (4) Secrets--3%; (5) Diversionary--32% (Buller & Burgoon, 1994). Mets and Chronis (1986), came up with three types of deceptive acts. They are falsification, half-truths and concealment. The averages of occurrences were 48%, 27% and 23%, respectively. (Buller & Burgoon, 1985).
However, an argument can be made that perhaps people indulge in deception so frequently, at least in part, because it is easy. According to McCornack and Parks (1986), people tend to have difficulty detecting deception because of their inherent belief that people are telling the truth under most interpersonal circumstances. As such, people's tendency to believe others might prevent them from noticing deception signs or hints. Other explanations offer that truth bias makes communication easier and helps maintain relationships. Kraut and Higgins (1984), proposed that truth bias is assumed and is a fundamental part of most conversations (Millar & Millar, 1997). Buller and Burgoon (1994), stated that deceptive people decide honesty is not the best communication strategy. Instead, they partake in deceptive communication to achieve desired outcome.
Although most study of deception has mostly involved interpersonal communication, propaganda can be seen as a form of deception in mass communication. When people see a political campaign ad or a prepared statement by a public relations person, the public assumes such communication is propaganda. Propaganda works because it is integrated into people's habits of communication. These habits are valued and hold the promise of desired outcomes in people's lives. Sociologist George Simmel described this as association, the cultivation of social relations that help people define, and do, what is wanted of them (Combs & Nimo, 1993).
Propaganda, however, is not limited to the political arena. In contemporary diplomatic cultures forms of propaganda are also practiced. The expected outcome is winning or influencing. "To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill," wrote Sun Tzu, a Chinese scholar Combs & Nimo, 1993, p. 124). The enemy, thought Tzu, is deceived by creating shapes or images. Although diplomacy, the art and practice of conducting international relations, involves the exchange of information, preferences, and views in negotiating treaties, alliances and agreements, it also involves the exchange of shapes, illusions or images. The Monroe Doctrine provides an example of this. This presidential pronouncement had little force to back it, yet was reaffirmed for more than a century. It was less fact than shape, less policy than image (Combs & Nimo, 1993).
In World War I, two fledging industries, broadcasting and motion pictures, were first exploited for their propaganda potential. These media gave audiences a sense of immediacy. More recently, the Gulf War included war propaganda, i.e., using disinformation, demonizing the enemy, accusing them of atrocities, attempting to harm the morale or the resolve of the enemy through broadcasts and leaflets, drumming up support and condemning dissent at home. Other propaganda included branding inquiring reporters and doubtful politicians as traitors, and attempting to mobilize public opinion into a mood of acceptance that no other alternative was possible ... building up a popular war fever (Combs & Nimo, 1993).
Judging from the literature that is now beginning to emerge from both trade and academic presses, the Gulf War was viewed with stunned fascination as the first true real-time "televised war." The war brought an unexpected realization of many years of media punditry about the potential role of new communication technologies to create a postmodern "global village." The war's relatively short duration meant that events could be seen in their entirety, unfolding before their audience. The flow of information was kept tightly under the control of the Bush administration (Steiner, 1994).
Unlike previous wars, such as World War II, certain sections of the press, especially the smaller independent publications, were quite eager to challenge attempts by the military or the administration to propagandize through lies and deceit. Unfortunately, as with most propaganda activities, much of this was not revealed until after the propaganda had done its work. The use of atrocity stories as a propaganda tool to gain sympathy and to vilify the enemy is probably one of the oldest psychological warfare stratagems known; it is traceable at least back to the Crusades, (Taylor, 1990). The story about Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait removing babies from incubators and leaving them on the floor to die surfaced first in British newspapers in September 1990 and spread to the United States almost immediately (Steiner, 1994).
Shortly thereafter, the story resurfaced at the Human Rights Caucus where a 15-year-old girl known only as Nayirah (her last named concealed for fear of reprisals to her family) gave a moving and teary testimony to this horrific account. It was only after the war ended that the unidentified girl was found to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States and the massive deception began to unravel (Steiner, 1994).
Apparently, the girl had been extensively coached by the public relations firm of Hill & Knowlton, which was paid $10 million for its professional services by a group known as the Citizens for a Free Kuwait. It was no coincidence that Hill & Knowlton's Washington president, Craig Fuller, had been George Bush's chief of staff. Apart from organizing rallies on college campuses and providing informational press kits to the news media, one of the major functions of Hill & Knowlton was to bring about a massive shift in public opinion in favor of liberating Kuwait. It was part of an elaborate web of deception, disinformation, and lies to sell the war to the public. The U.S. president, vice president and top military leaders were revealed to be propagandists who did not hesitate to repeat lies over and over in order to win support for the war effort (Steiner, 1994).
Although deception brings connotations of wrong doing on the part of the user, whether it be in an interpersonal or in a mass media context, research supports deception strategy as a common and acceptable form of communication if American lives are being saved from enemy attack. Such omission of information (troop formations), albeit deception, is justified. The reason for a deceptive strategy can range from protecting a service member's home address to not divulging administrative action albeit punitive in nature all the way from protecting or concealing information to safeguarding operational and national security interests. Instances in the use of deception are not up to the public affairs officer, but are up to law, regulation, and command discretion that is represented in the Classical Theory model of the military institution previously discussed. As such, ethical considerations/perceptions are paramount. It is important to note that while deception has been discussed from an acceptable communication strategy within the framework of public affairs work, this research project does not attempt to correlate deceptive strategy with psychological operations, which intentionally lies and makes a concentrated effort to dupe the enemy.
Even though regulations and guidance determine what information can be released, they may appear contradictory in nature as is evident in the Joint Doctrine ...
Deception operations will not intentionally target or mislead the U.S. public, the U.S. Congress, or the U.S. news media. Misinforming the media about military capabilities and intentions in ways that influence U.S. decision makers and public opinion is contrary to DOD policy.
Deception operations that have activities potentially visible to the media or the public should be coordinated with the appropriate public affairs officers to identify any potential problems. Coordination will reduce the chance that public affairs officers will inadvertently reveal information that could undermine ongoing or planned deception operations (Patrick, 1994).
Not all military regulations, laws, doctrine, and guidance are contradictory. They are the substance and backbone behind the military and it's mission to protect and defend.
Solutions

