Gigaom

Conservative columnists writing for prominent publications like the Huffington Post(s aol), National Review and Red State all received money from the government of Malaysia as part of a sophisticated propaganda plan to smear an opposition leader. Details of the scheme were reported on Friday by BuzzFeed and include a regulatory filing that discloses the names of the columnists.

The plan in which 10 columnists received $2,000 to $36,000 each to write about Malaysia was carried out by Joshua Trevino, an opinion writer and the operation’s bagman. Trevino himself, who was a columnist for the Guardian until the paper dropped him in 2012 over conflict-of-interest issues, received $389,724 from the government of Malaysia.

The Malaysian government’s goal was to discredit Anwar Ibrahim, an opposition leader and the target of a politically charged sodomy trial that was decried by human rights groups.

The upshot is that prominent American media outlets printed propaganda from a semi-totalitarian foreign…

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