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Week 5 team ethics paper 1

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Running head: ETHICS & THE MEDIA INDUSTRY
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Ethics & the Media Industry
BSCOM/460
August 13, 2019
Nicole Kragt

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ETHICS & THE MEDIA INDUSTRY
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Ethics & the Media Industry
Nowadays, movies are first and foremost meant to entertain but sometimes a movie
comes along that challenges our concept of reality and comes dangerously close to mirroring
actual events that are well within the range of possibility. “Wag the Dog” is one such movie. The
overarching theme within the movie is the impact of propaganda and its effects on the public at
large. A detailed examination of this movie yields many parallels to today’s fraught political
scene, such as opposing views of censorship brought up by the characters, the use of hot-button
issues to further unions and divides, ethical dilemmas posed to the characters and their responses,
and the use of appropriate or inappropriate ethical theories to explain the decisions that were
made.
Movie Summary
“Wag the Dog” is a movie solely about the power of propaganda in an increasingly
technologically-driven world. The film opens with one of the main characters, a spin doctor
known as Conrad Bream, arriving at the White House and being told about the crisis, which is
the President of the United States having been accused of sexual misconduct with an underage
girl in the Oval Office, eleven days before his election day. Bream is hired to detract the public
away from this scandal long enough for the President to win reelection. Bream, with the help of
White House aide, Winifred Ames, goes on the offensive and immediately begins creating false
headlines about a crisis brewing overseas in Albania with just enough information to be seen as
real. He then hires a producer, Stanley Motss, to produce a nonexistent military conflict. Motss,
in turn, creates war footage and commissions an inspirational song by Johnny Dean (De Luca &
Levinson, 1997).

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Running head: ETHICS & THE MEDIA INDUSTRY Ethics & the Media Industry BSCOM/460 August 13, 2019 Nicole Kragt 1 ETHICS & THE MEDIA INDUSTRY 2 Ethics & the Media Industry Nowadays, movies are first and foremost meant to entertain but sometimes a movie comes along that challenges our concept of reality and comes dangerously close to mirroring actual events that are well within the range of possibility. “Wag the Dog” is one such movie. The overarching theme within the movie is the impact of propaganda and its effects on the public at large. A detailed examination of this movie yields many parallels to today’s fraught political scene, such as opposing views of censorship brought up by the characters, the use of hot-button issues to further unions and divides, ethical dilemmas posed to the characters and their responses, and the use of appropriate or inappropriate ethical theories to explain the decisions that were made. Movie Summary “Wag the Dog” is a movie solely about the power of propaganda in an increasingly technologically-driven world. The film opens with one of the main characters, a spin doctor known as Conrad Bream, arriving at the White House and being told about the crisis, which is the President of the United States having been accused of sexual misconduct with an underage girl in the Oval Office, eleven days before his election day. Bream is hired to detract the public away from this scandal long enough for the President to win reelection. Bream, with ...
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