Wag The Dog

442 Words2 Pages
The film, “Wag the Dog” shows an extreme example of power of the media to influence or distract the public; In this case, it is to distract the public from a Presidential sex scandal. Unfortunately, this scandal could not have come at a worse time for the President; approximately two weeks before the Presidential election starts. So to try to mitigate the damage to the President’s ratings, an aide (Winifred Ames) recruits a ‘spin doctor’ to help; a character by the name of Conrad Bream. It is determined that the best distraction would be to start a war; but he really doesn’t want a real war. It is interesting to note that this film almost paralleled to a point, the real life scandal of President Clinton and his threats of military action against Iraq; the film started production before the Lewinsky scandal, but opened up after it happened. To pull of the ‘war without a war’ idea, they turned to Hollywood; more specifically to Hollywood producer Stanley Motss to pull it off. So Motss and crew start planning and executing this fake war; they come up with slogans to support the war and the cause, recruit a singer to come up with a moving theme song (shades of Lee Greenwood?), and even come up with actors to portray the needed parts. More importantly are the ‘leaks’ that are let out to the media; something that the media is more than willing to run with. These leaks, along with carefully crafted imagery of the war and its participants did take the public’s eye off of the sex scandal; in part due to the ‘credibility’ of the media’s information, because “if it’s on television, it must be real”. The viewer of the movie does have to have a healthy bit of ‘suspension of disbelief’ for this film; especially as things get out of control. But the film does show how the media will and can propagate stories, so long as they get the ratings they want. Even with all the
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