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Science, Restraint, and J. Edgar Hoover: Building and Maintaining the FBI Brand, 1933 to 1972
Unformatted Document Text:  Cecil,  Tiernan,  Koroglu  —  Science,  Restraint,  and  J.  Edgar  Hoover    —   11   Americans.” xxxiii For decades, reports of FBI exploits captured the public imagination as the agency grew in size, in jurisdiction, and as a source of public interest. In 1934, Hoover created a public relations section within the FBI, the Crime Records Division. At the same time, the FBI formalized its monitoring of opinion-leaders, designating Special Agents in Charge in its dozens of field offices as information gatherers, reviewing their local media and maintaining relationships with reporters, editors, publishers and other local opinion leaders. Every day, each SAC forwarded a memorandum and news clippings to the Crime Records Division in Washington. This formidable information network allowed the FBI to monitor its environment, to gather feedback on public communication efforts and to enforce its brand. A Washington, D.C. native, Hoover was the son and grandson of bureaucrats. He internalized the principles of effective bureaucracy asserted by scholars like Max Weber through osmosis and through his own early career as a bureaucrat. xxxiv Between 1924 and 1935, Hoover shaped the Bureau into a large and strictly hierarchical monolith that one former official described as the “FBI pyramid.” xxxv In Hoover’s patrimonial FBI, subordinates who did not sufficiently internalize the Bureau brand and organizational culture were quickly removed in favor of more compliant characters. xxxvi This internal brand management continued throughout Hoover’s 48-year tenure. Externally, it communicated a tremendous single-mindedness and clear public cues indicating the FBI’s preferred meanings about itself. Challenges to public perceptions of a restrained, scientific Bureau led by the steady Hoover were quickly dispatched, often by journalists, members of Congress or ordinary citizens who actively policed the brand’s boundaries and maintained the ongoing structure of the FBI’s interpretive community.

Authors: Cecil, Matthew., Tiernan, Jennifer. and Koroglu, Didem.
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Cecil,  Tiernan,  Koroglu  —  Science,  Restraint,  and  J.  Edgar  Hoover    —   11  
Americans.”
xxxiii
 For decades, reports of FBI exploits captured the public imagination as 
the agency grew in size, in jurisdiction, and as a source of public interest.  
 
In 1934, Hoover created a public relations section within the FBI, the Crime 
Records Division. At the same time, the FBI formalized its monitoring of opinion-leaders, 
designating Special Agents in Charge in its dozens of field offices as information 
gatherers, reviewing their local media and maintaining relationships with reporters, 
editors, publishers and other local opinion leaders. Every day, each SAC forwarded a 
memorandum and news clippings to the Crime Records Division in Washington. This 
formidable information network allowed the FBI to monitor its environment, to gather 
feedback on public communication efforts and to enforce its brand. 
A Washington, D.C. native, Hoover was the son and grandson of bureaucrats. He 
internalized the principles of effective bureaucracy asserted by scholars like Max Weber 
through osmosis and through his own early career as a bureaucrat.
xxxiv
 Between 1924 and 
1935, Hoover shaped the Bureau into a large and strictly hierarchical monolith that one 
former official described as the “FBI pyramid.”
xxxv
 In Hoover’s patrimonial FBI, 
subordinates who did not sufficiently internalize the Bureau brand and organizational 
culture were quickly removed in favor of more compliant characters.
xxxvi
 This internal 
brand management continued throughout Hoover’s 48-year tenure. Externally, it 
communicated a tremendous single-mindedness and clear public cues indicating the 
FBI’s preferred meanings about itself. Challenges to public perceptions of a restrained, 
scientific Bureau led by the steady Hoover were quickly dispatched, often by journalists, 
members of Congress or ordinary citizens who actively policed the brand’s boundaries 
and maintained the ongoing structure of the FBI’s interpretive community. 


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