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Hangin with Hillary

PR Connection: Wag the Dog: PR ethics to the test! February 16, 2010

Filed under: PR Connections — Hillary @ 3:55 pm

“Wag the Dog” was an interesting movie involving the work of PR practitioners. The movie questions PR practitioner’s ethics and morals. These are some of the tests I saw when watching it:

1. The basic value orientation that the PR practitioner embodies is the Situational value which is each decision is based on what would cause the least harm or the most good. (Public relations Strategies and Tactics 9th Edition) For example, he is willing to let the American public think there is a war going on, just so it takes the focus off of the “scandal” between the president and the teenage girl.

2. According to PRSA, he is unethical in a few ways. He is unethical as far as the core value of advocacy which is serving the public interest and acting responsible for his client. He is doing as much as he can for his client but is forgetting the public interest by lying to them. Another one in violation is honesty, by going to great lengths to lie to the American public to avoid their attention on the president’s scandal.

3. What’s behind the phrase Wag the Dog? Well, why does a dog wag its tail? To “wag” a tail is to move back and forth, which dogs do when they’re happy. If the tail is wagging the dog, the implication is that the dog is being manipulated or being made to look foolish. So, by putting the limelight on something else of lesser significance, the attention is taken away from what was the more important issue at the time.

4. I think he has definitely confirmed the stereotype of what most public relations practitioners get, is where they’ll do or say anything that people want to hear and will do anything to get the job done. They thrive on competition and would die to be the best. I think that competition can be a good and bad thing as far as the stereotypes go, but the willing to do anything to get the job done is definitely negative. There needs to be a line drawn somewhere especially when it comes to one’s ethics and morals. I think one positive stereotype is that public relations is a hard 24 hour job and to get things done, you must be quick on your toes and hard working. I think the relationship between and client and yourself is extremely important. I’ve seen a great amount of respect for public relations before and I definitely think that’s a positive and true thing.


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