Since then, Josh Treviño has denied being a journalist, claiming instead that he was a PR man who "ran a loose operation" -- basically in having other writers also muddy the waters when it came to issues concerning Malaysian Opposition.
He rejected accusations that his actions had broken any rules of journalism. “I’m not a journalist and never was,” Treviño wrote. “That’s a pretty key distinction. What most PR does is comment/opinion.”
Fair enough. It happens all over the world, especially in the United States of America, which is where he hails from. In fact, a lot of American foreign policy came to pass based on pressure from lobbyists (often lawyers or PR specialists who are paid to promote a particular cause).
Many Malaysians complain about the USA being very "pro-Israel". What they do not realize is that American policies have been affected in the very same way that Malaysian policies are made and the way the world views Malaysia -- via paid influence and propaganda.
Lesson to be learned: People in glass houses should not throw stones.
Especially that the RM1.2 million (or US$389,724.70) that was paid to Josh Treviño probably came from the tax payer as UMNO regularly uses national coffers as its personal piggy bank. Lucius Goon points this out as well.
However, it is apparent that Treviño was treading the fine line between PR and journalism in his shady of definitions of what exactly he does. Huffington Post, following in the Guardian's footsteps, albeit much later, has since removed most of his postings, "after it was revealed that the author violated HuffPost’s blogger guidelines by not disclosing a financial conflict of interest"
Ah yes. I would imagine that US$389,724.70 is a significant financial conflict of interest.
This amount was paid to him, presumably via FBC Media, APCO Worldwide and David All Group (which I've personally not heard or blogged of prior to this mention) from the Malaysian government and the Prime Minister’s Office.
At this point, I'm wondering how much these PR companies have been paid by UMNO. It would certainly be a darn sight more.
I can't say I'm a huge fan of Anwar Ibrahim. But it does irritate me when money is used for no good purpose other than to defame a person.
1. Paid to blog: Josh Trevino’s MR26,300 a month - Uppercaise
2. Shilling for Malaysia Is Pretty Nice Work If You Can Get It - New York Magazine
3. Friends of Malaysia - The Maddow Blog (MSNBC)