Right Wing Pundits Were Paid by the Government of Malaysia to Write Fluff Pieces

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Joshua Trevi�o

Right wing corruption on a grand scale, paid for by the government of Malaysia and completely undisclosed until now: Covert Malaysian Campaign Touched a Wide Range of American Media.

Remember - these are some of the same conservative writers who’ve spent the last month hyperventilating about Chuck Hagel’s hypothetical payments from foreign entities.

A range of mainstream American publications printed paid propaganda for the government of Malaysia, much of it focused on the campaign against a pro-democracy figure there.

The payments to conservative American opinion writers — whose work appeared in outlets from the Huffington Post and San Francisco Examiner to the Washington Times to National Review and RedState — emerged in a filing this week to the Department of Justice. The filing under the Foreign Agent Registration Act outlines a campaign spanning May 2008 to April 2011 and led by Joshua Trevino, a conservative pundit, who received $389,724.70 under the contract and paid smaller sums to a series of conservative writers.

Trevino lost his column at the Guardian last year after allegations that his relationship with Malaysian business interests wasn’t being disclosed in columns dealing with Malaysia. Trevino told Politico in 2011 that “I was never on any ‘Malaysian entity’s payroll,’ and I resent your assumption that I was.”

According to Trevino’s belated federal filing, the interests paying Trevino were in fact the government of Malaysia, “its ruling party, or interests closely aligned with either.” The Malaysian government has been accused of multiple human rights abuses and restricting the press and personal freedoms. Anwar, the opposition leader, has faced prosecution for sodomy, a prosecution widely denounced in the West which Trevino defended as more “nuanced” than American observers realized. The government for which Trevino worked also attacked Anwar for saying positive things about Israel; Trevino has argued that Anwar is not the pro-democracy figure he appears.

The federal filing specified that Trevino was engaged through the lobbying firm APCO Worldwide and the David All Group, an American online consulting firm. The contract also involved a firm called FBC (short for Fact-Based Communications), whose involvement in covert propaganda prompted a related scandal and forced an executive at The Atlantic to resign from its board.

UPDATE at 3/1/13 11:10:13 am

The Huffington Post has deleted Joshua Trevi�o’s articles attacking pro-democracy Malaysian Anwar Ibrahim, with the following Editor’s Note:

This post was removed from The Huffington Post after it was revealed that the author violated our blogger guidelines by not properly disclosing financial ties that amounted to a serious conflict of interest.

Here’s Google’s cache of Trevi�o’s paid propaganda: Joshua Treviño: What Anwar’s Trial Really Means.

Related
The Beam in Joshua Trevino’s Eye (or, Joshua Trevino’s connection to European fascists.)

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