Wag the Dog

The metaphor “wag the dog” is meant to show the power of the media. A dog is smarter than it’s tail, and the dog controls the tail. The dog is society and the media is the tail. A dog is smarter than its tail, meaning that the tail (the media) is smarter that the dog (society).

“We remember the slogans, but we don’t remember the war” is an interesting line from the movie that demonstrates what people actually remember about certain events. We never see the actual war or what is going on—we just hear the messages that come from the “war”. From the movie, the shoes were thrown on the telephone cable. This is a catchy act, clearly supported by many members of the community from the amount of shoes that were on the wire. I thought this was a catchy slogan and the public was very aware of what was going on. On the side of the producer/director, they did a good job of making it easy for the public to latch on to their lie.

I think people jumped on the “shoe” trend because the story was presented in a positive way that emphasized the “heart and soul” of what America is truly about. They deserve support, and when the public is lead to believe a “hero” is in trouble, they join the trend. For example, everyone joined the stop Joseph Kony 2012 trend. Turns out, it was a hoax. Because the use of social media, the public was lead to believe something that wasn’t true, such as the “shoe” trend. I think this shows the power of social media and the lengths people will go to in order to get their points across.

The point that jumped out to me was “The media construct reality.” Wag the Dog, plus many other media publications, challenge this statement made by Media Literary Resource Guide. Bream constructs the opposite of reality. He leads the public to believe “Shoe” is a noble, heroic man of honor because of his actions while defending out great country. However, we learn Shoe is actually a rapist with extremely psychotic and ill behaviors. This happens in real life as well. The point of “media contains ideological and value messages” also shows the power that the media has.

When the “President Bush 9/11 reading an upside down book” picture erupted, and the public made accusations such as “President Bush is the dumbest president in 50 years.” Listverse.com shared that Guardian journalists fell for the study and reported that Bush was the dumbest president in 50 years. This is a prime example of how the media getting away with reporting things other than “reality”.

Wag the Dog did not accurately provide context of the “Shoe” character, when in fact, he was a rapist, as the SPJ states journalists should. The SPJ also explains that journalists should do no harm. When Stanley Motss, the producer, devises the scheme of planting an Albanian bomb in Canada, he is definitely doing harm to Americans, Canadians, and Albanians. He instilled fear in all of those people involved, proving the unethical behavior of the media.



SPJ Code of Ethics

Thursday’s Lecture

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *