Waging the dog

The film “Wag The Dog” presents an amusing yet frightening view of the world of public relations and spin.  I’ll begin with the first order of business by stating that I believe that this story fallows the Situational value the philosophers three orientations.  My assessment is based on their idea that the end justifies the means.  This is not to say that it doesn’t have hints of the other two ideals, Conrad’s views often take onan absolute stand point and the unorthodox maner by which they pull off the feasco fits in to the existentialist realm of ideas.  But with all this, it is their desire to do what ever they have to to achieve what they believe, or what their payed to believe, is best.  Conrad is fine in declaring war on Albania, glorifying a rapist and making Jim Belushi question his ancestral heritage as long as the president remains in office.  This is best exemplified when he has a new friend killed in order to maintain the cover up.

 Interestingly enough Conrad’s tactics betray half and comply with half of PRSA’s guide lines for ethical practice of public relations.  He upholds advocacy and loyalty to the president by stopping at nothing to get the job done, and the concise and quick thinking he employs fulfillsthe requirements of expertise flawlessly.  Unfortunately he leaves the other three dashed to pieces.  He is not objective, he takes the side of his course without giving one additional thought.  This contradicts the principles of Independence in the list of PR ethics.  He also ignores contrary options, a direct infringement of the fairness clause.  And most grievously he has broken the vows of truth and honesty in fabricating a war with Albania.

The film begins with an amusing quote that simply states a dogs it’s tail because it is smarter then its tail, if the tail was smarter it would wag the dog.  This funny little turn of phrase is actually a metaphor for the whole film.  The United States presidentialelection is based off of votes from its citizens.  The people are in control of their government.  But when manipulated, their decision can easily become the governments decision.  The people are the dog thinking that they are waging their tail, but their tail, the government, are tricking them into waging themselves.  The election of the better candidate means nothing.

This is one of my favorite films because it presents a situation that should be infuriating but ultimately comes off as amusing.  We like the layers because they doop the “stupid” public, but unfortunately that public is us.  Its a likable portrayal of a negative stereotype.  The film makes us side with them and we are willing to do it because we are in on the scheme and we know that this is fictional.  But if anything like this ever happened or has ever happened the events and all those involved would be guilty of the most unethical crime in PR history.  Playful as they are these kind of ideas are what make public relations such a contrversual area of expertise.  The characters are neat but we can not become them.


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