This lekythos is adorned with the image of Clio, the muse of history. She is placed inverted on the vase, as one would fly the flag upside down to indicate a time of distress. To the victor goes the spoils, and generally with that comes the luxury of recording the history of the event in a favorable light of the victorious. However, with a super-saturated media and inter-connected society, simply writing the text books and commissioning the epic history painting no longer suffices. The trick now is to win the war in the public perception, as was attempted for so long in Vietnam, or to secure a mandate by the people through manufactured consent. Either one can be accomplished by usage of propaganda. If a people are inundated with a particular slant of information long enough it becomes public perception, if this perception exists long enough it slowly becomes more and more rooted in accepted fact, regardless of its origin. Hitler’s rise is an obvious and effective example, but less discussed is the Creel Committee under Woodrow Wilson’s administration. Formed in 1917, the campaign released a plethora of film, radio and print information, and, at times, utilized complete fabrications (some as far as depicting German soldiers bayoneting babies) and other scare tactics to whip a once largely pacifist American population into flag-waving hawks (familiar?). Noam Chomsky said, “propaganda is to democracy what the bludgeon is to the totalitarian state.”
Another frightening situation dealing with how the public receives its information is to realize who owns the delivery systems. Twice in the past five years has Congress, after sufficient public outrage, had to veto Federal Communications Commision rulings to remove the newspaper/broadcast cross ownership ban (September 2003 and May 2008). The continuous attempt at media conglommeration has further thinned independent ideas and dissenting points of view, some of which are far more rooted in fact than what is presented to the public. History is no longer changed with an eraser; it is manufactured as it is happening.
From the October 17, 2004, New York Times Magazine in an article by Ron Siskin, quoting and unnamed aide to George W. Bush:
the aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality."… "that's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. we're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."