One of our readers makes the point that the Scott McClellan-Peter Osnos affair has the earmarks of communist thought control, as in Darkness at Noon. In this process, one offers the prisoner better food, to be sure, but most importantly helps him understand where his thinking was wrong, and then leads him to “right thinking.” The process is easier if, as here, the captive’s knowledge of fact and his convictions were weak to begin with. Apparently, there is a whole literature on this.
In this account, McClellan’s editors helped him come to believe that he was doing the right thing, not just making a buck.
UPDATE: It turns out the Osnos has been quite explicit about the way in which his editing process re-shapes the thoughts of public figures who write books for his company. Months ago, Osnos wrote:
In nearly 25 years of editing books by public figures intended to provide historical perspective, I have learned that the full story only really emerges in the final editing. Even people who have lived through an experience in, say, The White House, The Pentagon or the Kremlin, can’t completely fathom what they’ve been through. They need help in explaining “what happened” — which is why that is McClellan’s title. . . .[Scott] is very hard at work on the manuscript. We’ll then help him be as clear as he can possibly be about what he has concluded.
This sounds a bit like the kind of help Zinoviev and Kamenev needed.
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