wag-dogFor my Intro to PR class she showed Wag the Dog starring Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman. The movie was a pretty shocking one, showing a pretty negative image of a PR practitioner.

My book refers to three basic value orientations that determines how a person acts. I would say that Conrad Brean (played by De Niro) would be a existentialist at it their worst. He created a war because this was his “immediate practical choice” showing he has no value system. There was an objective of getting the president re-elected, Brean sought to make that happen by any means possible. Whenever an obstacle occured, they would readjus, relentlesty trying to get the story to spin in his favor.

In the movie, Brean in unethical by all counts accourding to the PRSA Code of Ethics. There was no advocacy, no loyalty or fairness. The most abused was honesty, he lied to create a situation and cover up the truth. “We build mutual understanding, credibility, and relationships among a wide array of institutions and audiences.” That is the description under Expertise on the PRSA Code of Ethics, something which was not evident in the movie. Brean stayed loyal to his employer (the president) but had no regard for truth, justice, and the Amiercan people.

The title, Wag the Dog, is an idiom. According to usenglish.com it is described as…”To ‘wag the dog’ means to purposely divert attention from what would otherwise be of greater importance, to something else of lesser significance. By doing so, the lesser-significant event is catapulted into the limelight, drowning proper attention to what was originally the more important issue.”  By creating a new event they were able to make the original event seem of less importance. It’s a diversion tactic that implies if the “tail were smarter, than it would wag the dog”, from the movie Wag the Dog.

This movie gives rise to the negative stereotype of the PR practitioner. This is where the words like spin, and flak; although, Brean is definetly a Spin Doctor.

I have to say…IN ANY PROFESSION YOU WILL FIND CROOKS! I think PR is a great major because of the invested interest and voice given to consumers. There are unethical doctors, lawyers, police officers,politicians, even teachers and preists. I think we have personal responsiblitiy to search for the truth and do what is morally just. This goes in everyday life, there are the people feeding off the weak but; also,there are those who arrange their life around doing what they believe to be right. This is a diverse world and I think stereotypes are out dated, not everyone are the way they are percieved.

I leave you with my favorite quote:

” Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

– Ghandi

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