• NZME and Trump

    The televised hearings into the storming of the Capitol are revealing to the American public a truth that was obvious to some of us from the outset – that the Trumpian “big lie” about a “stolen” election was part of a determined attempt at a coup that would have been – if successful – a total denial of the democratic process.

    The violence of the assault on the Capitol and the threat (apparently endorsed by Trump himself) to “hang Mike Pence” show without any doubt how far Trump and his supporters were prepared to go.

    I was, in the period leading up to that fateful day, contracted to write a weekly column for the NZME-owned Bay of Plenty Times. I had written several columns that were critical of Trump, and I had, as the events unfolded surrounding Trump’s claim that the election had ben stolen from him, sent in a column that warned that what we were seeing was a “slow-motion coup” happening before our very eyes.

    I was surprised to get a phone call from the editor, in which he said that he would not publish my piece. I stuck to my guns and the outcome was that my contract was terminated.

    I don’t expect, now that the accuracy of my observation has been vindicated, to have my contract restored or to receive an apology. But I do wonder why NZME (and I assume that it was their decision that had been relayed to me by the editor) were so solicitous about protecting Trump’s good name?

    The question is worth asking because the sickness arising as a consequence of Trump is still doing its damage around the world. American politics (and especially the Republican Party) are still in thrall to Trump’s lies – and the “far right” across the globe still derive their undesirable influence and crusading zeal from their endorsement of his anti-democratic attitudes. We need to know why New Zealand’s most powerful media organisation should find it necessary to protect him from criticism.


  1. Jeremy Callaghan says: June 19, 2022 at 9:35 pmReply

    I remember you being one of the first credible commentators to call this event what it really was, an attempted coup. The proceedings of the Select Committee, which are easily available on line, are compelling viewing and make it clear how close the US was to a revolution on that January day. The Bay of Plenty Times should be ashamed of itself for allowing its misguided commercial instincts to blind it to the unfolding history of Trump’s failed presidency. Jeremy

  2. Bryan Gould says: June 20, 2022 at 11:03 amReply

    Thanks Jeremy. Good to have your support. Bryan

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