Swirling around the formal biographies on DeMille is the internet with its hundreds of blogs and web pages. Daniel J. Solove has argued that the internet will be increasingly powerful in defining reputation in the coming years. On the web, there are many examples of DeMille and the meeting being misrepresented. Bloggers can take any information and use it to suit this symbolic reputation of the McCarthyite. For example, Orson Welles in his short lived Californian radio program allegedly once broadcast that DeMille’s cinema provided some fascist symbols.
“Little Known Fact Department: The fascist salute was invented by the Hollywood film director, Mr. C. B. DeMille. There is no record that any of the Caesars were hailed by the now famous stiff-armed gesture. It first appeared in a silent movie, “the Eternal City.” As a matter of fact, a great part of the pomp and pageantry of Fascist spectacles is just so much Cecil B. DeMillinery”.
Welles’s claims do not bear even the slightest scrutiny. The Eternal City was directed by George Fitzmaurice in 1923. In the film, which had no connection to DeMille, Fitzmaurice filmed King Victor Emmanuel III and Benito Mussolini reviewing Italian troops. The film is now lost and it is doubtful that Welles had ever seen it. He may have confused it with DeMille’s film Sign of the Cross which did have some fascist style salutes from the gladiators to Caesar.
However, this film was made well after Mussolini had been in power for a decade and it is possible DeMille borrowed the fascist salute to give the film a topical edge. It is also possible he copied it from the famous painting of Jacques–Louis David Oath of the Horatii painted in 1784. DeMille copied many images in his films from artists particularly Gustav Dore.
 Of course, Welles had done something similar when he set up a fascist dictatorship in his famous 1937 theatrical production of Julius Caesar. Moreover, it is self evident that Welles remark was a silly one and it was made in a light hearted radio spot, yet it too has become welded into the ongoing myths about the meeting. One blogger has expanded on this information in a blog dated 6 August 2008.
[Welles notes] that Mr. DeMille was little more than a Fascist. Welles, as it turns out, was quite correct about DeMille, as we now know from the famous directors guild meeting where Mr. DeMille attempted to force a loyalty pledge from film directors during the McCarthy era witch hunts. Ironically, it was Welles own favorite Hollywood director, John Ford who stood up to DeMille and basically called C. B’s proposal “Un-American” since they attempted to suppress the right to the individuals freedom of speech, as well as the artist’s right to freedom of expression.
All the common misrepresentations of the meeting are presented here. Welles’s radio column was a harmless bit of nonsense never intended to be taken seriously but this unknown blogger has shown how easily any bit of information can be incorporated into a cultural myth. DeMille is depicted as a fascist attacking freedom of speech. The broadcast may have never occurred, and been completely light hearted, but that is of no consequence. Now a blogger may appear to be of little account, but the symbolic reputation of an individual is often based on minor misinterpretations and mistakes. It will be interesting to see if at some future stage, DeMille is castigated by a film historian for inventing the fascist salute.
Welles was far more serious about DeMille in his broadcast on 31 March 1945. Welles argued that ‘DeMille says that he supports unions, but not at the expense of personal political expression; the American Federation of Radio Artists, of which DeMille was a member, asked its members for money to campaign in opposition to the Right of Employment amendment, and failure to pay would mean suspension from the union. DeMille refused to pay because he supported the amendment and thus could no longer work in the radio business. The speech is an explanation for the events and a defense of personal freedom of political beliefs outside of union membership.’ According to Welles, DeMille distorted the facts: the amendment in question sought to disable all organized labor unions in California. Welles also points out that a majority of the members of the union (AFRA) voted to fight the amendment, while DeMille never attended a single union meeting. He admitted that the AFRA is not perfect, but to destroy the entire union was a rash and unnecessary decision.
