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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)


  • January 16, 2007

    Obama Steps Up… And Into the 2008 Race

    With his decision to file the necessary paperwork to launch a presidential campaign exploratory committee, Barack Obama puts an end to speculation about whether he really is interested in being the Democratic nominee in 2008.

    The exploratory committee is political performance art. Obama's not exploring anything. He's preparing a candidacy that, if all goes as planned, will be launched officially on February 10 in Chicago.

    So Obama is running.

    John Nichols

  • January 15, 2007

    Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby and the New Definition of “Honesty”

    Dick Cheney worked in the White House of Richard Nixon, who had to resign as Congress began impeachment proceedings that grew out of his dishonest and disreputable stewardship of the presidency

    Dick Cheney worked with the White House of Ronald Reagan, which was investigated by Congress and the courts for establishing – and then lying about -- a secret plan to violate the law by directing resources to its Iran-Contra co-conspirators in the Middle East and Latin America.

    Dick Cheney worked in the White House of George Herbert Walker Bush, who pardoned former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, Robert C. McFarlane, Elliott Abrams and others who had been indicted, and in some cases convicted, by Iran-Contra prosecutors.

    John Nichols

  • Autobiography and Memoir January 12, 2007

    Newspapers…and After?

    Newspapers may be dinosaurs in the age of new media, but they have enough life to guide--and even define--our politics.

    John Nichols


  • January 11, 2007

    Dr. King and the Media

    MEMPHIS -- The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose legacy has been celebrated this weekend in Memphis by National Conference for Media Reform speakers such as Bill Moyers, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Vermont Senator Bernie Sander, actor Danny Glover and Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, often prodded the U.S. media to do a better job of covering the civil rights movement that he championed in the 195Os and 196Os.

    King recognized that, while ending segregation and creating opportunities for African Americans was his first goal, getting the media to do its job had to be on the agenda.

    The Nobel Peace Prize winner knew that organizing, marching and protesting in a vacuum would not bring change. The American people and their elected representatives needed to know that demands were being made for the redress of grievances.

    John Nichols

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  • January 11, 2007

    Surge Into A Quagmire

    In a sober address to the nation Wednesday night, President Bush confirmed his determination to surge the United States military deeper into the Iraq quagmire by sending roughly 21,500 more troops to that troubled land.

    The president went even further than his critics feared he might, outlining a dangerous program of integrating U.S. and Iraqi military units – with U.S. trainers and strategists embedded in Iraqi units and U.S. brigades partnered with Iraqi brigades. And he signaled that he will implement his new approach before Congress has a chance to consider it. Indeed, the first new U.S. brigade is scheduled to hit the ground in Iraq Monday.

    Bush confidently dismissed Congressional opposition, anticipating – correctly it turned out – that while Democratic leaders in the House and Senate would criticize the strategy, they would not move to block it by employing the power of the purse to cut off funding of moves to escalate the war.

    John Nichols

  • January 10, 2007

    The Rush to Surge

    It has been an open secret for weeks that President Bush would reject the message of the American people from the November 7 elections, along with the advice of savvy military strategists and foreign affairs experts, and surge the United States military deeper into the Iraq quagmire.

    Now, as the President prepares to confirm his commitment to carry on in the wrong direction, with tonight's primetime address to the American people, Bush's White House has begun to leak details of how many more troops will be dispatched to Iraq--and, even more significant, how quickly those troops will be moved into position.

    According to White House counselor Dan Bartlett, Bush will announce that he plans to commit an additional 21,500 US combat troops to the Iraq fight. Specifically, according to breakdowns provided by the White House, 4,000 more Marines will be sent to the violence-torn Anbar Province, while 17,500 more troops will be dispatched to the hell that is Baghdad.

    John Nichols

  • January 9, 2007

    The Senator Who Will Not Surge

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, are trying to figure out how to respond to the to the expected presidential proposal for to surge the United States deeper into the quagmire that is Iraq.

    But the man who, by virtue of his long service in the Senate and his mastery of that chamber's politics and procedures, is recognized and respected by savvy Democrats and Republicans as the essential member of the new Congress, is not confused.

    Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, is today introducing legislation to uniquivocally "prohibit the use of funds for an escalation of United States forces in Iraq above the numbers existing as of January 9, 2007."

    John Nichols

  • January 8, 2007

    An Israeli Defense of Jimmy Carter

    There is an ugly cynicism to the attack on Jimmy Carter that has been launched by Americans who well recognize that the former president's new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, says nothing that has not already been said about the Middle East conflict by Israeli politicians and commentators.

    So why is Carter, a longtime friend of Israel and the Jewish people, being smeared as an anti-Semite for suggesting that the occupation by Israeli forces of Palestinian territory inspires troubling comparisons with the apartheid system that white South Africans once imposed on their country's black majority?

    One of Israel's most prominent political figures suggests that it has a lot to do with the determination of Carter's critics to allow their emotions to trump the facts.

    John Nichols

  • January 5, 2007

    Will a New Congress Check and Balance Bush?

    The wonder of American democracy is the fact that power can be transferred from one party to another peacefully and, at times, even graciously.

    The reason for this, of course, is that the United States is governed by a Constitution that assures the power that is transferred is never absolute. Thus, a defeated party and its followers know that they are not consigning themselves to political oblivion when they cede their authority to another group of partisans.

    The separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution, and protected by that document's system of checks and balances, was designed to assure that neither the executive nor the legislative branch of government could become so dominant that basic rights might be undermined or that the nation itself might be endangered.

    John Nichols