The importance of public opinion in the movie "Wag the Dog".

Essay by mrsaulongCollege, UndergraduateA, September 2003

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The movie "Wag the Dog" is a political and media satire, adapted by Hilary Henkin and David Mamet from Larry Beinhart's novel.

In this movie, Two weeks prior to re-election, the President of the United States is accused of sexual harassment a firefly girl in the Oval Office. To divert the country's attention from this politically fatal bit of information, presidential adviser Winifred Ames brings in political consultant and spin doctor Conrad Brean, a specialist in such salvage operations. Brean suggests creating true-to-life scenarios of more important and relevant news to the country. A Hollywood producer is brought in to create a patriotic campaign centered on a war in Albania, and maintain the President's approval ratings until the re-election vote in eleven days time. Treated like an ad campaign, the songs and symbols are transmitted directly from a Hollywood soundstage to CNN. The star of their campaign is a "rescued" pilot, a psychotic military prisoner in reality, who's a ticking time bomb.

This movie shows the importance of public opinion. By creating a crisis, Conrad can divert the public opinion from the scandal. Within hours, Conrad and Stanley have convinced the world that the US is on the verge of war with Albania, and everyone's forgotten about the sex scandal. From there, they stage manage the president through the situation, changing their story to fit evolving circumstances. The characteristic of public opinion demonstrated in this movie is consensus opinion which is the general agreement among the citizenry on the issue.

It is good that elected officials listen to public opinion because public opinion can play an important part in the political system. Public opinion also reflects the public's view on every policy. By providing information and indicating support or opposition to political leader, public opinion helps choosing political candidates and...