Wag the Dog Analysis

What basic value orientation does the PR practitioner embody?

·         Conrad Brean, the PR practitioner in Wag the Dog, was an situationalist. He made decisions based on what would do the most good for the President. He created a “fake war” to take the American people’s attention of the President’s “sex scandal”. As soon as he found out that Senator Neil and The C.I.A ruined the “fake war” plan, he immediately met with them to straighten things out. But when that did not work he quickly came up with the “American War Hero” idea.

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

  • He did not follow the PRSA Code of Provisions: “…free flow of accurate and truthful information is essential to serving the public interest and contributing to informed decision making in a democratic society.  …Intent To build trust with the public by revealing all information needed for responsible decision making.”  Even though he was trying to make the president (his client) look good, he outright lied to the “public”. He did whatever he could do to get the American citizen’s attention off the sex scandal.

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



“To wag” a tail is to move it back and forth, which dogs do when they’re happy.
     If the tail is waging the dog, the implication is that the dog is being manipulated
     or being made to look foolish. 

Conrad Brean was manipulated the American.

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

  • He confirmed the stereotype that people in PR do whatever they have to do to make their clients look good. Whether it be lying, cheating, stealing, or even creating a “fake war”. I know that stereotype is not true for all PR practitioners, but there are some out there who would do “anything” and “everything” to get their job done.





~ by BHUG on February 16, 2009.

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