Wag the Dog

February 15, 2009 at 9:55 pm (Assignments)

1. Of the three basic value orientations (discussed in Chapter 3 of your textbook), what basic value orientation does the PR practitioner embody?

  • I think Conrad embodies the basic value orientation of the “situationalist”. Situationalists believe each decision they make is based on what would cause the most good or least harm. The situationalist believes they can justify it as long as it benefits the greatest amount of people. The whole plot in the movie was making America believe a “made-up” storyline about a fake war in Albania, so that they would keep their minds off the President having an affair with a young girl. The PR practitioner and his group of workers made the decision to do this in order to keep the President in a good light so that he would have a greater chance at getting elected for his second term.

2. According to the PRSA Code of Ethics, how is the PR practitioner unethical?

  • Conrad is not being ethical because he is not serving the public interest by lying to the country when the fake war in Albania is created. Also, by lying to the country about the war, he is being unethical. Being dishonest is a big issue that goes against the PRSA Code of Ethics.

3. What is the logic behind the phrase Wag the Dog, and how is it relevant to the situation involved?

  • A dog wags his tail; the tail does not “wag the dog”. The logic behind this and how it is exemplified in the movie is that the PR practitioner represents the “tail” and America as the public represents the “dog”. The President PR department is telling the country what to think and pretty much how to vote, therefore the PR practitioner is “wagging the dog”.

4. In your opinion, what positive or negative stereotypes has the PR practitioner confirmed in his role in this movie?

  • Conrad confirmed the popular PR stereotype that PR practitioners & departments are dishonest at all costs as long as the dishonesty benefits the person they are representing, their client. Lying to the public only hurts you as a practitioner and your client in the big scheme of things.

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