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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)


  • March 16, 2007

    “Malfeasance in Office”

    Henry Waxman knows a thing or two about the Constitution, and the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee displayed that knowledge at the opening of Friday's extraordinary morning of testimony by outed CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson.

    While appropriate attention will be paid to the remarks by the woman whose identity was exposed in a pattern of leaks that appears to have been coordinated by Vice President Dick Cheney's office, what Waxman said at the opening of the hearing sent the essential message.

    "It's not our job to determine criminal culpability," the congressman said of the committee he heads, "but it is out job to determine what went wrong and insist on accountability."

    John Nichols

  • March 16, 2007

    McCain? Hagel? No, Gordon Smith Emerges As GOP Maverick

    Forget about John McCain and Chuck Hagel.

    If you are looking for a maverick Republican in the Senate, consider Oregon Senator Gordon Smith.

    Smith made headlines last December when he bitterly denounced the Bush administration's management of the Iraq war on the Senate floor.

    John Nichols

  • March 14, 2007

    How to Handle a Lawless Attorney General

    Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says he is not going anywhere.

    Never mind that he is caught up in the biggest scandal involving a sitting Attorney General since the sordid days of the 192Os.

    Never mind that the scandal that plagues Gonzales involves the same sort of concerns about the politicization of the Department of Justice and the federal bureaucracy that ultimately forced Richard Nixon from office in the 197Os.

    John Nichols

  • March 13, 2007

    Pelosi’s Disastrous Misstep on Iran

    When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her allies in the chamber's Democratic leadership initially accepted that spending legislation designed to outline an Iraq exit strategy should also include a provision barring the president from attacking Iran without congressional approval, they opened up a monumental discussion about presidential war powers.

    As such, the decision by Pelosi and her allies to rewrite their Iraq legislation to exclude the statement regarding the need for congressional approval of any military assault on the neighboring country of Iran sends the worst possible signal to the White House.

    It is not too much to suggest that Pelosi disastrous misstep could haunt her and the Congress for years to come.

    John Nichols

  • March 11, 2007

    Honoring Our Rock and Roll Tom Paine

    "O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth!"

    -- Tom Paine

    "I can relate to Thomas Paine. When he wrote Common Sense, he was trying to stir people up, get them thinking. And he did. Paine's words -- 'These are the times that try men's souls' -- became the battle cry of the American Revolution. I can relate to a person like that, who has this calling and does the work."

    John Nichols

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  • March 10, 2007

    George McGovern to Cheney: Resign

    George McGovern has a word for Vice President Dick Cheney: "Resign."

    Responding to Tuesday's conviction of Cheney's former chief-of-staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and lying to the FBI -- after a trial that revealed Cheney's intimate involvement with a scheme to discredit a critic of the administration's war policies -- the former congressman, senator and presidential candidate said it was time for the vice president to go.

    "What we have learned about how he has conducted himself leaves no doubt that he should be out of office," McGovern says of Cheney. "If he had any respect for the Constitution or the country, he would resign."

    John Nichols


  • March 7, 2007

    Vermont Votes to Impeach Bush/Cheney

    When Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, a Republican with reasonably close ties to President Bush, asked if there was any additional business to be considered at the town meeting he was running in Middlebury, Ellen McKay popped up and proposed the impeachment of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

    The governor was not amused. As moderator of the annual meeting, he tried to suggest that the proposal to impeach -- along with another proposal to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq -- could not be voted on.

    But McKay, a program coordinator at Middlebury College, pressed her case. And it soon became evident that the crowd at the annual meeting shared her desire to hold the president to account.

    John Nichols

  • March 6, 2007

    The Next Mission: Removing a Tyrant

    RUTLAND, Vt. -- Over the weekend, I traveled Vermont with three of the most remarkable defenders of democracy I have met in a long time: former Army Sgt. Drew Cameron, former Marine Cpl. Matt Howard and former Army Sgt. Adrienne Kinne.

    We were on a mission: A mission to end an unjust and horrific war, and a mission to hold to account the men who launched that war.

    What made the experience of appearing in close to a dozen communities with the local Iraq Veterans Against the War campaigners was not that these courageous young vets had chosen to speak so openly and so directly about the reasons why they favor ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq. IVAW members and supporters are speaking up all over this country, more boldly, more aggressively, every day, telling the fundamental truth that Drew Cameron, who served as a field artillery soldier in the 4th Infantry Division, spoke: "Democracy is not taught through the end of a gun."

    John Nichols

  • March 2, 2007

    Vermont Puts Impeachment on the Table

    NEWFANE, Vermont -- Cindy Sheehan and I are traveling Vermont this weekend, stopping in close to a dozen towns from Burlington to Brattleboro, to talk about why we think the president and vice president should be impeached -- and the essential role that Vermonters are playing in the process. We come not to tell the people of Vermont how to vote on impeachment resolutions at two dozen town meetings next week. That would be not just presumptuous but foolish. Frankly, the Vermont voters who have given America George Aiken, Ralph Flanders, Jim Jeffords, Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders do not need any advice from us about how to make political choices.

    Rather, we come to celebrate the wisdom of local activists Dan DeWalt, Ellen Tenney and the thousands of others who have chosen to embrace a Jeffersonian vision of how Americans relate to their federal government, and to take a little of that wisdom back to the rest of the country.

    It was Thomas Jefferson who observed more than two hundred years ago that, "Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic."

    John Nichols