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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)


  • April 3, 2007

    Bush v. Constitution… Again

    George Bush's presidency has been distinguished by nothing so much as his consistent disregard for the Constitution. He wages war without required Congressional declarations. He orders spying that is in direct conflict with the 4th Amendment. He permits tortures and extraordinary renditions that violate the 8th Amendment,

    Above all, the President disregards the basic requirement of shared governance. He shows little respect for the separation of powers, let alone for the system of checks and balances that requires Congress to participate in domestic and foreign-policy decision making.

    Bush's anti-Constitutionalism was on full display today, as he echoed claims by his aides that it is somehow inappropriate for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, to travel to Syria--a county the White House has tried, with almost no success, to isolate from the international community.

    John Nichols

  • April 2, 2007

    (Genuine) Conservatives Say: Gonzales Must Go

    Memo to Fox Fanatics and All Other Defenders of Alberto Gonzales: Your Partisanship is Showing.

    Fox News and its talk radio echoes, led by Rush Limbaugh, are among the staunchest defenders of the scandal-plagued Attorney General.

    But that defense is not based on conservative values or ideas. Rather, it is a "my-president-right-or-wrong" rallying around an embattled Bush administration. This is old-school, maximum-leader politics, of a sort that places loyalty to a man over loyalty to the truth or to the Republic.

    John Nichols

  • March 27, 2007

    Getting Serious About the “I” Word

    Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough had me on his MSNBC show tonight to talk about impeachment.

    It was smart, civil discussion that treated the prospect of impeaching the president as a serious matter.

    Scarborough took the lead in suggesting that Bush's biggest problem might be that Republicans in the House and Senate who -- fearful of the threat Bush poses to their political survival -- do not appear to be rallying 'round the president. The host's sentiments were echoed by two other guests, columnist Mike Barnicle and Salon's Joan Walsh.

    John Nichols

  • March 26, 2007

    Republicans Detect “Cloud” Over Gonzales

    What do the following statements about Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- the embattled presidential appointee at the center of a growing scandal over the firing of U.S. Attorneys who refused to politicize their prosecutions --have in common?

    1. "The Justice Department has bungled this attorney thing. There's no question about it. There's no excuse for it."

    2. [You] cannot have the nation's chief law enforcement officer with a cloud hanging over his credibility."

    John Nichols

  • March 22, 2007

    The Elizabeth Edwards Campaign

    John Edwards is still in the running.

    But his campaign will be different from here on out.

    On Thursday morning, as word spread that his wife, Elizabeth, has suffered an extremely serious recurrence of the cancer that struck her in 2004, there was broad speculation that Edwards would suspend his run for the 2OO8 Democratic nomination.

    John Nichols

  • The stakes are higher now than ever. Get The Nation in your inbox.


  • March 22, 2007

    The Decider is Delusional

    Is George Bush delusional?

    No, that question is not an attack on his intelligence.

    Nor is it a criticism of some bizarre new position he has taken with regard to the affairs of state--although, as it happens, he has.

    John Nichols

  • March 21, 2007

    Kucinich: “I’m Talking About Impeachment”

    Nancy Pelosi's attempt to keep impeachment off the table has already been upset outside the District of Columbia, as grassroots campaigns in states across the country have begun raising the prospect of Constitutionally sanctioning President Bush, Vice President Cheney and members of their administration. More than three dozen Vermont town meetings endorsed impeachment resolutions in early March, and legislators in Vermont, Washington state and New Mexico have mustered efforts to dispatch articles of impeachment from state Capitols to the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Now, Pelosi's moves to silence this discussion in the Congress are being upset by a fellow Democrat, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

    Last week, after meeting with pro-impeachment activists, Kucinich delivered a speech on the House floor in which he said:

    John Nichols

  • March 19, 2007

    Congress Can Make This The Last Anniversary

    The US death toll in Iraq now stands at more than 3,200.

    The first 3,000 of those deaths can reasonably be said to be the responsibility of President Bush. He, Vice President Cheney and their aides manipulated intelligence in order to frame a case for invading and occupying Iraq. As their deceits began to be exposed, they sought to punish those--such as former Ambassador Joe Wilson--who tried to tell the truth to Congress and the American people.

    When that truth became clear, the people elected a new Congress. Last November, Democrats were given control of the US House and Senate. Their mandate was as simple as it was clear: Bring the troops home in a smart, responsible and rapid fashion. And they had the ability to do so, as the Constitution clearly gives Congress the authority to use the power of the purse and other means to conclude an unwise and unnecessary war.

    John Nichols

  • March 16, 2007

    For Anti-War Democrats: The Toughest Choice

    The House Appropriations Committee deliberations on whether to advance an Iraq War spending bill that includes provisions seeking to extract U.S. troops from the conflict by next year points up the challenge faced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the coming week.

    Pelosi, who voted against authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq, has been clear about her desire to bring the war to a conclusion. As Pelosi said this week: "Any U.S. military engagement must be judged on three counts -- whether it makes our country safer, our military stronger or the region more stable. The war in Iraq fails on all three scores."

    Yet, to Pelosi's view, the only way to do that is by providing the money for continuance of the war over the course of at least another year. This is a painful political calculation, she says, arguing that the neither the Democratic caucus not the full House is not prepared to back a quick exit strategy.

    John Nichols

  • 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