A PR practitioner is sometimes seen as a negative practice. It is sometimes known as a spin doctor or a flack. The PR practitioner would most likely follow the situational value orientation, because it works on the basis to make decisions that will cause the least harm or the most good. This can be seen in the movie “Wag the Dog” when the campaign team does whatever it takes to help the image of the current president in the days before he runs for reelection.
A PR practitioner can act unethically in many ways, according to the PRSA’s code of ethics. A PR practitioner does not act as a responsible advocate to their clients or employers as well as they don’t always use honesty and trustworthy standards or practices. The loyalty is also faltered, because although they might be able to provide a loyal service to their clients, they don’t always honor an obligation to serve the public interest.
The phrase wag the dog applies to the practice of spinning in order to achieve a goal. In the movie of the same title, Robert De Niro plays a “spin doctor” PR represenative based out of Washington DC whose job is to lie, cheat, and do possibly anything and everything possible to make sure that the image of his client, in this case the encumbent of the presidency, remains as clean and positive as possible. De Niro hires a big time hollywood producer to stage and “produce” a fake war with Albania in order to take focus away from a presidential sex scandal, in an effort to buy and stall time before election day.
I believe that “Wag the Dog” paints a negative picture of the PR field because it buys into many negative stereotypes that surround the business. The most significant of these are that PR reps will do whatever it takes to get there way and protect and or publicize their client, whether it be ethical or against all ethical standards.