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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)

  • Congress May 5, 2005

    Congress Tunes In

    Chastened by voter response to their earlier errors, many legislators push reform.

    John Nichols, Robert W. McChesney and Ben Scott

  • May 4, 2005

    The Ditch Blair Project

    In Britain, the leader of the government is not elected by a national vote. Rather, the prime minister is the head of the dominant party caucus in the parliament.

    It is probably a good thing that the United States decided against going with a parliamentary system, as the boss of the largest partisan caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives is a fellow named Tom DeLay.

    But the parliamentary system does force British leaders to campaign on a more human scale -- and to face more poignant and powerful questions.

    John Nichols

  • April 19, 2005

    The Vatican’s Enforcer

    The Sacred College of Cardinals is supposed to be one of the world's great deliberative bodies.

    Yet, despite the many challenges faced by the Catholic church, the deliberations regarding the selection of a successor to the late Pope John Paul II put more of an emphasis on speed and continuity than creative consultation or soul searching.

    Barely 24 hours into the first conclave of its kind in more than a quarter century -- and after only a handful of votes -- the cardinals settled on the frontrunner for the job: German Cardinal Joseph Alois Ratzinger.

    John Nichols


  • April 14, 2005

    FCC to TV: Tell the Truth

    Most television viewers don't know it, but a huge portion of what they watch on the local news programs aired by their favorite stations is not actually "news." Rather, local television stations around the country have in recent years been taking "video news releases" from the federal government and major corporations – particularly the big pharmaceutical companies – and airing them as if they were news reports.

    Video news releases (VNRs) are so common these days that they actually dominate some newscasts, blurring the lines between advertising and news more blatantly than product placements in movies do the lines between advertising and entertainment.

    But, from now on, VNRs will be identified as productions of the corporations that developed them, rather than pawned off as part of the news.

    John Nichols

  • April 13, 2005

    John Bolton vs. Democracy

    "Im with the Bush-Cheney team, and I'm here to stop the count."

    Those were the words John Bolton yelled as he burst into a Tallahassee library on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2000, where local election workers were recounting ballots cast in Florida's disputed presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

    Bolton was one of the pack of lawyers for the Republican presidential ticket who repeatedly sought to shut down recounts of the ballots from Florida counties before those counts revealed that Gore had actually won the state's electoral votes and the presidency.

    John Nichols

  • April 11, 2005

    Who’s a ‘Good Catholic’?

    Among the members of Congress who attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II last week was U.S. Rep. David Obey.

    It would be difficult to identify a more appropriate representative than the Wisconsin Democrat who has served in Congress for the better part of four decades.

    As the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Obey is one of the most prominent and powerful members of the Congress. He is, as well, one of the most thoughtful and outspoken members of the Catholic faith in Washington. Indeed, the veteran congressman has credited his Catholic upbringing with helping to shape his values and his commitment to public service. "I was raised a Catholic," says Obey. "I know in my bones that I would not hold the views I hold today if it were not for the values I learned in Catholic school."

    John Nichols