The film was prophetic: president Bill Clinton would be on the verge of impeachment in a month due to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and a year later US aircraft from NATO would begin bombing Yugoslavia. However, the preconditions for all this were also at the time of filming, so it can be considered that Wag the dog is a chronicle of the political scandal of the late 1990s. The movie is a direct satire on those events. It's an interesting fact that the actors even dated Bill Clinton at the time of the shooting. The President came face to face with the film's stars and director at a charity bash. The political leader praised the film's title, but wondered what Wag the Dog was about? Actors were embarrassed until Hoffman found a solution – he lied, giving the President a fake plot summary.
The public reaction to the film was much brighter and quicker than the release of the book which it was based on. The publicists did their best, literally uniting the premiere and Lewinsky's confessions. The film was advertised with a snapshot of the white house and a promising inscription: "the action starts with a crisis in the White House!" But it was important not to overdo, according to Jonathan Rutter, who was handling the publicity for the film's UK release, "We don't want to ram the resonance in people's faces. Otherwise, people will start to think it's a docu-drama rather than the very funny movie it actually is, and those who want to escape the coverage on television will not consider Wag The Dog as an option". The American public was extremely preoccupied with the scandal of its political leader and the timely release of such a provocative film. When not watching Bill and Hillary Clinton's prime-time denials, people trot off to the cinema to see Levinson's mirror of reality. Americans were frustrated; they were shown for the first time how a small group of people controls the public opinion of a huge country, like a small tail wagging a dog.