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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)


  • 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



  • February 26, 2007

    Announcing Al Gore

    No, Al Gore did not make any major announcements Sunday night. But he certainly did not still speculation about the prospect that he might yet enter the 2008 presidential race.

    The former vice president was never going to use the Academy Awards ceremony as a launching pad for a third presidential bid. In fact, no one familiar with the man could have imagined him even pondering such a stunt.

    The senator's son who has always been a little too conscious of proper protocols would never play games with something so consequential as his last chance to be seriously considered for the Oval Office. He was at the ceremony to join the crew from "An Inconvenient Truth," as they collected the inevitable Oscar for best documentary.

    John Nichols

  • February 24, 2007

    Cheney’s New Front in War on Reality

    When the Bush administration was asking in 2002 for Congressional approval of a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, Vice President Cheney told the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars that Saddam Hussein had "resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons." He then claimed that, "Armed with an arsenal of these weapons of terror, and seated atop 10 percent of the world's oil reserves, Saddam Hussein could then be expected to seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of the world's energy supplies, directly threaten American friends throughout the region, and subject the United States or any other nation to nuclear blackmail."

    As it turned out, Cheney was proven wrong.

    Several months later, just prior to the launch of the war he had conjured, the vice president appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" and said of Saddam Hussein, "We know he has reconstituted these (chemical weapons) programs. We know he's out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons, and we know that he has a long-standing relationship with various terrorist groups, including the al-Qaeda organization."

    John Nichols

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  • February 22, 2007

    Cheney: Thanks for Cutting and Running

    Vice President Dick Cheney, keeping as far from federal prosecutors as possible these days, arrived in Japan Wednesday to officially thank that country for supporting the Bush-Cheney administration's invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    What made the trip absurd was that Cheney was campaigning for a war that he wanted, plotted and defended with a disregard not just for the laws of the land but for reality. And what made it ludicrous was that he was thanking an ally that is not exactly in the alliance.

    Japan was a part of the original "coalition of the willing" -- more precisely referred to as the "coalition of the coerced" – that signed on for the quagmire run.

    John Nichols

  • February 20, 2007

    Chris Dodd, D-Constitution

    No one is going to mistake Chris Dodd for a frontrunner in the race for the Democratic presidential nod. The senator from Connecticut is running fourth in the latest poll of voters in his home state. And, while the senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may be a well-respected man about Washington, he is rapidly learning that doesn't count for a whole lot in Keokuk or Dixville Notch.

    But Dodd has hit on a campaign theme that is worthy of attention.

    He has in recent days made the defense of the Constitution and the restoration of the rule of law central to his outreach to voters.

    John Nichols

  • February 19, 2007

    Clinton Would Rather Be Wrong Than President

    "If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from."

    So says New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who appears to be campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination on the theme that she would rather be wrong than president.

    Perhaps, in this post-modern moment, Clinton is on to something. Henry Clay, a frequently unsuccessful contender for the Oval Office in the first half of the 19th century, suggested that he would rather be right than president and he lost. Maybe Clinton believes that by reversing the scenario, she can achieve the victory that eluded Clay.

    John Nichols

  • February 16, 2007

    A Last Battler Against Joe McCarthy and His “Ism”

    The arc of history is long, and those who bend it over particularly wide stretches to time sometimes outlive memories of the most dramatic turns.

    Such is the case with Thomas Fairchild, the last man to mount a serious electoral challenge to Joe McCarthy and the "ism" he spawned, who has died this week at age 94.

    Fairchild's rendevous with destiny played out a very long time ago? In deed, on the day of the vote in which Fairchild sought to prevent the reelection of the red-baiting Republican senator from Wisconsin in 1952, afternoon newspapers carried accounts of aged Civil War veterans casting ballots.

    John Nichols