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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)

  • October 16, 2005

    George Bush Gives Up

    George Bush has given up.

    We should have seen this coming. During the first debate of the fall 2004 campaign, a weary and frustrated Bush repeatedly referred to how the presidency had proven to be a difficult job for him. Again and again, the commander-in-chief responded to questions about the missteps, mistakes and misdeeds of his first term by pleading that, "It's hard work."

    The guy was clearly overwhelmed a year ago. So it can't really come as much of surprise that he has thrown in the towel.

    John Nichols

  • October 10, 2005

    Anti-Bush in the Afterlife

    Sally Baron is not alone in the afterlife.

    The Wisconsin woman whose August, 2003, obituary created a nation sensation with Americans who had come to resent George W. Bush's disreputable presidency -- it included the line "Memorials in her honor can be made to any organization working for the removal of President Bush," inspiring t-shirts, badges and, as of this week, more than 980,000 unique references on the Internet -- will be pleased to make the acquaintance of one Theodore Roosevelt Heller.

    Heller, who died last week in his native Chicago was recalled in yesterday's editions of the Chicago Tribune with an obituary that read:

    John Nichols

  • October 6, 2005

    A Mess of George Bush’s Own Making

    It is fair to say that a good many Americans perceive George W. Bush to be a doltish incompetent who does not know the first thing about fighting terrorism.

    But, whatever the president's actual level of competence may be, it is now clear that he has even less respect for the intelligence of the American people than his critics have for his cognitive capabilities.

    As the president struggles this week to make a case for the staying the course that leads deeper into the quagmire that is Iraq, he is, remarkably, selling a warmed over version of the misguided take on terrorism that he peddled before this disasterous mission was launched.

    John Nichols

  • September 30, 2005

    Indicting the President’s Policies

    In Washington, where it is exceeding difficult to get the political players or the press corps to pay attention to more than one story at once, no0 one would suggest that it was "smart politics" to deliver a major address on the day that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay being forced to step aside after being indicted on criminal conspiracy charges.

    But sometimes the work of Washington involves more than political games.

    Sometimes it involves life and death questions of national policy. And it is particularly frustrating in such moments to see vital statements about the nation's future get lost in the rush to discuss the scandal du jour. To be sure, the well-deserved indictment of DeLay merited the attention it received. But the indictment of President Bush's "stay-the-course" approach with regard to the Iraq War, which was delivered on the same day by U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, should have gotten a lot more attention than it did.

    John Nichols


  • September 28, 2005

    A Texas Lawman Indicts Tom DeLay

    Local lawmen don't usually involve themselves in the affairs of state. It is their job to indict crooks and put them behind bars.

    But when the affairs of state are corrupted by crooks, sometimes only a local prosecutor has the skills -- and the sense of duty -- that are required to address the crisis.

    That explains why Wednesday's criminal conspiracy indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the Texas Republican who essentially runs the Congress, came not from Washington but from Austin.

    John Nichols

  • September 27, 2005

    Bush Tries on the Cardigan

    "Our energy problems have the same cause as our environmental problems -- wasteful use of resources. Conservation helps us solve both at once." -- Jimmy Carter, 1977

    Despite the quagmire in Iraq, his bumbling response to Hurricane Katrina and mounting concerns about the U.S. economy, President Bush has not yet delivered his "malaise" speech.

    But as times get tough, Bush is borrowing a page from former President Jimmy Carter and becoming the nation's top pitchman for conservation. That's a bold move for a conservative Republican, as Bush's ideological compatriots have spent the better part of three decades dissing Carter for urging Americans to sacrifice rather than put the pedal to the medal.

    John Nichols

  • September 26, 2005

    “Well-Intentioned”–And Arrested (UPDATED)

    Amid chants of "Arrest Bush," hundreds of antiwar activists participated in a peaceful but boisterous sit-in outside the White House Monday, as part of a day of protests that saw Cindy Sheehan and others taken into custody.

    Sheehan, the California woman whose 24-year-old son Casey was killed in the Iraq War, drew international attention in August when she camped out near George Bush's ranchette in Crawford, Texas, as part of an effort to secure a face-to-face meeting with the President. Over the weekend, the woman whom Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Lynn Woolsey, D-California, praised for "waking up America" brought her demand to Washington, where she participated in the mass demonstration against the war on Saturday.

    On Monday, more than 1,000 people gathered in Lafayette Park across from the White House. Code Pink activists stretched a huge "Mothers Say No to War" banner across Pennsylvania Avenue, and early in the afternoon several hundred members of the crowd, including Sheehan, approached the northwest entrance of the executive residence. Holding a picture of her son in his US Army uniform, Sheehan again requested an opportunity to talk with the President about the Iraq War.

    John Nichols

  • September 24, 2005

    “Victory Means Exit Strategy”

    It's anti-war quiz time.

    Who made the following statement:

    "I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now."

    John Nichols