From Open Secrets:

Donald Trump, the prohibitive favorite for the Republican presidential nomination, just added a fistful of primaries to his string of victories and knocked the GOP establishment’s favorite son, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), out of the race. To beat Trump now, it seems, someone thinks it’s time to get evil.

Dr. Evil, to be exact. Washington consultant Rick Berman, whom CBS News christened with that title in 2007, runs a public relations consulting company in Washington known for deploying surreptitious tactics on behalf of major industry clients. Berman’s firm has now contracted with a group Berman runs, the Enterprise Freedom Action Committee, in connection with a $315,000 (so far) campaign against Trump waged via Google and Facebook ads.

Berman earned the Austin Powers moniker in part by deploying tactics like “shooting the messenger.” As he told CBS: “Shooting the messenger means getting people to understand that this messenger is not as credible as their name would suggest.”

In practice, that means Berman starts his own nonprofit groups with their own credible-sounding names and their donors kept secret to discredit reports about everything from the health dangers of mercury in fish to trans-fats. The strategy has the effect of distorting debates in Washington with nameless corporate money, encouraging hyperbolic misinformation that confuses voters and muddles policy debates.

Enter Donald Trump. A veritable monarch of misinformation, Trump as recently as last weekend claimed that a would-be attacker at one of his rallies had ties to Islamic State and, when pressed on the statement’s inaccuracy, replied: “All I know is…

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