In the film Wag The Dog, Robert De Niro is a spin-doctor drafted in by the US Government in a time of crisis. The President has been accused of sexual misdemeanours with a firefly girl and it’s about to hit the news just weeks before Election Day. De Niro needs a diversion and he turns to Dustin Hoffman’s Hollywood producer to create him a war – something that will unite the American people behind their leader. The information is delivered to the people via TV and newspaper. In the end, the President is re-elected and the manufactured war actually turns into a real concern.
It is a clever film and a great watch – but ten years later, it would never work. Why? Because the internet would easily have exploded the myth Hoffman created. And millions and millions of people today are influenced by the information they access online. The television is still of course a massively important conduit but the internet like never before has the capability to create a majority. Few understand this better than the US Presidential candidates who are well aware that there is an online battle to be won.
In this battle Barack Obama appears to have the upper hand – as well as a little help from his friends. The Viral Video Chart reveals that a new video posted just 6 days ago has already been viewed by over 5 million visitors. It has been linked to by more than 2000 sources and commented on across all social media platforms by many more. The video is the ‘Yes We Can’ Obama Song by Will.I.Am.
As The Campaign Spot (National Review Online’s blog) points out and as De Niro knew a decade before, Hollywood can provide a very powerful message. It is no wonder that 18-30 year olds (the millennial voters) are turning out in record numbers. It is also no surprise that Barack Obama is winning the majority of this vote on nearly every occasion.