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In Praise of I.F. "Izzy" Stone

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/18/praise-if-izzy-stone

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thank you for this tribute to I F Stone who shone light on what the mainstream avoided before the internet could do that. I admired him as a truly good man and an independent radical who didn’t follow any party line. I compared him with Pete Seeger who expressed the same spirit thru music and I’m glad they both continue to get some recognition.

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No Assange mention? Curious.

Mo’s bookstore in Berkeley used to carry the I.F. Stone weekly and I would grab a copy each week when I was in college. It was a great read - very concisely done with information you couldn’t get anywhere else. I was really sorry when Izzy Stone stopped writing it - and even sadder when the man died.
In today’s world, he would be a terrific blogger with a wide following countering the BS of the usual media.

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on of the true heroes of my lifetime.

This is a nice profile. Peter Dreier is a great example of our current mushy liberals who defended and even celebrated the Reaganite Barack Obama. The gutless hypocrisy of him and so many other journalists who propped up the warmongering, bootlicker of bankers, polished phoney helped lead to Trump. This must be acknowledged if we’re going to get beyond being an utterly corrupt and belligerent empire.

IF Stone Weekly was required reading in Howard Higman’s sociology classes at CU Boulder and Izzy gave us excellent ammunition to bring the Viet war home.
Journalists are nearly extinct.

I was fortunate that my folks subscribed to IF Stone’s Weekly in the 1960s. It provided an antidote to the pro-empire propaganda of the MSM, especially the gung-ho misinformation about how we were winning the Vietnam war. He’d point out how the official figures didn’t match up with the official pronouncements.

It’s a sad commentary on the US today that our media are still parroting the lies our government tells them about our official enemies, currently Iran and Venezuela.

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Mentioning Assange in a profile of I.F. Stone? Curious.

Why is it curious? Assange is facing the same kind of hostility as Stone did when he was blackballed, though they didn’t put Stone in jail.

In today’s world, he would be a terrific blogger with a wide following countering the BS of the usual media.

Good point. In a sense, Stone was a blogger in the environment of his time with his newsletter, an informed professional operating outside the mainstream. (Another who comes to mind from Stone’s era is Paul Krassner and his Realist newsletter, although Krassner, a founding Yippie, is more a progenitor of satire sites like The Onion.)

Assange doesn’t have Stone’s track record.

You’ve got to be kidding me. Wikileaks surfaced 100x the government documents than Stone did.

An Izzy story: in the summer of 1972 I was in Miami Beach for the Democratic convention. I was not a delegate, but was a McGovern activist. There was some concern amongst the McGovern ranks regarding a comment he had made about leaving some US troops in Thailand until all the POWs were accounted for, and a meeting was called by “Concerned McGovern Volunteers” in the top floor of the Doral Hotel. I arrive early, sign in, and notice that the name ahead of min is I.F. Stone. I look up and there he is. He sits at a table and starts reading a newspaper. I’m a bit shy, so I sit at a table next to his. A guy comes and sits at Stone’s table, starts asking him questions. Stone looks up over his his newspaper at the guy and says, “What are you, a dick?” The guy stammers something, and at that point I screw up my nerve, approach Stone, and say “excuse me, Mr Stone, could I ask you a couple of questions?” I’m 21 years old, probably look like 16, scraggly beard, long hair, T-shirt, been sleeping on the ground in Flamingo Park for a couple of days and probably smelled funky…Izzy says “sure, let’s go over here”, leads me to a small table by the window, and while we’re waiting for the meeting to start, he gives me his full attention…asks me about myself, what I plan to do, etc…my feeling was, wow he’s a mensch, he’s like a favorite uncle. When the meeting starts, I find myself shouting in his ear because he can’t hear the talk from the stage, and needs me to repeat it. The meeting ends, and as we leave we discover that the elevators aren’t working - we go down the 14 (I think) floors by the stairs to discover that radical elements are occupying the lobby and the place is shut down…another story…