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Wag The Dog February 16, 2009

Filed under: Assignments-PRCA 2330 — sbsullivan @ 6:35 pm
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Of the three basic value orientations (discussed in Chapter 3 of your textbook), what basic value orientation does the PR practitioner embody? Provide at least one example.

  • The PR practitioner in the movie Wag the Dog embodies the situational orientation. One characteristic of this orientation is that the end will justify whatever means taken, as long as the end is beneficial. This movie is filled with examples of this. One is when they fake the war in Albania. This is by no means ethical in my book, but they jusitfy it in the end, because it put the president in a better light.

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

  • Advocacy- The PR practitioner is unethical because in no means is he acting in a responsible way for his client. Had someone found out about the scheme, not only would the practioner receive backlash, so would his client.
  • Honesty- I’m trying to remember one part in the movie when the practioner was honest. I can’t think of any… One huge dishonest moment is when he decides to portray a convict as a war hero.
  • Expertise-The practitioner does have expertise in what he is doing. He just abuses his knowledge and power by doing unethical things.
  • Independent- Though he is independent, the practitioner is not responsible for his actions. This is shown when the CIA accuses the practitioner. He is deceitful once again and pretends that he has done nothing wrong.
  • Loyalty- He is loyal to his client (the president) but not loyal to his collegues or the public. For example, when he feels the Hollywood producer is about to share his secrets, he gets him shot.
  • Fairness- Lying, portraying false images, killing, etc etc etc, the practitioner does not conduct his business in a fair way.

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

  • Wag the Dog is a play on words. It is describing how the PR professionals can control the minds of the public. The tail (a very small portion of the dog’s body) is in charge of the dog (the majority of the dog), similarily, in this movie, a small number of people (practitioner and producer) are in charge of the majority of people (the public).

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

  • The practitioner confirmed the stereotype that PR professionals can turn any bad situation around into something completely different. Obviously, in this movie, the president had the heat taken off of him for his sex scandal, by the “war” in Albania.
  • A positive stereotype he confirmed was the loyalty of PR professionals. He shows how loyal they are to his clients.
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