Wag the Dog

Of the three basic value orientations, what basic value orientation does the PR practioner embody?

The main PR practioner, played by Deniro, definately embodied the Situational basic value orientation. He based all his decisions on what “would cause the least harm, or the most good”. He would do anything to better his client which included lying, outrageously, to the public. One example of how he showed his situationalistic beliefs was when he created a make-believe war between the US and ukraine(I’m pretty sure this was the country) simply to take the heat off the president for engaging in a sexual act with a young girl. He believed that in that specific situation, manifesting a war was causing the “least harm, or the most good”.

According to the PRSA code of ethics, how is the PR practioner unethical?

The main PR practioner, Conrad(played by Robert Deniro), was unethical in a multitude of ways first and foremost, he was not honest.  I mean he blatantly made up lies and not just little white lies, but enormous, all-encompassing lies to the entire American public.  Advocacy, loyalty, and fairness to the public was also ignored, while the publics best interest was completely overlooked and the best interest of the president’s campaign had full attention.The PRSA code of ethics can be found here:http://www.prsa.org/aboutUs/ethics/preamble_en.html

What is the logic behind the wag the dog phrase, and what is the relevance for this situation?

When the movie began, this quote was displayed across the screen, “Why does a dog wag its tail? Because a dog is smarter than its tail.  If the tail were smarter, the tail would wag the dog.”  I believe the relevance of this quote and the situation in the film, is that the tail is smaller than the dog, much like the people in power of the US is a smaller population then the overall american public.  However, the people in power, influence and manipulate mass medium and cause the american public to believe pretty much whatever the “Big dogs” want you to think.  I don’t necessarily believe that the people in power are smarter than the american public, but that they have the means to manipulate us.  We have to be more critical of the things we are told on the news.

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

I definately think that the negative stereotypes about public relation practioners have been confirmed in this film.  Stereotypes having to do with being spin-doctors, and lying for your own good.  This movie did not put PR practioners in the best light and instead focused on the worst and most unethical types in the field.


February 16, 2009. Assignments.

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