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John Nichols

National Affairs Correspondent

John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, writes about politics for The Nation magazine 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 the documentaries 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 (The New Press); a critically acclaimed analysis of the Florida recount fight of 2000, Jews for Buchanan (The New Press); and a best-selling biography of Vice President Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President (The 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, the nation’s 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 1, 2006

    Support the Troops? Start by Listening to Them

    According to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, a new poll shows that 72 percent of U.S. troops serving in Iraq favor complete withdrawal from that country within a year.

    Despite the claims of the armchair strategists in the White House and its amen corner in the media, who suggest that calls for withdrawal represent a failure to "support the troops," the troops themselves are ready to come home.

    Only 23 percent of the soldiers surveyed in January and February for the Zogby International/Le Moyne College poll echoed the administration line that the U.S. presence in Iraq should be maintained for "as long as needed."

    John Nichols

  • February 28, 2006

    Clinic Clash : Right to Protest v. Right to Choose

    Ruling on an issue that had divided progressive groups for the better part of two decades, the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an 8-0 decision that federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to ban demonstrations outside abortion clinics.

    The decision is being portrayed as a victory for anti-choice groups such as Operation Rescue and the Pro-Life Action Network. That is surely the case, as the court has conclusively rejected arguments for an on-and-off nationwide injunction that had been used to prevent anti-abortion groups from protesting outside clinics in a manner that, by all reasonable evidence, was intended to prevent the clinics from operating.

    Effectively, the high court has rejected arguments, formulated by lawyers for the National Organization for Women in the 1980s, that civil provisions of the 1970 Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which was adopted as a tool to combat organized crime, and the Hobbs Act, an older anti-extortion measure, could be used to bar protests by groups that clearly intend to prevent clinics from operating.

    John Nichols

  • February 28, 2006

    BMD (Bike of Mass Destruction)

    Today's question: What's more dangerous -- hunting with Dick Cheney or bike riding with George Bush?

    For background, we offer this report from Murdo MacLeod, the able political correspondent for Edinburgh's Scotland on Sunday newspaper:

    US LEADER CRASHED BY TRYING TO 'PEDAL, WAVE AND SPEAK AT THE SAME TIME'

    John Nichols

  • February 27, 2006

    State Parties Say: “Impeach!”

    The decision of the Democratic Party in rural Walworth County to call for the impeachment of President Bush, which Katrina vanden Heuvel recounts on this blog, is an encouraging one, indeed. If there is talk of impeachment in Walworth County, a bastion of Badger State conservatism where the president personally campaigned last fall and won almost 60 percent of the vote, then this movement is spreading much further than most national Democratic leaders have dared imagine.

    Indeed, in Wisconsin, it has spread far beyond Walworth County. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin overwhelmingly endorsed impeachment of Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at its state convention last June.

    Wisconsin Democrats aren't alone on this front. Last month, after the warrantless wiretapping scandal blew up, the executive committee of the North Carolina Democratic Party backed a resolution urging the state's representatives in Washington to support efforts to impeach Bush, Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

    John Nichols

  • February 27, 2006

    Stem-Cell Hypocrisy

    How serious are Republican -- and some Democratic -- politicians who go on and on about the need to restrict embryonic stem-cell research?

    Not very.

    Stem cell research, which scientists believe holds the promise of cures or treatments for everything from diabetes to Alzheimer's disease, is popular with the American people. But it is unpopular with the faction of the anti-choice movement that tends to be most active in Republican primaries. So a lot of prominent Republican politicians tip their hat to the "pro-life" crowd by backing so-called "anti-cloning" bills that purport to restrict mad science but that are really written to prevent promising research projects from going forward.

    John Nichols

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  • February 27, 2006

    Bob Hagan’s Modest Proposal

    Bob Hagan has for decades been one of Ohio's most progressive-minded and intellectually adventurous legislators. So it comes as no surprise that the Democratic state senator from Youngstown would blaze a new policy-making trail with a plan to reform adoption laws.

    Hagan's proposal: Ban Republicans from adopting children.

    In an email dispatched to fellow legislators last week, the senator announced his plan to "introduce legislation in the near future that would ban households with one or more Republican voters from adopting children or acting as foster parents."

    John Nichols

  • February 24, 2006

    “It is a Dick Cheney World Out There…”

    Bill Moyers is hitting the road in California for an eight-city speaking tour to raise issues of money and politics. And, as usual, he's got a lot to say about the withering state of our democracy.

    But how could anyone think that the Texas-born observer of the American Zeitgeist would avoid comment on the vice presidential "peppering" spree that recently took place in Moyers' home state.

    Moyers promises to leave "the rich threads of humor to pluck from the hunting incident in Texas" to The Daily Show's Jon Stewart. But the man who once served as press secretary for former President Lyndon Johnson is intrigued by the backstory of Dick Cheney's trevails that is rich with insight and righteous indignation about what has become of our politics and our public life.

    John Nichols

  • February 24, 2006

    Why’s a Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel on the “No-Fly” List?

    The federal officials who are busy assuring Americans that they've got their act together when it comes to managing port security are not inspiring much confidence with their approach to airline security.

    When Dr. Robert Johnson, a heart surgeon who did his active duty with the U.S. Army Reserve before being honorably discharged with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, arrived at the Syracuse airport near his home in upstate New York last month for a flight to Florida, he was told he could not travel.

    Why? Johnson was told that his name had been added to the federal "no-fly" list as a possible terror suspect.

    John Nichols

  • February 23, 2006

    L’Affair Dubai Spins Beyond Satire

    The Onion may have grounds for legal action against the Bush administration for unfair competition.

    After all, the administration is supposed to make its best effort to manage the affairs of state in a responsible manner. The Onion, a weekly humor publication that plays the news for laughs much as John Stewart's "Daily Show" does, is supposed to satirize the inevitable mistakes, missteps and misdeeds.

    But the month of February has seen the administration stealing The Onion's thunder on a regular basis.

    John Nichols

  • Politics February 23, 2006

    The Better Choice in Ohio

    Sherrod Brown is the right candidate to be the Democratic Senate nominee in Ohio because he has the support of grassroots voters whose energy is essential to win.

    John Nichols