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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    —   24   At the same time, FBI branding, when considered in the light of post-Hoover-era revelations about the Bureau’s civil liberties excesses, demonstrates the power of a brand to naturalize and legitimize controversial notions and to obscure or silence the counter- narratives critics produced. Seduced by the FBI brand, with its patriotic signifiers and success stories, Members of Congress, the press, and the public were blindly complicit in the effort to put the Bureau above criticism. Undoubtedly the protection from critics that was provided the FBI interpretive community, individuals who essentially adopted the Bureau’s public iconography as part of their own identity, put the Bureau above reproach in the eyes of many citizens and government officials. Thus, while the FBI must be considered an important practitioner in the 20 th century progression of branding, the Bureau must also be recognized for its application of a comprehensive branding scheme to distract, confuse and mislead Americans about its systematic and often extralegal war on dissent.

Authors: Cecil, Matthew., Tiernan, Jennifer. and Koroglu, Didem.
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Cecil,  Tiernan,  Koroglu  —  Science,  Restraint,  and  J.  Edgar  Hoover    —   24  
At the same time, FBI branding, when considered in the light of post-Hoover-era 
revelations about the Bureau’s civil liberties excesses, demonstrates the power of a brand 
to naturalize and legitimize controversial notions and to obscure or silence the counter-
narratives critics produced. Seduced by the FBI brand, with its patriotic signifiers and 
success stories, Members of Congress, the press, and the public were blindly complicit in 
the effort to put the Bureau above criticism. Undoubtedly the protection from critics that 
was provided the FBI interpretive community, individuals who essentially adopted the 
Bureau’s public iconography as part of their own identity, put the Bureau above reproach 
in the eyes of many citizens and government officials. Thus, while the FBI must be 
considered an important practitioner in the 20
th
 century progression of branding, the 
Bureau must also be recognized for its application of a comprehensive branding scheme 
to distract, confuse and mislead Americans about its systematic and often extralegal war 
on dissent. 
 
 


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