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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)


  • November 30, 2006

    Farewell to Senator Bill Frist, R-Frist Family

    It is too bad that outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, had decided not to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2OO6.

    It would have been entertaining to watch this sorry excuse for a senator try and explain a political journey that deadended when the physician-turned-legislator diagnosed brain-damaged Terry Schiavo via videotape -- producing an assessment of her condition that completely contradicted that of doctors who had actually examined her.

    The storm that followed his intervention in the Schiavo case represented the only instance in which most Americans actually noticed that Frist was one of the nation's most powerful political leaders.

    John Nichols


  • November 27, 2006

    A Republican Takes the Lead on Iraq

    In radio and television interviews since the election, I have argued repeatedly that the November 7 vote did not just empower Democrats to do the right thing with regard to the Iraq debacle. It also freed up Republicans -- particularly Senate Republicans who have long been ill at ease with the neoconservative nonsense peddled by the Bush administration.

    Now that the votes have been counted, the American people are ready for swift steps to extract U.S. forces from a no-win situation.

    Yet, while Democratic leaders talk of "going slow," smart Republicans are recognizing the political opening and seizing it.

    John Nichols

  • November 24, 2006

    Political “News” Replaced By Political Ads

    When Franklin Roosevelt and the first New Deal Congress faced the question of how best to organize broadcasting on the public airwaves, they enacted the federal Communications Act of 1934. That law brought into the modern age the principle that had underpinned the "freedom of the press" protection in the first amendment to the Constitution: that a competitive and responsible media was essential to the healthy functioning of a democracy.

    Though the airwaves belonged to the people, private owners would be allowed to broadcast on particular frequencies. Ownership would be diverse, competition would be encouraged and all who used the people's airwaves would be required to do so in the public interest.

    John Nichols

  • November 23, 2006

    “Freedom, Brotherhood, and Justice…”

    Sixty-five years ago, in that tense passage after the worst of the Great Depression began to ease but before the bombings at Pearl Harbor drew this country into the wars of Europe and Asia, Franklin Roosevelt penned the most remarkable of Thanksgiving Proclamations.

    Unlike most of his predecessors and successors, including the current occupant of the Oval Office, Roosevelt saw the writing of the annual statement as something more than a perfunctory task. Each of the 32nd president's dozen Thanksgiving Proclamations was unique, and as his tenure progressed, Roosevelt used them to express the values of the New Deal and the internationalist struggle against fascism.

    Though Roosevelt's proclamations retained a spiritual character, he deemphasized explicitly Christian references in favor of a more universalist approach, which recognized the contributions of different religious groupings within the United States and abroad. He also added inclusive language, which he and his aides hoped would be read as an encouragement to overcome racial and ethnic divisions.

    John Nichols

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  • November 22, 2006

    A New Congressman Says ‘No’ to the President

    Most freshman Democratic members of the House of Representatives attended last week's reception at the White House with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, White House political czar Karl Rove and others who had just finished plotting and executing unrelenting attacks campaigns on the newcomers. But the target of some of the campaign season's crudest attacks, Minnesota's Keith Ellison, had better things to do.

    Ellison, the first Muslim to ever be elected to Congress, skipped the private reception at the White House in order to attend a reception organized by the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations.

    "I went to the AFL-CIO reception, because I wanted to meet and greet leaders of labor, and get to know them," explained Ellison, who won an intense Democratic primary and then the general election with strong union backing. "Those are the people who I came here to support."Was it hard to give up a chance to rub elbows with the president and vice president?

    John Nichols

  • Elections November 21, 2006

    Power Shifts in the States

    Democratic gains in Statehouses around the country validated Howard Dean's "50-state strategy" and set the stage for a long process of party renewal.

    John Nichols


  • November 17, 2006

    The Senate’s “Horrible Mistake”

    For decades, the official policy of the United States has been to discourage nuclear proliferation, particularly in southern Asia.

    But the U.S. Senate now says: No more.

    At the prodding of the Bush administration, the Senate voted 85-12 to allow the U.S. to ship nuclear fuel and technology to India as part of an initiative to encourage the expansion of nuclear programs in that country. At a time when the Bush administration is suggesting the U.S. might need to go to war to block nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea, the Senate has given its stamp of approval to proliferation in one of the most volatile regions of the world.Describing the vote as "a horrible mistake," Senator Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota, said the vote repudiated decades of U.S. policy of "telling the world it's our responsibility and our major goal to stop the spread of nuclear weapons."

    John Nichols

  • November 15, 2006

    Back to the Future With Trent Lott

    After losing the House and the Senate in the November 7 election, Republicans have been talking about how to create a new and more appealing public image for the Congressional party that has suffered from its association with corruption scandals, crude policies and divisive statements.

    Well, the search for the fresh face of the Grand Old Party is done.

    Senate Republicans have elected as their "new" whip Mississippi Senator Trent Lott.

    John Nichols