The movie Wag the Dog (1997) is about the President of United States who gets stuck in a sex scandal with a young girl scout, and needs an idea to cover it up before the big election. This is just unethical from the beginning. Knowing that this sex scandal is not a rumor and is true, I can say that I would never vote for a president that has had a sex scandal with a young child. The President looks to Conrad Brean; a notorious political “spin doctor” for a solution to cover up his mistake. The suggestion that Brean makes is to create an artificial war to distract the American people from the scandal with the President. This will hopefully allow the people to be more focused on the fake war with Albania, instead of the scandal. However, the CIA catches wind of this fake war and immediately gets involved. The CIA leaks information that the war in Albania is over and the attention is once again focused back on the President and his scandal. Brean then comes up with the idea of Part 2 of the fabrication, and fabricates another story about a missing soldier who was left in Albania. In the end all goes well for the President, but the producer of the fabricated story (Motts) is upset when the President doesn’t give him credit for helping him be elected. Motts then threatens to release what really happened, and is later found dead due to a “heart attack”. Motts knows that he has been killed to cover up the President’s tracks.
I believe that this correlates directly to the historic event of the Watergate scandal. President Nixon attempted to cover up a break in to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that was instructed by him. This directly correlates with this movie because it shows how both Presidents’ are willing to do unethical things to be elected. The only difference is that in the movie the President is successful. Whereas, Watergate was “the scandal that brought down Richard Nixon (Watergate.info).”
I think this is tough to say how it is handled. I believe that trust is very important when someone is being elected to be the highest representative of a country, and in this situation my trust was broken when I heard about the sex scandal. Obviously not everyone can be perfect and makes mistakes, but a mistake to this degree is just to hard for me to get over to vote for someone as president. I think that if the President wanted to try and rebuild this trust that he could have taken accountability for what he did, and sought out help before returning to run for election. This would have helped my view of him, but instead he proceeded to create this insane story to try and distract the people from his mistake.
I think this will have a pretty big impact on journalism. The meaning of wag the dog is “when something of secondary importance improperly takes on the role of something of primary importance (Urban Dictionary).” This shows that journalism can be used sometimes in a bad way to undermine something that may be extremely important. We have to continue to be focused on what is true information that is being reported, and what is false information.