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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)


  • July 22, 2006

    Condoleezza “False Promise” Rice

    As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice goes through the charade of meeting with international leaders to discuss the crisis in the Middle East – while showing her true sentiments with a firm rejection of the "false promise" of a ceasefire – observers of the carnage might reasonably ask: Is there anyone in Washington who wants the killing to stop?

    In fact, there are a few dozen brave members of Congress who have leant their names to a call for halting the violence and allowing diplomacy to replace the bombs and bullets that are ripping apart whole regions of Lebanon, Israel and Palestine.

    Twenty-four members of the House of Representatives have endorsed House Continuing Resolution 450: "Calling upon the President to appeal to all sides in the current crisis in the Middle East for an immediate cessation of violence and to commit United States diplomats to multi-party negotiations with no preconditions."

    John Nichols

  • July 20, 2006

    Lebanon In Crisis; Bush, Most Democrats In Denial

    A little more than a week of Israeli bombing and American neglect has created a humanitarian crisis in Lebanon. In a country that just months ago was being written up in travel magazines as one of the world's next great tourist destinations, and where a fragile democracy was beginning finally to define itself as something real, hundreds of civilians now lay dead; thousands have been injured; airports, ports, bridges and roads have been destroyed; and an estimated 500,000 men, women and children have been forced to flee their homes.

    Officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross say they are "extremely concerned" that the situation in Lebanon is degenerating into chaos and dysfunction.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is expressing horror at what is becoming of Lebanon.

    John Nichols

  • July 19, 2006

    Republicans Reject Ralph Reed’s Hypocrisy

    For those who still claim that the Jack Abramoff scandal will not "play" politically, the Republican voters of Georgia beg to differ.

    Christian right leader Ralph Reed's plan to begin his climb of the American political ladder as lieutenant governor of Georgia was thwarted in Tuesday's Republican primary.

    Links to convicted influence-peddler Abramoff did Reed in.

    John Nichols

  • July 17, 2006

    Ralph Reed Runs For President, er, Lt. Governor

    Tuesday's primary election in Georgia will decide whether former Christian Coalition commander Ralph Reed has fooled enough home-state Republicans to win the party's nomination for lieutenant governor.

    Reed, who made millions of dollars exploiting his reputation as "Mr. Moral Values" to help GOP influence peddler Jack Abramoff defend casino gambling interests and corporations exploiting sweatshop labor, is so compromised that some Democrats hope he wins the nomination, since they think they can beat him in November. The Democratic desire to run against Reed in November was heightened by the primary-eve announcement that a Texas Indian tribe had filed a civil fraud lawsuit against Reed and others, claiming that Reed conspired with Abramoff to shut down the tribe's casino while hiding the fact that they were in the pay of another tribe and competing casinos.

    But, as Atlanta's smart alternative weekly newspaper, Creative Loafing, noted in its endorsement of Reed's primary rival, state Senator Casey Cagle: "Careful what you wish for."

    John Nichols

  • July 16, 2006

    Friends Don’t Let Friends Ruin Lebanon

    Congressional "Friends of Israel" are busy making noises about the "need" for the United States to provide that Middle Eastern land with full support as it assaults its neighbors.

    But no genuine friend of Israel can be happy with what is being done in that country's name by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his misguided followers.

    Israel's attack on Lebanon, which has already killed and wounded hundreds and destroyed much of that fragile democracy's infrastructure--including airports, seaports, bridges and roads--has done nothing to make Israel safer or more secure from threats posed by the militant Islamic organization Hezbollah. Indeed, the terrorist group's attacks on targets in northern Israel have become more brazen--and deadly--since Israel began striking Lebanon.

    John Nichols

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  • July 14, 2006

    The Last of the “Sewer Socialists”

    "There is always a charge that socialism does not fit human nature. We've encountered that for a long time. Maybe that's true. But can't people be educated? Can't people learn to cooperate with each other? Surely that must be our goal, because the alternative is redolent with war and poverty and all the ills of the world."

    -- Frank Zeidler

    .

    John Nichols

  • July 3, 2006

    Joe Lieberman’s Connecticut Problem

    What was the "soundbite line" from the press conference where Senator Joe Lieberman announced that he may cut and run to an "unaffiliated" ballot line if Connecticut Democrats don't renominate him in August? That's easy:

    "I have loyalties that are greater than those to my party."

    That is an honorable-sounding line.

    John Nichols

  • July 1, 2006

    Jefferson’s 4th of July

    On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the approval and signing of theDeclaration of Independence, the document's author was an 83-year-old formergovernor, vice president and president. Yet, what Thomas Jefferson was mostknown for in 1826 was his role in crafting the founding vision of the UnitedStates.

    This was the recognition that Jefferson welcomed. Indeed, when he diedon that 50th anniversary, he was buried on the grounds of his Monticelloestate beneath a stone that made no mention of the political offices he hadheld. Rather, it read:

    HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON

    John Nichols

  • July 1, 2006

    Democracy Demands Freedom of Information

    Forty years ago this week, on July 4, 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act.

    The choice of July 4 for the signing ceremony was no coincidence.

    The signing of the Freedom of Information Act represented the realization of the promise of self governance that may have been born on July 4, 1776, butthat was never fully realized until 190 years later.

    John Nichols

  • July 1, 2006

    House Tally: Tyranny 227, Freedom 183

    There is no small measure of irony in the fact that the final vote by the U.S. House of Representatives before leaving for an extended Fourth of July break involved a basic question of American freedom – and there is no small measure of tragedy in the fact that the majority of House members took a position closer to that of King George III than the American revolutions who will be celebrated next Tuesday.

    The question so basic that it should not have produced a division at all: Should the United States have a free press that challenges and exposes government wrongdoing, or should the United States have a subservient press that "cooperates" with government to report the "news" in a manner that pleases those in power?

    Yet, in a flurry of last-minute procedural votes on House resolutions rebuking the news media for reporting leaks about Bush administration schemes to spy on Americans produced a variety of results, the Congress consistently came down on the side of a subservient press that performs stenography to power.

    John Nichols