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.