I saw the word, “optics” in two different articles of NYT and Washington Post:
While many experts see no major issues, others say the optical problem could undermine public confidence in the probe. -
The air of uncertainty about the meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is only heightened by President Trump’s tendency for unpredictable utterances and awkward optics.
As I was unfamiliar with the word ‘optics’ used in a ‘political’ connotation, I checked OED and CED online, and found out:
Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘optics’ as:
(North Ame.) Typically in a political context) the way in which an event or course of action is perceived by the public.
Cambridge English Dictionary defines ‘optics’ as;
The public opinion and understanding of a situation after seeing it as the media shows it and the possible political effect of this.
It seems ‘optics’ means public impression or understanding of a specific political action / situation. But I have difficulty in reconciling the above usage, “the optical problem could undermine public confidence” and “(President’s) awkward optics,” with the definitions of both OED and CED, because the former sounds like Russia special counsel team members’ optics and the latter Mr. Trump’s optics as against “public optics.”
I hope my point get through to you. What are the alternative short word(s) to “optics” used in the above examples?