U.S. National Security. Wag the Dog and the Media. Wag the Dog : Discussion Questions. What point are the filmmakers trying to make with this satire? What threats are portrayed? Threats to whom? Who/what is threatening? Why was war the go-to diversion?
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U.S. National Security
Wag the Dog and the Media
…And to go to that war, you've got to be prepared. You have to be alert, and the public has to be alert. Cause that is the war of the future, and if you're not gearing up, to fight that war, eventually the axe will fall. And you're gonna be out in the street. And you can call this a "drill," or you can call it "job security," or you can call it anything you like. But I got one for you: you said, "Go to war to protect your Way of Life," well, Chuck, this is your way of life. Isn't it? And if there ain't no war, then you, my friend, can go home and prematurely take up golf. Because there ain't no war but ours.
Telegraph --> wire services
1980s/90s: Cable and Satellite
2000s/10s: Cell phones, social media
Each innovation -
Increases potential # of potential news sources
Allows the president to communicate more directly with the people
Rise of television
1959: 19% of people get most of their news from television alone
2003: 86% cite TV as main source of info about Iraq war (only 4% cite Internet)
Rise of cable
1995: 23% of Americans watch cable news daily (62% watch network news daily)
2008: 40% (34%)
Rise of Internet
1995: 3%, daily news source
“…by that time  it was clear that despite the best efforts of the American government and the American media, the legacy of 9/11 was not going to be moral clarity but rather moral unease — an almost vertiginous sensation of the ground giving way beneath our feet, along with just about everything else. That sensation, alas, has never gone away, and it is what has been mined brilliantly by the makers of Mad Men. If, in 2003, America was finally able to look at a two year-old photograph suggesting that it had to revise what it thought it knew about how people died on 9/11, by 2007 it was primed to watch a prime-time melodrama suggesting that it had to revise what it thought it knew about how people lived in 1960. It was ready to hear that what it had always regarded as American exceptionalism got its start as American entitlement, and was always fated to fall back to earth.”-Tom Junod, “Falling (Mad) Man” (2012)