"Don't lie to me. You don't always have to tell me everything, but don't hype it either. If we think you're always hyping, we are not going to take you seriously and you won't have credibility."
Wolf Blitzer, CNN correspondent (Public Relations Tactics, 1998, p. 18)
Awad (1985) advises that the mystery of public affairs be removed. He continues by saying all public affairs activities should be able to stand in the open and public affairs people need to convince their clients of the need for openness and accessibility, prompt and accurate response, and cooperation with the media.
National defense issues and other special circumstances prevent the military from being able to accomplish this, but Awad's goal is still worth approaching. Military public affairs must minimize deception use to absolutely necessary situations in order to maintain credibility with the media. The military, by nature of its purpose, has a need to safeguard information. To maintain credibility with the media, however, it must be able to articulate why certain information is not releasable. Ferr and Willihnganz (1991) quote public relations practitioner Marvin N. Olasky who said public affairs must "either tell the truth, or tell people when information is none of their business (p. 9)." By being up front with the media and explaining the reasons why information cannot be released and gaining the media's acceptance of this, public affairs makes the media a party to its own deceptions--that is the withholding of information. Making the media a part of public affairs' attempt to protect the interests of the United States and its military members is a key strategy suggested by the Doolittle Board (Cutlip & Center, 1971, p. 627) shortly after World War I. "The study recommended: "Close contact and association with civilians should be encouraged and maintained, since a citizens' army is a result of combined interest, effort, and contribution of both military and public." This study laid the foundation for military community relations programs, but the concept is applicable to media relations as well.
Training is the key to implementing these solutions. Public affairs people must be trained to use deception only when absolutely necessary. Communication theories concerning credibility, deception, and uncertainty reduction can be added to curricula of established public affairs training courses. These courses include entry-level journalism courses, senior noncommissioned officer and officer joint courses, annual workshops and conferences, correspondence courses and public affairs guidance. Media training is an intricate and encompassing part of military public affairs training. Therefore, added emphasis on the use of deception in media training can be targeted. With the inclusion of the O'Hair/Cody model of deception, military public affairs professionals will be able to easily identify that deception is a part of their job and learn to limit its use.
In order to minimize deception and maintain credibility with the media, military public affairs must be as proactive as possible. The following case study (Canfield, 1968) illustrates this point. In the early morning of April 1963, the U.S.S. Thresher, one of the U.S. Navy's quietest, fastest and deepest-diving nuclear submarines was lost at sea. The Navy's Office of Information had three objectives in this disaster: (1) maintain public confidence and avoid speculation and false or misleading rumors; (2) protect the interests of the next of kin of personnel involved, and try not to cause undue anguish or create false hope; (3) establish and maintain good press relations by supplying media representatives with fast, accurate information, making every effort to give them the fullest possible coverage of the disaster consistent with security regulations.
A decision was made to delay notification of next of kin until 7:50 p.m. that evening to minimize the chance that the problem was less severe. Naval public affairs did not wait until then to begin preparations for media interest however, so when the first news query was received at 6:55 p.m., they were prepared. The media call accelerated the plan to notify next of kin by 20 minutes and at 8 p.m. the first press conference was held. Public affairs had already prepared an initial statement, gathered background material, unclassified photos and film footage of the submarine, and biographies and photos of crew members.
The Navy's quick action during the initial hours of the disaster and its steady support of other media activities up to the memorial service resulted in the achievement of all three goals. Regarding the third goal in particular, media representatives later stated that the flow of information during the emergency was without precedent. As a result, the Navy was able to forestall the public's fear of radioactive contamination, prevent confidence in the submarine program from being eroded, gain needed public support and cooperation, and ensure next of kin were not troubled more than necessary.
Equally important to a proactive military public affairs program is the need to educate the media on the military's restraints in releasing information. This effort to train and educate the media on restrictions of military public affairs greatly increases public affairs credibility. Uncertainty reduction theory is the basis of this assumption. The most important message to get to the media is that public affairs guidance, military regulations, and commanders decide what can be released in the best interest of national or operational security.
Blitzer also advises, "develop personal relationships with people like me. If you have a personal contact with a reporter, your almost always going to have a sympathetic ear (Public Relations Society, 1998, p. 18)."
There are many ways to reach out and educate the media. Military installations hold media events and invite the local media to visit, receive tours and meet the commander. This gives the media an opportunity to learn how public affairs works and gain a vision of the mission of the installation. Military public affairs must also show a concerted effort by providing as much information as possible and follow up with the media representative to ensure they receive everything they need.
There is no way an organization can walk away from a crisis totally unscathed, but there are ways to minimize the damage. The Public Relations Society Association offers some innovative tips:
..Do not go off half-cocked: Everything that is said to a reporter is on the record, at all times. If the public affairs officer doesn't want to see it in print or on the prime time news, then don't say it.
..Be as honest as possible: There is no requirement to tell all about the organization or crisis, as long as what you say is the truth.

