John Dickerson is a correspondent for 60 Minutes. He is also a Contributing Editor to The Atlantic and the host of the Whistlestop podcast and co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest.

John Dickerson's Blog

The Streetlight Effect: The metaphor I can’t believe I left out of the book

     I was recently in a discussion about the standard for evaluating presidents in which someone made the case, as Senator John Cornyn does, that we should evaluate presidents by what we can see them do. I argued, as I do in my book, that this is not simply wrong, but a problem. The […]

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Crazy Swine Flu Vaccine Public Service Annoucements

In 1976 government officials thought there was going to be an outbreak of swine flu that would kill as many or more than the 1918 flu. (Some good background). They developed a vaccine and these PSA’s were created to convince people to take it. Whoa…Wait ’till you hear about Dotty!

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Swine Flu in Politics

Swine flu: When a political actor says something untrue or irretrievably dumb on purpose, to create a politically beneficial controversy. A politician does this to spread disinformation. The goal is to disinform the credulous, not educate the curious. It is also a way to set the agenda. If the public debate is on turf you […]

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The Moment the 13th Amendment passed.

“Members joined in the shouting and kept it up for some minutes. Some embraced one another, others wept like Children. I have felt ever since the vote, as if I were in a new country.” — Congressman George W. Julian on passage of 13th Amendment.    

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What’s Getting You Through?

So here’s a project that I really would like to follow through on: America is in a tough spot and has been for some period of time. This has caused considerable psychological woe. Many of us have had personal bouts. Public life has compounded things. What has helped you get through? Meaningful, joyous, frivolous, momentary. […]

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Lithgow interview from 2019

John Lithgow on his new play, “Stories by Heart,” and playing Churchill   This interview for the CBS This Morning podcast is from 2018 and it is still one of my favorites. “My favorite podcast this year was talking to John Lithgow. We were in his green room right before his amazing one man show. […]

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Dickens on Journalism: some fanciful attraction or new air.

I am continuing to go through old notes and papers. I found a series of sentences I’d written down from Charles Dickens’ Selected Journalism. This one amused me: “What I particularly want to impress upon you is, that it is not enough to see a thing and go home and describe it, but that the […]

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Humor and Leaders: John Lewis Gaddis

I have been going through stacks of papers finding things I never had time to put in The Hardest Job in the World. Here is an exchange with John Lewis Gaddis on his latest book On Grand Strategy We had a wonderful, wide ranging conversation on the CBS This Morning podcast, but here’s a part […]

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Librarians and God

I like this metaphor: This is from Harry Emerson Fosdick’s book The Meaning of Prayer.  

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Donate to Covenant House

Hey! please donate to Covenant House. Go here.

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Presidential Time

Reading President Obama’s book A Promised Land, I keep coming across passages that I wish I could drop into The Hardest Job in the World. Here is Obama’s passage on the mystery of his own schedule: Here is what I wrote about the presidential schedule when I was trying to help readers understand the job […]

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Some poems that I come back to

Sorting it Out by Philip Booth Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent’s Narrow Room by William Wordsworth Good Bones by Maggie Smith The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot This is not a comprehensive list. It is this morning’s list.

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What Stories Are About

From Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nobel acceptance speech. Stories are about one person saying to another, This is the way it feels to me? Does it feel the same to you? pic.twitter.com/khwbGfVrtS — Tara Westover (@tarawestover) April 28, 2018 Reminds me of Conrad: “My task is to make you hear, to make you feel,and, above all, to make you see. That is all, […]

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Politics in our times

Political scientists Yanna Krupnikov and John Barry Ryan have a piece in the Times: “The Real Divide in America Is Between Political Junkies and Everyone Else.” Those of you who have read The Hardest Job in the World may remember them. I referenced their work on the question of how split we really are. This piece returns […]

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100 Days Interview

President Trump reportedly ended his interview with Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes early. It reminded a few people of this exchange:    

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C.S. Lewis on Learning in War-Time

This is from a sermon Lewis preached in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford in the Autumn of 1939 “The great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.” So much of this essay felt vital to our moment. It is not a perfect work, but […]

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The natural melancholy of a train whistle

I was reading James Dickey this morning. His poem “The Strength of Fields.” There is a line “Tell me, train sound,/With all your long lost grief,” It made sense to me. I associate a train whistle with grief. Why do I? I think I know, but I wonder if the train whistle is naturally sad […]

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Is John Dickerson…

Every now and again I Google “Is John Dickerson” to see what people have been searching. Usually people are searching to find out who my relatives are — my Mom or my wife. They want to know if I am associated with one show or another. Today I found “Is John Dickerson sick,” which is […]

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What Do You Hear? A Test of Empathy

In reporting out The Hardest Job in the World, I became fascinated with James Q. Wilson’s theory of character. One of its key aspects was empathy, which Wilson defined as a “willingness to take importantly into account the rights, needs, and feelings of others.” In the 11 weeks since George Floyd was killed by police […]

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No Longer Updating Your Parents

Here’s a thing that just occurred to me about not having living parents (it’s been a while, but still). You don’t have to come up with a story of your life in the particular way that you do when updating your parents. For part of your life you speak in rhyme & then never do […]

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