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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)

  • May 7, 2007

    Voting About Issues That Matter

    EDINBURGH -- The Scottish rock group The Proclaimers sang a quarter century ago: "I cannot understand why we let someone else rule our land."

    Last week's elections for the Scottish parliament suggest that a good many Scots are struggling with the same concern.

    For the first time in history, the Scottish Nationalist Party [SNP], which has campaigned for the better part of a century on an independence platform, is the largest party and its leader, Alex Salmond, is expected to head the new government.

    John Nichols

  • May 6, 2007

    Not Quite a French Poodle

    PARIS -- During the campaign for president of France, Socialist Sègolene Royal's supporters derided conservative front runner Nicolas Sarkozy as "an American neo-conservative with a French passport."

    The line Royal and her backers pushed as she struggled to close the gap in the final sprint to catch up with Sarkozy was that the conservative would abandon France's traditional stance as an independent player on the international stage and make the nation little more than an American puppet-state.

    The charge was always something of stretch. Sarkozy may have been more comfortable than Royal when it came to speaking of "friendship" with the US, but he always explained that friendship did not require "submission."

    John Nichols

  • May 4, 2007

    In France, Running Against Bush

    PARIS -- American elections do not usually turn on the question of how the candidates for president propose to relate to foreign countries.

    But elections in other countries often feature debates about how potential presidents or prime ministers might relate to the U.S.

    That is certainly the case in France where the two contenders in today's presidential contest have taken distinctly different stances with regard to whether France should maintain or alter what are now relatively strained relations with the U.S.

    John Nichols

  • April 30, 2007

    “Tell Them We Blew It”

    The rest of the world does not hate the United States. For the most part, other countries and their peoples are extraordinarily generous and supportive of the U.S., even if they may object to our president and his military misadventures.

    Yet, if the rest of the world does not hate us, surely they must have a hard time figuring this country out.

    After Hurricane Katrina struck in the late summer of 2OO5, countries around the world rushed to aid the U.S. In all, they offered more than $854 million in cash and oil supplies that were to be sold to raise money for the relief efforts.

    John Nichols

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  • April 28, 2007

    Spell It Out: “I-M-P-E-A-C-H!”

    In January, Brooklyn's Jacob Park made an audacious proposal to the loose coalition of groups that has been campaigning to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

    They should pick a date, say April 28, and encourage activists across the country to spell out the word "I-M-P-E-A-C-H" on beaches, highway overpasses, the sides of buildings, downtown street corners and anywhere else where Americans might get the message they can and should be about business of applying the Constitutional remedy to a lawless administration.

    "George Bush and Dick Cheney have lied the nation into a war of aggression, are spying in open violation of the law, and have sanctioned the use of torture," declares Park's ambitious website. "These are high crimes and misdemeanors that demand accountability. Since Congress doesn't seem to get it, on April 28 Americans from Miami, Florida to North Pole, Alaska, are going to spell it out for them: IMPEACH!"

    John Nichols

  • April 26, 2007

    McCain, Kissinger and America as a Client State

    On his way to formally announcing his latest bid for the White House, John McCain stopped to consult with the most high-profile supporter of his campaign to become the oldest first-term president in American history.

    Perhaps it was a desire to look young and fresh by comparison that led McCain to pose for pictures in New York with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

    But the image of the two unreconstructed Cold Warriors giggling with one another about some inside joke -- a whispered rendition of the senator's "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran" song, perhaps -- did nothing to inspire confidence.

    John Nichols

  • April 25, 2007

    Bill Moyers and the Fight for American Journalism

    Bill Moyers is not the first American to ask with regard to the media coverage of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq: "How did the mainstream press get it so wrong?"

    The man who has been a White House press secretary, newspaper publisher, author and television news program host is not alone in wondering: "How did the evidence disputing (Bush administration claims and intimations regarding) the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the link between Saddam Hussein to 9-11 continue to go largely unreported?"

    But Moyers has done something that most Americans have not had the time, the resources or the contacts to do, and that is answer the fundamental questions about the failure of print, broadcast and cable news outlets to cut through the spin and give the American people the truth about the Bush administration's unwarranted rush to war.

    John Nichols

  • April 23, 2007

    Impeaching Cheney: Step One

    That Vice President Dick Cheney is the ripest target for impeachment in the Bush White House is beyond debate.

    Cheney was far more aggressive that President Bush in peddling manipulated -- or, to use a more precise term, "fantastical" -- intelligence before the US invaded Iraq. And, once the war began, Cheney promoted the illusion that a connection had been found between Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network so recklessly that Bush, himself, was finally forced to correct his errant vice president. That puts Cheney at odds with the checks and balances requirements of the Constitution, and with the oath he swore to obey that document's demands.

    Cheney personally coordinated efforts to attack former Ambassador Joe Wilson, and Wilson's wife Valerie Plame, after the veteran diplomat revealed that the administration had cooked up a "case" for attacking Iraq that was in conflict with information that had been made available to the White House. That is an abuse of Cheney position similar to the ones that the House Judiciary Committee cited when voted overwhelmingly for the third article of impeachment against then-President Richard Nixon.

    John Nichols

  • April 22, 2007

    A Race Worth Watching for France’s Presidency

    French voters have set up a race worth watching for one of the highest-profile presidencies on the planet. A pair of relatively young and dynamic candidates, conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Segolene Royal, led Sunday's first-round voting and will face one another in a May 6 run-off vote that is expected to draw an extremely high turnout.

    Sarkozy goes into the run-off race ahead. But serious observers of the French political landscape caution against counting Royal, whose slow-starting campaign surged in the final days before Sunday's vote, out in a clash of ideological and personal contrasts.

    Though Sarkozy is a good deal more liberal than many American Democrats, he is by European standards a man of the right. And Royal, the first woman to make it into a second-round race for the French presidency, is anything but a radical.

    John Nichols