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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    —   21   author. lxvii As they had in 1940, Bureau public relations officials defined the article and Eaton’s comments as a coordinated smear campaign by anti-American forces attempting to undermine the FBI in order to advance their own cause. Defenders in the FBI interpretive community, including journalists like Trohan, conservative columnist George Sokolsky and reporters and editors from several conservative publications chimed in to defend the FBI and undermine Cook. lxviii Right-wing radio broadcaster John T. Flynn labeled Cook and The Nation staff as communists on his national broadcast November 30, 1958. lxix A few months later, On March 6, 1959, Hoover directed his administrators to determine whether “subversive factors” in the personal backgrounds of prominent news reporters, editors and publishers might be at fault for news content Hoover believed was “discrediting our American way of life.” lxx Assistant Director William C. Sullivan reported back that 40 prominent American journalists had “pertinent factors in their backgrounds” that produced anti-American messages. lxxi In his 80-page report, titled “Molders of Public Opinion,” Sullivan boiled tens of thousands of pages of FBI files into a series of so-called blind memoranda that Hoover could choose to share with friendly reporters and publishers. Those blind memoranda contained no indication that the FBI was the source of the negative material. In a summary section of the memo, Sullivan wrote: A vast segment of the representatives of the varied media of communication in this country advocate a deviation from strict adherence to right principles. Whether their efforts stem from naivete, poor judgment, misunderstanding, ignorance, or from calculated efforts to support communist objectives, the cumulative effect constitutes what amounts to psychological pressure on the American people. lxxii

Authors: Cecil, Matthew., Tiernan, Jennifer. and Koroglu, Didem.
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Cecil,  Tiernan,  Koroglu  —  Science,  Restraint,  and  J.  Edgar  Hoover    —   21  
author.
lxvii
 As they had in 1940, Bureau public relations officials defined the article and 
Eaton’s comments as a coordinated smear campaign by anti-American forces attempting 
to undermine the FBI in order to advance their own cause. Defenders in the FBI 
interpretive community, including journalists like Trohan, conservative columnist 
George Sokolsky and reporters and editors from several conservative publications chimed 
in to defend the FBI and undermine Cook.
lxviii
 Right-wing radio broadcaster John T. 
Flynn labeled Cook and The Nation staff as communists on his national broadcast 
November 30, 1958.
lxix
 
A few months later, On March 6, 1959, Hoover directed his administrators to 
determine whether “subversive factors” in the personal backgrounds of prominent news 
reporters, editors and publishers might be at fault for news content Hoover believed was 
“discrediting our American way of life.”
lxx
 Assistant Director William C. Sullivan reported 
back that 40 prominent American journalists had “pertinent factors in their 
backgrounds” that produced anti-American messages.
lxxi
 
In his 80-page report, titled “Molders of Public Opinion,” Sullivan boiled tens of 
thousands of pages of FBI files into a series of so-called blind memoranda that Hoover 
could choose to share with friendly reporters and publishers. Those blind memoranda 
contained no indication that the FBI was the source of the negative material. In a 
summary section of the memo, Sullivan wrote: 
A vast segment of the representatives of the varied media of communication in 
this country advocate a deviation from strict adherence to right principles. 
Whether their efforts stem from naivete, poor judgment, misunderstanding, 
ignorance, or from calculated efforts to support communist objectives, the 
cumulative effect constitutes what amounts to psychological pressure on the 
American people.
lxxii
 
 


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