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The Graft That Keeps On Giving

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What if I asked you if a once inexplicably prominent liberal blogger was also on the receiving end of the same blood money as Josh Trevino, who would you guess? If you’ve been around this thing of ours for a while, your guess was probably right!

David All, a Republican online operative whose David All Group originally contacted conservative writer Joshua Trevino, Trevino said, to conduct a PR operation on behalf of the Malaysian government, is not listed in the records. Nor is Jerome Armstrong, a pioneering liberal blogger whose MyDD was for a time a key site, and who took a leading role alongside Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas in Matt Bai’s 2007 book on how bloggers and billionares were remaking the Democratic Party, who Trevino says was engaged by All at the same time as him to run the website MalaysiaMatters.com as part of a paid media push that backed the country’s ruling party and attacked its critics.

Maybe he had some useful information for the Malaysian state about how because the second moon of Venus was in Uranus we can know that Vice-President Palin will be a major boon to the forces that want to crush Malaysian democracy.

…just to clarify — from Rosie Gray’s original report, it’s not just Trevino’s word:

Two of the main players in the campaign funded by the Malaysian government that placed undisclosed propaganda in the American press did not file with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), an omission that lawyers say could place them in legal jeopardy.

David All, a Republican online operative whose David All Group originally contacted conservative writer Joshua Trevino, Trevino said, to conduct a PR operation on behalf of the Malaysian government, is not listed in the records. Nor is Jerome Armstrong, a pioneering liberal blogger whose MyDD was for a time a key site; Armstrong also took a leading role alongside Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas in Matt Bai’s 2007 book on how bloggers and billionaires were remaking the Democratic Party, who Trevino says was engaged by All at the same time as him to run the website MalaysiaMatters.com as part of a paid media push that backed the country’s ruling party and attacked its critics.

A defunct “about” page for MalaysiaMatters listed Armstrong among the founders: “Those working on this project include David All, Jerome Armstrong and Joshua Treviño,” the page said.

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  • Craigo

    I remember MyDD as the site that assured that Hillary Clinton would lock up the nomination after New Hampshire/Michigan/Florida/Super Tuesday/Texas/Pennsylvania/Puerto Rico/brokered convention.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Let me put it this way: there’s a reason they considered Matt Stoller worth publishing.

  • Shakezula

    Perhaps I took a double-dose of stupid pills today, but I can’t make heads or tails of that paragraph. Someone is or is not on a list and did something with the DailyKommrade??

    • Warren Terra

      I had to read it twice before I understood that – although the text appeared to exculpate Mr. Armstrong – the only possible reason for his appearance in the text and for the further explication of his past prominence must be that he was implicated in the scandal.

      Sokay, it’s not like my opinion of Mr. Armstrong had room to drop.

    • Uncle Ebeneezer

      You’re not alone. Editor badly needed on that one.

    • Decrease Marher

      That second sentence is horrendous enough, but the fact that the guy’s name is All adds pushes it over the edge.

  • DrDick

    Who the fuck is Jerome Armstrong?

    • Someone just slightly more famous than that guy who said something about Philip Roth.

  • the second moon of Venus was in Uranus

    He second one was in there too? Gracious.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      the mind boggles, doesn’t it

    • Malaclypse

      Which is impressive, given that Venus doesn’t even have a first moon.

      • Marc

        If you had sufficient faith you could see them!

  • Corey

    Was Armstrong really even blogging back then? He was always explicit about being a “strategist” and strategists make money shilling for other interests.

    • T.R. Donoghue

      That title would indicate some level of ability for strategic thinking. I can’t say that I ever witnessed any such ability from Armstrong.

      Also too, Matt Stoller.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    Isn’t that cute? Malaysia bought their very own Crossed Swords!

    • Scott Lemieux

      Of all the political websites that have ever existed, that was one of them.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry I am not aware enough, I saw this ‘crossed swords’ in the linked Sadly, No piece a few days ago, could anyone translate for me?

        I was online in those days, but didn’t get around much past Billmon, The Poorman, S, N! and such the like.

        • RhZ

          Sorry that was me. I mean, does it refer to My DD? Or another website?

          • djw

            A short-lived political blog with the mission of bring left and right together in one place. The founders were Trevino and Armando. It was as bad as it sounds, and had a shelf-life shorter than the average post-Tacitus Trevino blog venture.

            • RhZ

              Thank you djw. Appreciate the info.

  • Stag Party Palin

    Since Trevino seems to be the only source for these revelations, perhaps we should regard them as unproven?

    • Bill Murray

      but why do that when you can complain about a website and someone you don’t like

      • Why follow links when you can complain right here?

        • Incontinential Buttocks

          Who needs to think when your feet just go?

          • commie atheist

            Bohannon, Bohannon, Bohannon, Bohannon…

          • a hippity hop and a hippity ho!

    • commie atheist

      Perhaps you should read the original source article in Buzzfeed – it’s just a couple of clicks away, honest – where you will be able to read Armstrong’s own words about doing work for Malaysia, and see actual pictures of Trevino and Armstrong together, with the Malaysian Prime Minister (who made them BREAKFAST!). Other than that, you’re right, just Trevino’s word for it.

      • Anonymous

        I met him, and he was nice to me, therefore I am ready to shill for him. Is there a difference between Trevino and Dennis Rodman?

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          Rebounding skill? Hair-color variability? Number of tats?

          • commie atheist

            Rodman is capable of going Ginger.

        • SamR

          Did Rodman get paid to go to North Korea?

          • Anonymous

            Yes, by Vice Mag.

    • SqueakyRat

      Even if it is true, it doesn’t seem that Armstrong, unlike Trevino, was deceiving people.

  • CJColucci

    Several years ago, I made three trips to malaysia and worked with several Malaysians on a case. Fascinating country with great potential and interesting obstacles. I have tried to follow Malaysian affairs ever since, but rarely does Malaysia get onto the media radar — except for a few British publications.
    What I want to know is how many of these bought and paid for writers actually had any opinions at all on anything Malaysian, let alone knew enough so their opinions would be worth anything, before they took the money?

    • Medrawt

      Eh, details. “We didn’t exactly believe your story, Prime Minister Najib. We believed your $400,000. I mean, you paid us more than if you had been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it all right.”

      • Hogan

        Oh well done.

    • SamR

      What’s weird isn’t why they’d agree to write something they have no basis for believing (that’s the job description for much of the PR and legal worlds) but why such articles/posts would be valuable.

      OK, they got a few articles published. Its not like this created some groundswell of pro-government of Malaysia movement in the US or crushed the nascent pro-opposition movement. Honestly, the average American doesn’t care about Malaysia.

      I didn’t read all the articles, but in the 30 comments in the one on National Review the commentators were pretty hostile b/c the Malaysian PM insisted on being Muslim. I think the one on HuffPo had fewer comments than that. It was one big “meh.”

      • timb

        I hear the Prime Minister of Indonesia is also Muslim….and the PM of Israel is Jewish. OMG! when will these people just allow NRO commenters to install Christian governments for them?

  • wengler

    Jerome Armstrong was pretty insufferable back in 2008. This is both hilarious and unsurprising.

  • In fairness, Armstrong was a “get.” He is an executive at Vox Media, as is Markos, but Armstrong is more operational. I think he may have signed on to Malaysiamatters as part of his work on Vox, in which case he acted as a publisher, not a writer.

    Writers are subject to the ethics of writing and journalism, which Trevino violated egregiously. Publishers are subject to the ethics of business, which are different. You’ll note that journalism schools carry the names of publishers.

    Jerome Armstrong is a publisher.

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