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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 Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America, forthcoming from Nation Books this fall, as well as 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 11, 2007

    Michael Moore v. CNN

    The frequently ridiculous Dr. Sanjay Gupta and the always ridiculous Wolf Blitzer tried to take apart filmmaker Michael Moore case against the failed U.S. health care system this week on CNN's "The Situation Room."

    They lost.


    John Nichols

  • July 11, 2007

    A “Family Values” Headache for Senate GOP

    Republicans are already facing a lot of trouble going into the 2008 competition for control of the Senate. And, now, they've got a prostitution problem -- invloving Louisiana Senator David "Family Values" Vitter -- that could cost the party another seat.

    After losing control of the Senate in 2006, Republicans have to turn around and defend all the seats the party's candidates won in the party's 2002 sweep. With President Bush's approval numbers in the tank, and with the most of the senators tied by their votes to an unpopular war, that won't be easy.

    The GOP's got to defend a number of incumbents who are vulnerable because of their closeness to the Bush administration -- Maine's Susan Collins, Minnesota's Norm Coleman, New Hampshire's John Sununu. Several of their "secure" incumbents are suddenly looking less secure because of ethical scandals, including senior senators Ted Stevens of Alaska and New Mexico's Pete Domenici. And their newest senator, Wyoming's John Barrasso, was appointed rather than elected and must face voters in a western state where the Democrats are showing previous unimagined signs of life.

    John Nichols

  • July 9, 2007

    Bush Erects Another Stonewall Against Accountability

    Barely a week after he commuted the 30-month sentence of a former White House insider who was convicted of engaging in felonious attempts to thwart investigations of administration wrongdoing, President Bush has erected another barrier to getting to the truth about whether he and his aides have knowingly violated the law.

    In a letter sent Monday to the Michigan Congressman John Conyers, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, and Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who heads the parallel Senate panel, Bush invoked executive privilege to deny requests by the committees for testimony from former White House counsel Harriet Miers and former White House political director Sara Taylor.

    Bush's lawyers suggested that Miers and Taylor, both central players in the scandal that has emerged over attempts by the administration to politicize federal investigations and prosecutions, might speak with members of Congress about the firings of US Attorneys who did not go along with the administration's agenda. But the administration says that can only happen in closed-door, off-the-record "interviews" that would not be given under oath.

    John Nichols

  • July 8, 2007

    An Old Radical Response to a Newly Radical Court

    As the Bush-Cheney administration enters its final 18 months, the White House is getting competition from the U.S. Supreme Court for status as greatest threat to the Constitution and the nation for which it is supposed to serve as a blueprint.

    In recent weeks, the court headed by Bush-appointee John Roberts has attacked the sort of individual free speech that the Bill or Rights was written to protect while expanding the ability of corporations to warp and dominate the political debate. It has rolled back basic civil rights protections, especially in the area of public education. And it opened the way for the renewal of the sort of business combinations that the anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws of the past century were designed to prevent.

    In other words, the court has gotten just about everything wrong -- so wrong that its rational members have begun to express disbelief with regard to the extremism of the new activist majority.

    John Nichols

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  • July 4, 2007

    Tom Paine’s 4th of July Advice for Congress

    The Fourth of July ought surely, and above all else, to be a celebration of Tom Paine's resolve.

    As the American colonies moved tentatively toward the fateful declaration of independence in those middle years of the 177Os, it was Paine who urged them to embrace the revolutionary spirit of that enlightened age and to get on with the cutting of the colonial bond.

    "The cause of America," Paine wrote," is in great measure the cause of all mankind."

    John Nichols

  • July 3, 2007

    Bush: Pardon for Libby Remains on the Table

    Prospective Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson and a few others on the extreme fringe of the lawless right have complained that George Bush was insufficiently generous to I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby when the president commuted the 30-month prison sentence of the convicted felon who had served as his counselor and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.

    Not to worry.

    Bush says he may have more favors in the works for Libby, whose deep involvement in the plotting to discredit former Ambassador Joe Wilson by outing his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, as a CIA operative continues to make him a man who could shed a good deal of light on the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush-Cheney White House.

    John Nichols

  • 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