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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)

  • December 14, 2006

    Health Scare, Democracy Scare

    South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson, reportedly recovering after brain surgery Wednesday, reminds Americans of one of the most troublingly undemocratic aspects of this country's uneven and often dysfunctional political process.

    If Johnson is incapacitated, the decision about how to fill his seat will not be made by the voters of South Dakota but by one man: the state's Republican governor. And if, as is expected, that governor were to appoint a fellow Republican, control of the upper chamber of the Congress would turn on his whim.

    Johnson, a Democrat who is in his second term, became disoriented during a conference call with reporters Wednesday. The normally sharp 59-year-old began stuttering in his responses to questions. He seemed to make a comeback, and returned to his Washington office. There, he appeared again to be sick and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

    John Nichols

  • December 11, 2006

    ‘Impeachment is Not Optional’

    After the death of her soldier son in Iraq, and after it became clear that the misguided policies that put her boy in harm's way would not be changed, a then little-known woman named Cindy Sheehan wrote a letter to the man responsible for those policies: George Bush.

    In the letter, she told the president, "I will make it my life's work to see that you are impeached." And so she has, first by taking her protests against the war to the roads outside Bush's Crawford,Texas, ranchette, and then to cities across the country to declare that Congress has a fundamental responsibility to hold this president and vice president to account.

    When tens of thousands of Americans participated Sunday in rallies, forums and teach-ins organized by the coalition and its allies to say that they want impeachment "on the table" for the new Congress, I joined Sheehan in New York at one of the largest of the gatherings.

    John Nichols

  • December 6, 2006

    FCC Chair Schemes to Undermine Net Neutrality

    The Federal Communications Commission is supposed to be made up of five independent members who serve in the public interest.

    But FCC chair Kevin Martin, a Bush White House retainer who reportedly entertains notions of running for the governorship of his native North Carolina with a campaign war chest full of telecommunications-industry contributions, is now attacking the basic structures of the FCC in order to deliver for the corporations he hopes will someday be his political benefactors.

    Martin has ordered the commission's lawyers to come up with a scheme that would force another Republican commissioner, Robert McDowell, to "unrecuse" himself from a voting on a massive merger between telecommunications giants AT&T and BellSouth.

    John Nichols


  • Economic Policy December 4, 2006

    The ‘Seattle Senators’

    Newly elected advocates of fair trade in the House and Senate could reverse the free-trade absolutism of the Clinton and Bush years.

    John Nichols

  • 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