Barnum Revival

Evidence of growing interest in showman PT Barnum, sometimes called (in US texts, anyway) the father of public relations. Others, of course, shudder at the association. Re awakened interest not surprising  in the circus of communication we currently occupy.

Revisiting Barnum reminds us how old fake news is and, to quote Boorstin (1961), ‘Barnum understood, intuitively, how many things Americans find to be more enjoyable than reality’.

IMage revisited


  1. Article from The Atlantic on Boorstin and Barnum from 2016, pre-US election:

“Barnum was one of the original creators and commercializers of the pseudo-event, the vaguely real-but-also-not-real thing that, the historian Daniel Boorstin argues, has been the fundamental fact of American culture since the days of Barnum himself”

Boorstin and Barnum

2. Trump embraces Barnum as role model


“Last year, the National Review called Trump “the P.T. Barnum of American politics.” Salon deemed him “the second coming of P.T. Barnum.” Just last week, Samuel L. Jackson told Rhapsody magazine Trump is “more P.T. Barnum than politician” — and also accused him of cheating at golf.”

Silverstein, New York Daily News, Jan 2016

Trump and Barnum

3. Barnum the Musical

Extracts from Marcus Brigstocke’s diary of rehearsals (more Marcus than PT)

“Barnum’s the name. PT Barnum. And tonight on this stage you’re going to see every sight, wonder and miracle that name stands for … ”

Marcus Brigstocke@PTBarnum  

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