The movie entitle Wag the Dog was about the way in which media plays a significant role as regards to the president of America in a political trouble, having been accused with the issue of sexual misconduct, the obstacle occurred two week to election. However as an object of getting the president re-elected, the presidential advisers Conrad Brean (played by Robert De Niro) a political spin doctor together with Winifred Ames (Anne Heche) the secretary, who was ask for help to engineer a way and means to divert the news of scandal, Leading to contact the expertise of Hollywood producer Stanley Motts (played by Dustin Hoffman) a specialist in such savage.
As we can see that, the sitting was dark and mysterious as Conrad recommend untruth contradiction of imaginary crisis and Conrad assign Motts to construct a patriotic cam paign centered around war in Albania, just too make sure they distract American away from the focus of the political misconduct from the real issue. With help of media manipulation techniques that America is at war with Albanian. Motts like any class of person in this they age, can only dream of the recognition and honor that he will receive for the master piece he will surely create, not knowing that, this narcissistic behavior will lead to his demise. In the other hand we can see that, in our contemporary society conspiracies like this goes in everyday life where people can eventually used you to achieve their goal, and also dump you. However, the plan of Conrad suggesting Albanian was not anything more than choosing a country that was insignificant, unknown and not of any affairs to America, for that reason is tidy. As stated in the movie, Anne Heche the secretary to Conrad says that she knows “nothing” and in response Conrad says, “They seem shifty, standoffish” this shows his fickleness of choosing Albania. Conrad’s reply to the assistant is not dissimilar to the present day definition of a bully, where the bullies in school ‘pick on’ the weaker children, in this context America is the bully as they are ‘picking on’ Albanian.
It is blatant to observe that Conrad and Motts had the same ideology in creating a war to divert the controversy away from the public. As the saying states, “Great minds think alike” and “birds of a feather flock together”. As any other politician in our contemporary society, Conrad knows how to play the game as he offers Motts a position of being an ambassador, however Motts wants to do it for the fun of it. This shows how manipulative a politician can be to get/her way by mentioning ways of giving them a reward which in this case was the position of an ambassador. However, whatever politicians say may not always be true, as in their line of work; they always ‘spin’ the truth to favour themselves. Conrad uses ‘spin’ and promises of rewards to motivate Motts to inspire him to produce his fake war. From this, we can see say that Conrad is referred to as the president’s spin doctor because the president relies on Conrad to diffuse the situation and limit the damage caused by the allegation, cementing Conrad, relationship with the president. We can see that during the building of the war, Motts uses a young America inspiring to be an actress to play the role of an Albanian girl. In the construction of the scene to re-enact a war zone, the girl was holding a bag of chips instead of the specified white kitten requested by Motts. The bag of chips is very significant in this story as the white kitten was later edited into the scene using power of modern technology. We can see that, this is a testament to and a great example of the ability of the media representation to broadcast a story, with accompanying video footage in which the public takes as ‘real’, and not knowing that what the media does report is dam lies but not of this is the truths. It makes it shows clearly to us how easy it is to play around with images using modern technology without the public’s knowledge. Also the white kitten that was edited in the scene is to signify innocence, peace and purity onto the public and make them more interested in the lost girl at war and not the president’s sex scandal. We can already see how the media quickly changes people’s minds into another dramatic concern at hand, similar in our contemporary culture where we get saturated into certain advertisement, such as an advert for Disneyland where we live in a hyperreal world and both realities of the media and the real world are blurred in as one.
Furthermore, we can also see another signs of media representation is been shown within the movie where Conrad and Anne are having a conversation with a CIA agent claiming that the Albanian war is all a hoax. We can see how Conrad ‘spins’ and twists the information on the CIA agent to change the whole statement convincing him that the war is ‘real’. In the other hand, we can see another side of Anne as she retreats in her involvement with the operation, showing cowardice as she know the penalties that she may face. Also another sign of innocence, peace and purity was shown during the producing of the war where a young ‘Albanian’ girl offers the president an offering, of help her and her mother. At the same time, the president offers his coat to the young girl’s mother to indicate that he is given her shelter and sympathize towards her emotions due her suffering in the war. This implies that the ‘fake war’ has immediate be graded as victory and also the talk of the city and not the president so-called sexual misconduct with the girl scout. And this is so common in our contemporary culture with media representation, for instance, when an advert is been displayed on television by advertisers, the actual meaning is undermined, thus making an embellishment of the truth and reality associated with the reason of the advert, the media image makes the advertisement look realer than it is, just to arrest the intelligence of the populace so as to gain money or proper attention from them.
So therefore, that is why Motts always stated in the movie that, “This is nothing” connoting that as a film producer, one is to be prepared for mishaps that may occurred in the line of producing and find ways to develop the original idea to convince the public that the ‘war’ is still alive. The way in which he says, “this is nothing”, he ways was very calm about it as he knew what he was doing being a Holly film producer, similar to how Hollywood producers would act in the present day. He named it as Act Two where we witness the development of the ‘war hero’ Schumann. The music used in the movie has both a military tune and a national tune. By a military tune, it is that it has a 2 by 4 rhythm signifying that the military are marching onto war or during war as shown at the begging of the movie and during Schumann’s funeral. This gives the impression of hard looking and fierce men with their chest out and shoulder upright and also being tidy. At the same time, there is a national tune that is sung by a choir similar to the style to the song of the late Michael Jackson with various artists known as ‘We are the world’. This connotes the patriotism that is reveal through the songs. This is done to make the public ‘fall in love, affect their emotions and feel proud to be an American as well as to make them forget about the sex scandal controversy.
During Schumann’s funeral, as the casket is being carried off by other soldiers, there is a dog planted to portray the loyalty and faithfulness that the dog has towards Schumann. As the funeral takes place, Motts feels uneasy he wanted to expose all the truth hence the phrase, ‘let the cat out of the bag’ as he wanted to expose all that happened and celebrate his skill at the realism and effectiveness of his deception in fooling the public, the ‘spin’ doctor Conrad order his men to execute Motts as he was going to expose the ugly truth, this shows us, how the game is played and the extreme measure taken in politics in order to ‘wad the dog’. We can clearly how Conrad used Motts to ‘produce’ his war and when he was no longer required he was ‘disposed of’. This shows how manipulative Conrad was when necessary and any ‘spin’ doctor will do what it takes to create the agreed version of the truth by any means necessary. It is better to keep a secret than to let it out because one cannot trust anyone but especially in this case, politicians as they can be unreliable. However, from the above starting of the film there was this passage that states; “why does the dog wag its tail”? It is implies that, ‘a dog is smarter than its tail’, but if the tail were smarter, the tail would ‘wag the dog’. Therefore the “tail” symbolizes persons that have power over the media, and the “dog” that allow itself to wagged through its own tail is representing the United state citizens.
In conclusion to this movie, the term ‘wag the dog’ and content of this movie means to purposely deflect attention away from something that is very important to that of less significant. This is exactly how the media and politics operate in this day in age. The politician uses the media as the vehicle to catapult insignificant events and stories into mainstream public knowledge, in the hope of ‘burying’ the real and important issue, which the public should be focusing on.
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