 Daniel J. Solove, The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2007. The introduction of DVDs and new technology is an area which has been little studied in their impact on reputation. As a student studying film in 1991, I had to travel to the UK and the USA to see certain silent films by Cecil B. DeMille. In the early part of the twentieth first century, the films are simply available via a personal computer or are delivered to your door. With a little effort, most of DeMille’s films can be easily found – even those that have had no formal release. Access to films has improved exponentially, but it is also access to ideas about films that has flourished. The introduction of the internet in 1991 has caused massive shifts in politics, business and the economy. Thomas L. Friedman, The World is Flat: The Globalized World in the Twentieth-First Century, Updated and Expanded Version, Penguin, 2006 has shown the staggering impact in those areas, but even the study of cinema has changed. Freidman’s focus is on business and economics, but there has been another trend that has emerged since 1991 in film criticism. The internet has meant that any individual can express their views in a public forum. Coupled with this trend has been the huge number of re-releases of films on cable television, video and DVD and now online, people have the basic opportunity to see and write about any film they wish at any time. This has generated a huge amount of interest in cinema right across the world. From 1960 through to 1990, the director’s reputation was largely shaped by journalists, critics and writers – what can be broadly called an elitist approach. From about 1991, this slowly began to change as internet groups began to form. This meant that there was a specialist discussion of all sorts of topics – and all could join. Like every other major or minor figure, DeMille was a subject of discussion. Internet sites such as Amazon have created opportunities for anyone with a computer and an internet connection to review any film. This has led to a flowering of discussion on films on web sites across the world. The quality of that discussion is another question, but its impact has been undeniable. The re-released DeMille film Don’t Change Your Husband on DVD has two reviews from people living in North Carolina in the United States and in Sydney, Australia. These reviews are easier to access than academic works on the film. Indeed some academic papers are now available solely on line. What was once solely the field of film historians and newspaper reviewers has become a level playing field for everyone. Such an influx of ideas and views has had its own impact on the reputations of film makers. Specialist internet forums mean that people from across the world can discuss any aspect of the lives of film makers and there continues to be a great deal of discussion about DeMille on these sites. From this, it is possible to see what contributors think qualitatively and quantitatively, about an individual’s work, along with some discussion. For example, in 2006, the 50th anniversary edition of DeMille’s 1956 film, The Ten Commandments, was released with a special release of the 1923 version of the film. The Amazon site records 229 reviews for this box set with an average rating of 4.5 stars out of five. Here encapsulated on a website is a popular discussion about DeMille’s work, but it does not mean that the critical level of discussion has improved – far from it. Some of the reviews are barely the length of a sentence, and certainly they contain no academic rigor – or sometimes anything approaching grammar. The central point is that people across the world are now able to express an opinion on a book, a play or film to a world audience. It may only be a small community in one country, but across the world that group is now connected and can discuss film makers and their ideas. The rules are changing.
 Box 12, folder 40 of the Welles MSS, The Orson Welles Materials, Radio, 1938-1947, Lilly library Indiana University. It has not been possible to verify if this script of the show was broadcast. The index citation for this show raises the question if they were actually broadcast but provides no answer. Welles may be also wrong. One discussion is in Craig M. White, The Origins of the Great German Nation: Origins and Destiny, Authorhouse, Bloomington, 2007, p . 258, suggests the conception of the salute may have originated from the Hittites before being used by the Romans.
A. Scott Berg, Goldwyn: A Biography, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1989., p. 116.
 He would have been eight years old at the time of release.
 Simon Louvish, Cecil B. DeMille and the Golden Calf, Faber, London, 2007 pp. 220 – 221, Sumiko Higashi, Cecil B. DeMille and American Culture: The Silent Era, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1994, pp. 180 -181 and Charles Higham, Cecil B. DeMille: A Biography of the Most Successful Film Maker of Them All, Scribner, New York, 1973, p. 7.
 Barbara Leaming, Orson Welles, A Biography, Viking Penguin, New York, N.Y., 1985, p. 170.
 Box 12, folder 43 of the Welles MSS, The Orson Welles Materials, Radio, 1938-1947, Lilly Library Indiana University.
 http://www.wellesnet.com/?p=254 viewed on 18 March 2009.