Wag the Dog

In 1997 Hilary Henkin and David Mamet adapted Larry Beinhart’s novel American Hero into a screenplay which depicted a spin doctor and a Hollywood producer fabricating a war to distract voters from a presidential sex scandal.

The film was far ahead of its time in many of its insights into the nature of politics, media and security.

What I find particularly ominous is the references to creating an artificial reality through media. It is an insightful precursor to the current explosion of ‘fake news’ in the information age.


In this clip (above) the characters are producing a fake war on the whims of the president, toying with the emotions of the general public.

What I find perhaps more disturbing than the conception of modern ‘fake news’, is the idea of future ‘fake news’. The likely proliferation of augmented reality in the near future lends an almost infinite realm of possibility to a media organisation wishing to narrate such a story as the one seen here in the clip above.

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