Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Free Press: Marilyn's Top Hack

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Free Press: Marilyn's Top Hack

Article excerpt

The late I F Stone used to greet his audiences by welcoming the greybeards and FBI agents. If this great American journalist had dropped by at a celebration of his centenary at New York University early last month, that introduction would have been right on the mark. While the auditorium of about a hundred was full, most people did indeed have grey hair. And, given the reach of the Patriot Act, maybe there was a G-Man in the audience.

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Izzy Stone was a radical writer and muckraker, and pursued government lies with painstaking zeal. Subscribers to his weekly newsletter included Albert Einstein. At one time, Marilyn Monroe bought subscriptions for the entire US Congress.

Recently there has been a revival of interest in his work. A biography by the Nation's London correspondent, D D Guttenplan--American Radical: the Life and Times of I F Stone--is nearing publication. The award-winning biography All Governments Lie! The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist IF Stone by Myra MacPherson of the Washington Post comes out in paperback this month. And PublicAffairs Books has issued a compilation of Stone's best journalism. Meanwhile, an "I F Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence" is being issued by Harvard University's Nieman Foundation.

Stone would be tickled by the attention. He used to exasperate those who believed that politics was the art of the possible or of compromise. You could not compromise with facts, Stone maintained. Critics described him as being sympathetic to communism, and many shunned him during the McCarthy years. …

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