The Darkest Corners Of Sponsored Content

Christian Caryl digs into the backstory of the recent revelations surrounding the Malaysian government’s sponsored content. The paid editorials of Josh Treviño and Ben Domenech were apparently part of a larger campaign to discredit Clare Rewcastle-Brown, a blogger critical of the country’s corruption:

One company, the lobbying firm APCO Worldwide, hired Texas-based conservative blogger Josh Trevino and a range of other writers to come up with content designed to blacken the opposition. His work included setting up a sock-puppet site bearing the title “Sarawak Reports” (only that final “s” distinguished it from the British journalist’s own blog) stuffed with positive stories about [government minister] Taib. (The bogus site has since been removed, though Rewcastle-Brown cites it in this expose on her own site.)

Trevino heatedly denied working for the Malaysians when challenged on the same point back in 2011; a few weeks ago, he was compelled to retract his denial when paperwork emerged showing that he had indeed taken money from the Malaysian government.