Wag the Dog movie with Hoffman and DeNiro
Post-structuralism evaluates how an individual's semiotic nature is mediated by principles of language, subjectivity and images that eventually affect the way a text is made real and factual to the reader. The movie Wag the Dog is a sardonic production of the repercussion of the public communication industry's impact on what the public conceives as truth.
The examination of language is an aspect of post-structuralist theory which assists in understanding how meaning from texts is made. Consequently, the meaning came from a text can often be a direct reflection upon the meaning people take from the language used. Some of the linguistic methods used by the `spin-doctors' in the movie were techniques of encoding an intended meaning for the viewers to interpret.
For instance, in the movie, when the president's advisor is speaking to the media in regards to his illness and rejecting the claims of a condition in Albania, Dustin Hoffman's character informs the advisor to say, "I know we are all concerned for the President. I'm sure our thoughts and prayers are with him." This statement, encoded with American cultural values, tells the Americans that they should value, honor and support their leader through rough times and have confidence in his leadership. This completely changes the earlier negative tone and approach towards the president making the masses united in supporting him rather than uncovering a deceiving side of him.
One more example of how the language used by the `spin-doctors' was chosen specially to enable a certain understanding. Robert DeNiro's character argues: "(DeNiro) - Tell them we are going to war - (other character) we can't declare war!" - (DeNiro) we aren't declaring war. We haven't done that since WWII. We are going to war."
This conversation is remarkable because to the political community, they would recognize and interpret it the way DeNiro's character planned, with relatively minor concern....