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John Nichols

National Affairs Correspondent

John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, writes about politics for The Nation 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 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 (New Press); a critically acclaimed analysis of the Florida recount fight of 2000, Jews for Buchanan (New Press); and a best-selling biography of former vice president Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President (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, a 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)


  • July 2, 2007

    To the Courts, Then, on Behalf of the Constitution!

    The founder of the Republic, conscious of the excesses that resulted when King George III and his Parliament cooperated, endeavored to put the legislative and executive branches of the United States at odds with one another.

    Jefferson believed: "The concentrating [of the legislative, executive and judicial powers] in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government."

    To combat such despotism, the first democrat said, "The powers of government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by the others."

    John Nichols

  • June 30, 2007

    Another World Is Possible; Another U.S.A. is Necessary

    ATLANTA -- The political discussion in the United States is, for the most part, disappointing -- not merely because it is too ideologically and intellectually narrow but also because it is too backward in focus.

    Instead of imagining what might be, contemporary politicians spend most of their time talking, at best, about treating existing wounds to the body politic and, at worst, about "threats" that no longer exist. In the former category, place all the Democratic and Republican politicians who promise a "new direction" with regard to the Iraq quagmire but never get around to rejecting the neo-conservative -- or more precisely, neo-colonial -- policies that got us into the mess in the first place. In the latter category, place all the partisans who suggest that the problem with our health-care system is too much government involvement -- which is a little like claiming that the problem with a headache is too much aspirin.

    At a certain point, you just want to say: "Get over it! At a point when only one in five Americans think the country is headed in the right direction, isn't it time we changed course?"

    John Nichols

  • June 28, 2007

    Contempt of Congress

    No one was all that surprised when the Bush administration announced Thursday that it would not cooperate with congressional demands for documents and testimony by prominent former officials that would likely confirm this White House's reckless disregard for the rule of law.

    What was surprising, and encouraging, was the decisiveness with which key players in Congress responded.

    After the White House asserted executive privilege in rejecting subpoenas issued by the House and Senate Judiciary committees as part of the ongoing probe of abuses within the Department of Justice, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers wasted no time expressing his sense that a Contempt of Congress citation is in order.

    John Nichols

  • June 27, 2007

    Senate Subpoenas Cheney, White House Documents on Spying

    After putting up with months of stonewalling by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their aides, the Senate Judiciary Committee has issued subpoenas seeking information about internal debates regarding the legality of warrantless wiretapping programs that were promoted by the vice president and authorized by the president.

    Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy today issued subpoenas to the White House and, in particular, to Cheney's office demanding documents relating to the National Security Agency's spying program.

    The fact that a primary target of the subpoenas is Cheney's office confirms that the focus of the committee's investigation of White House collaboration with embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has expanded to include a sharp focus on the role that the vice president played in promoting lawless actions and in pressuring others in the administration to go along with him.

    John Nichols

  • June 27, 2007

    Feingold on Cheney: “I Think He’s Confused.”

    Along with venerable West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, Russ Feingold enjoys the relatively lonely distinction in the current Congress of having demonstrated something more than a passing familiarity with the Constitution that members swear an oath to support and defend.

    So it is good, indeed, that the Wisconsin Democrat chairs the Constitution subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    The fact that Feingold has actually read the nation's essential document prepares him to resolve questions such as the one raised in recent days by Dick Cheney about where the Office of the Vice President can be found in the three branches of the federal government.

    John Nichols

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  • June 25, 2007

    Calling Cheney’s Bluff

    Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel has come up with the right response to Dick Cheney's attempt to suggest that the Office of the Vice President is not part of the executive branch.

    The House Democratic Caucus chairman wants to take the Cheney at his word. Cheney says his office is "not an entity within the executive branch," so Emanuel wants to take away the tens of millions of dollars that are allocated to the White House to maintain it.

    The root of the controversy is in a fight that the vice president has picked with the National Archives, which is charged with keeping tabs on how the offices of the president, the vice president and their appointees handle classified documents.

    John Nichols

  • June 22, 2007

    No Confidence in a Congress that Bends to Bush

    Confidence in Congress has hit an all-time low. A mere 14 percent of Americans tell Gallup pollsters that they have a great deal or quite a lot of faith in the US House and Senate.

    Since Gallup began using the current measure of confidence in Congress in 1973, the worst rating had been the 18 percent figure accorded it in the early years of the 1990s, when the House was being rocked by scandals that would eventually see a number of top Democratic lawmakers rejected in their own party primaries and the "Republican revolution" vote of 1994.

    To give a sense of just how bad things are for Congress, consider this notion: Americans express more confidence in corporate HMOs--the most despised manifestation of a health-care industry that lends itself to all of the scorn heaped upon it by Michael Moore's new film Sicko -- than in their elected representatives at the federal level.

    John Nichols


  • June 18, 2007

    ‘A French Lesson for Republicans’

    American right wingers, led by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, fell in love with France last month. They got excited because the voters of France turned to the right in May and elected Nicolas Sarkozy as their new president. Sarkozy, an urbane secularist who has appointed a leading socialist and one of the world's top human rights advocates to his Cabinet, is hardly an American-style yahoo conservative.

    But Sarkozy has proposed serious assaults on France's social-welfare commitments, and that excited Gingrich and his circle – so much so that the potential Republican presidential contender has recently been writing columns with headlines like "A French Lesson for Republicans."

    "I know this will seem strange to those of us who like to make jokes about the French, but the fact is that there is a great deal to be learned from the victory of Nicolas Sarkozy (a member of the ruling party) in last weekend's "change" election in France -- and Republicans had better learn it," Gingrich was busy telling his fellow partisans in May.

    John Nichols