..Show compassion: If death or injury occur, feel free to show sorrow and sensitivity. The organization does not have to admit liability, but demonstrating humanity goes a long way.

..Do not be defensive: Defensiveness implies guilt. Do not do it.

..Think like the public: Always remember that impression given to the public is better than being right.

..Communicate Organizational values: Reiterate what the organization stands for. Ensure those principles are known. The organizational credo should be the basis of the communication strategy.

..Dare to respond in kind: If the organization is being accused of withholding information (if it is true), the logical tactic would be to explain why. Feel free to cite protection of privacy issue, etc. etc.

..Know when to turn to hero: When StarKist tuna was publicly bombarded by activists, the organization adopted a new dolphin-free tuna. As a result, the activist championed StarKist for its policy which set the new standard for its rival tuna companies. If you can fix it, fix it and so state.

Introduction
-- Theories
Discussion
-- Analysis
-- Solutions Conclusion
Maintaining secrets and denying vital knowledge to the enemies of the United States is an essential part of the military's responsibility. With today's technology, news and information is simulcast in real-time. The major area in which there is a clash between the cultures of the military and the news media is over the issue of information security. While the military is doing what is suppose to do, the press strives to be as informed as possible, on as many subjects possible. Thus, concealing information is an anathema to a reporter. This divergence in attitudes reaches its greatest intensity during a crisis or conflict (Aukofer & Lawrence, 1995).
A commander's greatest concern is that the enemy will learn of his attack plan in advance. As such, the soldier's greatest concern is that his unit will be ambushed. As a whole, the military is well aware that there are few within the press that are knowledgeable about the complex military profession. But this can be alleviated through training with both the military and the media. Effective communication is essential (Aukofer & Lawrence, 1995).
Further exploration is warranted in the relationship between military public affairs and the media as they seek to maintain credibility while using deception strategies. This research lends itself to continued study of how deception is used in the military public affairs office and which strategies relate positively to credibility. It is suggested through credibility and Uncertainty Reduction Theory that local media representatives who are familiar with a military installation and have a standing relationship with the public affairs office consider them to be more credible. Further research is needed concerning how to make the military public affairs more credible to the regional and national media when uncertainty is great. Another area of concern for research with the military and media concerning deception and credibility is what the media desire released compared to what the military is capable of releasing.
Military public affairs practitioners must continue to develop their communication skills. They must come to the realization that deceptive strategy, as explained in O'Hair and Cody (1994), is not some evil entity wearing dark-capes and carrying concealed daggers. Public affairs officers must realize that deception is a necessary tool which can be employed collaboratively with the media. Vigilant thinking and planning for the worst is crucial to the success of the overall communication plan. Public affairs practitioners must constantly seek ways to look within the organization and look outside the organization to predict effective outcomes.



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