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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 24, 2007

    Bush’s Iraq Plea Fails

    The most pained look of the night on which George Bush delivered the most difficult State of the Union address of his presidency swept across the face of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice midway through the speech.

    The President had just delivered the key lines from the foreign-policy section of a speech that -- despite much emphasis on domestic issues such as health care, education and immigration and -- would be judged primarily on the effectiveness of his remarks regarding the Iraq War.

    This was the point at which Bush needed to convince a skeptical Congress. And he gave it his all -- or, at the very least, all that his speechwriters could muster.

    John Nichols

  • January 23, 2007

    State of the Union: Disapproval of Bush

    President Bush will use tonight's State of the Union address to make what White House Press Secretary Tony Snow refers to as "bold proposals" designed to appeal to Democrats.

    In one of the more remarkable admissions ever by a presidential spokesman regarding the surreal nature of the administration in which he serves, Snow suggested that Bush's speech would be a departure from past State of the Union remarks in that it would "reflect a little bit of the political reality.''

    Reality is good. And it makes sense for Bush to reach out to Democrats as, for the first time since he assumed the presidency in 2001, the Republican chief executive will be addressing a Congress that is completely controlled by members of the opposition party. But Bush's ridiculously doctrinaire proposals to send more US troops into the Iraq quagmire, undermine the health benefits of unionized workers and renew his exceptionally unpopular and ineffectual No Child Left Behind education initiative are unlikely to resonate with even the most conservative Democrats.

    John Nichols

  • January 22, 2007

    Sarah Olson and the Struggle to Save Journalism

    American journalism is under assault. The Telecommunications Act of 1996,with its encouragement of media consolidation and homogenization, hasprovoked a marked decline in the diversity and quality of broadcast news.The latest round of print media mergers and acquisitions is puttingnewspaper writers out of work at an unprecedented rate. And the people whoown the nation's communications combines are, for the most part, so risk averse and so thoroughlyobsessed with their bottom lines that they are making it impossible for the serious reporters who remain to do their jobs. These are fundamental, structural andrapidly expanding threats.

    Equally serious is the threat posed by a government that, when it is notseeking to deceive a credulous Washington press corps with carefully-wovenspin, overtly threatens and punishes reporters who actually seek in thesedifficult times to practice the craft of journalism.

    But the greatest of all threats comes when journalists fail to defend fellowreporters and editors who have come under direct attack.

    John Nichols

  • Elections January 21, 2007

    Obama’s Challenge

    If Barack Obama is to secure critical grassroots support for his presidential bid, he must be less about celebrity and more about policy.

    John Nichols

  • January 19, 2007

    “Cheney Has Stepped Way Over the Line”

    Even historians who are not particularly sympathetic to Jimmy Carter's presidency share the widely accepted view that Carter's vice president, Walter Mondale, was one of the most engaged and effective occupants the nation's No. 2 job.

    So it means something when Mondale says there are limits to what a Vice President can and should do. And it should mean a lot that Mondale is arguing forcefully that Dick Cheney has exceeded those limits with results that are as practically dangerous as they are politically troubling.

    "I think that Cheney has stepped way over the line," Mondale, who during his tenure as Carter's Vice President served as a senior adviser to the President and a prominent spokesman for Administration policies, explained Friady in an aggressive critique of the current Vice President during the opening session of a three-day University of Georgia conference on Carter's presidency.

    John Nichols


  • Ethical Economics January 18, 2007

    The Fair Trade Democrats

    In an interview with Senator Sherrod Brown, Nichols shows that the new Democrats are pursuing a new trade agenda.

    John Nichols

  • January 17, 2007

    Bush Backs Down on Warrantless Wiretaps

    Does it matter that Democrats took charge of the Senate this month?

    George Bush seems to think so.

    In a letter sent today to Senate Judiciary Committee leaders, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales writes that, "the president has determined not to reauthorize the Terrorist Surveillance Program when the current authorization expires.

    John Nichols

  • 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