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Remembering “Wag the Dog” as we ponder Trump’s North Korea tweet

Wag the Dog, Barry Levinson’s political satire in which Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman fabricate a war to divert attention from a presidential sex scandal, turns 20 this year. The film has found new relevance in the age of Trump, when seemingly impulsive tweets–often fired off on a Friday–have served to distract the public and media outlets from more pressing topics. But there is no more pressing topic than nuclear war, and so Trump’s tweet this morning, in which he warned North Korea’s Kim Jong-un of consequences should he act “unwisely,” is especially disturbing, as was his warning earlier this week of “fire and fury.”

Some see a distraction tactic. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. But whether it’s intentional or not, the weekend news cycle has been set.

CZ