“Wag the Dog” Movie Discussion


The film “Wag the Dog”  presents a very interesting view on the world in a way relating to public relations. I believe that the story closely relates to the Situational value out of the three basic value orientations philosopher’s have given. Although I find it situational I would also argue that the story line is existential as well. The PR practitioner represents views that fall under the existential status. H uses the “never say never” approach from Aristotle discussed in chapter three of our text, “Public Relations Strategies and Tactics.” His decisions throughout the movie are based on what is right at the moment. And his way of thinking portrays a sense that everything can be accomplished.

The PR practitioner violates the PRSA Code of Ethics, by simply being unethical. One example of him doing this was how he would stop for nothing to get a job done for the president, but at the same time left the other three involved on their own. Here he is only concerned with his reasoning alone. This example complies with the Independence principles that is listed under PR ethics. He was unhonest, devious, and ultimately untrustworthy.

The phrase “Wag the Dog” was stated in the beginning of the movie as “a dog is its tail, because its smarter than its tail, if the tail was smarter it would wag the dog.”  The PR practitioner is entirely unethical. When the PR practitioner was involved with the public he was dishonest. This type of falsehood or manipulation, was tricking them into “waging themselves.” The people think that are in control and “waging their tails” but in reality they are being tricked.

The film is humorous, but at the same time proves that in the history of people in PR most are guilty of being unethical. Public Relations is a hard field, and you must be ready to take part in that struggle. You must get the job done, ultimately. The negative stereotypes portrayed in the movie are that most PR practitioners are dishonest. You must not deviate from the truth because in the end, everyone appears in the wrong.


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