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John Nichols

National Affairs Correspondent

John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its national affairs correspondent. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books, and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

Nichols is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and dozens of other newspapers.

Nichols is a frequent guest on radio and television programs as a commentator on politics and media issues. He was featured in Robert Greenwald’s documentary, “Outfoxed,” and in the documentaries Joan Sekler’s “Unprecedented,” Matt Kohn’s “Call It Democracy” and Robert Pappas’s “Orwell Rolls in his Grave.” The keynote speaker at the 2004 Congress of the International Federation of Journalists in Athens, Nichols has been a featured presenter at conventions, conferences and public forums on media issues sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Consumers International, the Future of Music Coalition, the AFL-CIO, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Newspaper Guild [CWA] and dozens of other organizations.

Nichols is the author of The Genius of Impeachment (The New Press); a critically acclaimed analysis of the Florida recount fight of 2000, Jews for Buchanan (The New Press); and a best-selling biography of Vice President Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President (The New Press), which has recently been published in French and Arabic. He edited Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire (Nation Books), of which historian Howard Zinn said: “At exactly the time when we need it most, John Nichols gives us a special gift–a collection of writings, speeches, poems, and songs from throughout American history–that reminds us that our revulsion to war and empire has a long and noble tradition in this country.”

With Robert W. McChesney, Nichols has co-authored the books It’s the Media, Stupid! (Seven Stories), Our Media, Not Theirs (Seven Stories), Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy (The New Press), The Death and Life of American Journalism (Nation Books), Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street (Nation Books), and their latest, People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy (Nation Books, March 2016). McChesney and Nichols are the co-founders of Free Press, the nation’s media-reform network, which organized the 2003 and 2005 National Conferences on Media Reform.

Of Nichols, author Gore Vidal says: “Of all the giant slayers now afoot in the great American desert, John Nichols’s sword is the sharpest.” (Photo by Robin Holland / Bill Moyers Journal)

  • February 22, 2007

    Cheney: Thanks for Cutting and Running

    Vice President Dick Cheney, keeping as far from federal prosecutors as possible these days, arrived in Japan Wednesday to officially thank that country for supporting the Bush-Cheney administration's invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    What made the trip absurd was that Cheney was campaigning for a war that he wanted, plotted and defended with a disregard not just for the laws of the land but for reality. And what made it ludicrous was that he was thanking an ally that is not exactly in the alliance.

    Japan was a part of the original "coalition of the willing" -- more precisely referred to as the "coalition of the coerced" – that signed on for the quagmire run.

    John Nichols

  • February 20, 2007

    Chris Dodd, D-Constitution

    No one is going to mistake Chris Dodd for a frontrunner in the race for the Democratic presidential nod. The senator from Connecticut is running fourth in the latest poll of voters in his home state. And, while the senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may be a well-respected man about Washington, he is rapidly learning that doesn't count for a whole lot in Keokuk or Dixville Notch.

    But Dodd has hit on a campaign theme that is worthy of attention.

    He has in recent days made the defense of the Constitution and the restoration of the rule of law central to his outreach to voters.

    John Nichols

  • February 19, 2007

    Clinton Would Rather Be Wrong Than President

    "If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from."

    So says New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who appears to be campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination on the theme that she would rather be wrong than president.

    Perhaps, in this post-modern moment, Clinton is on to something. Henry Clay, a frequently unsuccessful contender for the Oval Office in the first half of the 19th century, suggested that he would rather be right than president and he lost. Maybe Clinton believes that by reversing the scenario, she can achieve the victory that eluded Clay.

    John Nichols

  • February 16, 2007

    A Last Battler Against Joe McCarthy and His “Ism”

    The arc of history is long, and those who bend it over particularly wide stretches to time sometimes outlive memories of the most dramatic turns.

    Such is the case with Thomas Fairchild, the last man to mount a serious electoral challenge to Joe McCarthy and the "ism" he spawned, who has died this week at age 94.

    Fairchild's rendevous with destiny played out a very long time ago? In deed, on the day of the vote in which Fairchild sought to prevent the reelection of the red-baiting Republican senator from Wisconsin in 1952, afternoon newspapers carried accounts of aged Civil War veterans casting ballots.

    John Nichols

  • February 13, 2007

    Is Obama’s Race a Factor in Howard’s Attack?

    Why would Australian Prime Minister John Howard separate out Barack Obama from all of the other contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination -- and from all the prominent Democratic and Republican critics of President Bush's dangerous foreign policies -- for attack as the favorite son of the terrorists?

    Why would Howard, suggest that the Illinois senator's candidacy will"encourage those who wanted completely to destabilize and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory"?

    What was Howard thinking when he claimed in an interview on Australiantelevision that: "If I was running al Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008, and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats"?

    John Nichols


  • February 10, 2007

    Obama’s In, Predictably

    The only thing about the launch of Barack Obama's presidential candidacy that wasn't meticulously stage managed was the weather. Outside the old statehouse in downtown Springfield, it was sunny but the thermometer hovered in the teens and even the thousands of hearty Illinois Democrats who had shown up for the "historic event" were shivering uncontrollably by the time the senator arrived with a standard-issue opening line about how, despite the cold, "I'm fired up."

    Obama's announcement, which had been anticipated since he announced last month that he would be announcing this month, had all the spontaneity of a Bill O'Reilly rant about "San Francisco values." There was the predictable U2 music, the predictable Lincoln reference – "a house divided…" – and the predictable "hand-lettered" signs promising to "Barack the Vote!" Leaving no cliché unuttered, Obama reminded the crowd that his was not a campaign but "a journey."

    And a long one it shall be.

    John Nichols

  • February 7, 2007

    The Alternative to a Failed Status Quo

    President Bush and Vice President Cheney constantly claim that critics of the war have not offered an alternative to their proposals to surge deeper into the quagmire they have created in Iraq.

    Watching the Senate struggle to open a debate on whether to pass even a non-binding resolution criticizing the surge scheme would seem to reinforce the administration's line.

    But the truth is that the "there-is-no-alternative" spin is every bit as disingenuous as the claim that Congress saw the same intelligence as the president and vice president and then fully and unquestioningly bendorsed attacking Iraq. In fact, 133 members of the House and 23 members of the Senate saw the "intelligence" that the administration was peddling in 2002 and voted against authorizing the president to attack and occupy Iraq. Dozens of additional members of the House and Senate -- Democrats and Republicans -- expressed reservations about the administration's rush to war.

    John Nichols

  • February 6, 2007

    Holding Bush to Account for Climate Lies, Neglect

    Viewers of Fox News, listeners to Rush Limbaugh and all the other sorry deadenders who choose Bush administration propaganda over perspective will be shocked to learn that the debate about global warming has been over for a long time.

    Climate change is real. And the cynical ploy by conservative politicians and commentators of suggesting otherwise has slowed the American response to a crisis scientists say has grown so severe that -- no matter what is now done to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases -- gases that have already been produced or are in production will continue to contribute to global warming and the rise of oceans for more than 1,000 years.

    The message from the world's top scientists is sobering. "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level,'' argues a new report from the climate scientists working with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change formed by the United Nations' Environment Program and World Meteorological Organization.

    John Nichols