Is the story actually true? It doesn"t matter, does it? The news said it, so it must be true. We watch documentaries and biographies and absorb the information as the truth. When we watch the news at 6:00 pm every evening and read the paper over coffee and breakfast, we believe everything reported. And why shouldn't we? Isn't it our right to know what's going on in the world and to not have the struggle of trying to separate fact from fiction? Unfortunately, we may think this is our right, but we do have to take a more critical look at the information departed from the media. It is because so many people think that way that Wag the Dog is so plausible. Wag the Dog is a satire that takes presidential cover-ups to an extreme. Employing the talents of a movie producer to create a fictitious war and presidential aides and consultants to stir up media frenzy to detract from the latest presidential scandal just days before Election Day. They bank on the premise that most Americans know little about foreign affairs and all knowledge obtain is through the news media.
The characters introduced in this film seem to be taken directly from the news headlines. Americans are familiar with the term political watch dogs and the service these "information bureaus" offer; for years we have heard their claims of various cover ups and distractions. This movie presented the lengths one will go to save his or her own job. The fact that the President never shows his face is an example of how important his staff is and what roles they play in the protection of the President. .
While the characterizations in Wag the Dog are exaggerations, the trends toward more sensational presentation of politics are real. Tabloid newspapers and television programs have assumed an enhanced position in the political process, and politicians and the mainstream press cannot help but take them seriously. Several factors set this trend in motion.