Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Isador Feinstein Stone
Isador Feinstein Stone (better known as I.F. Stone) (December 24, 1907 – July 17, 1989) was an iconoclastic American investigative journalist best known for his influential political newsletter, I.F. Stone's Weekly .
Stone was born in Philadelphia. His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants who owned a store in Haddonfield, New Jersey. He studied philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, and as a student he wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
After leaving university he joined the Camden Courier-Post. Influenced by the work of Jack London, Stone became a radical journalist. In the 1930s he played an active role in the Popular Front opposition to Hitler.
Stone moved to the New York Post in 1933 and during this period supported Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. His first book, The Court Disposes (1937), was a defence of Roosevelt's attempt to expand the US Supreme Court.
After leaving the New York Post in 1939, Stone became associate editor of The Nation. His next book, Business as Unusual (1941), was an attack on the country's failure to prepare for war. Underground to Palestine (1946) dealt with the migration of Eastern European Jews at the end of the Second World War.
In 1948 Stone joined the New York Star. Later he moved to the Daily Compass until it ceased publication in 1952. A critic of the emerging Cold War, Stone published the Hidden History of the Korean War that same year.
One of Stone's more famous books, The Hidden History of the Korean War published in 1952, alleged that the United States and Syngman Rhee planned for the conflict and initiated hostilities. Documents from Soviet era archive show that Stone was wrong in his assesment and that Joseph Stalin and Kim Il Sung orchestrated the Korean War.
Inspired by the achievements of the muckracking journalist George Seldes and his political weekly, In Fact, Stone started his own political paper, I.F. Stone's Weekly in 1953. Over the next few years, Stone campaigned against McCarthyism and racial discrimination in the United States (in 1955, Stone's name was included in the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee's list of the 82 most active and typical sponsors of Communist fronts in the United States). In 1964 Stone was the only American journalist to challenge President Johnson's account of the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
During the 1960s Stone continued to criticize the Vietnam War. His newsletter enjoyed a circulation of 70,000 but in 1971 ill-health forced Stone to cease publication. After his retirement, he learned Ancient Greek and wrote a book about the trial and death of Socrates called The Trial of Socrates.
Although considered by many a standard for independent investigative journalism, much has been said of Stone's involvement with the KGB. The testimony of a high ranking KGB officer shortly after Stone's death set off months of speculation about Stone's alleged collaboration with that espionage agency, with one columnist going as far to call Stone " the KGB's front man in American journalism." In time Stone was vindicated and the worst of the accusations did not pan out.
The accusations were based on a few lines at the end of the KGB officer's speech; after some research into Stone's history it turned out that he was not an "agent" and there is no evidence he was a collaborator with the agency. In time, the New York Times would call the speculation over Stone's KGB involvement "not just repugnant but grotesque"; the Washington Post also weighed in, calling the accusations "completely undocumented and poisonous."
It appears that Stone accepted lunch meetings with members of the KGB from 1944 to 1968, and Stone was identifed as BLIN in Venona cables . Oleg Kalugin, a former major general in the KGB who had worked as a press officer at the Soviet embassy in Washington, has also verified these claims. The East German government at one point held 15,000 subscriptions of The I.F. Stone's Weekly Reader.
It has been claimed that Stone sought to sever his ties with the KGB after traveling to the Soviet Union in 1956 and hearing Nikita Khrushchev's speech denouncing Stalin and the tyranny of his regime. According to Kalugin, it is true that Stone sought to sever ties in 1956, but the latter explanation appears to be apocryphal (Kalugin eventually persuaded Stone to maintain his ties).
A plausible alternate explanation for the break is that in 1956 the Soviets invaded Hungary. Stone apparently severed all ties to the Soviets after the 1968 Czechoslovakian uprising and subsequent quelling of the revolt.
Stone was a critic of the Soviets and Soviet-allied communists. Stone's leftist politics, constant criticism of United States policies, and Marxist beliefs by no means made him a communist or a KGB agent, contrary to the assertions of Stone's right-wing detractors. Stone once memorably stated that American Communists were characterized by "stultifications and idiocies, the splits and the heresy-hunts, which make the Communists so ludicrous a spectacle half the time." 
Stone's journalistic work drew heavily on obscure documents from the public domain; some of his best scoops were discovered by peering through the voluminous official records generated by the government. As an outspoken leftist journalist working in often hostile environments, Stone's stories needed to meet an extremely high burden of proof to be considered credible. As a result, most of Stone's articles are very well sourced, typically with official documents. 
"You may just think I am a red Jew son-of-a-bitch, but I'm keeping Thomas Jefferson alive." [on journalistic marginalization of him]
"Every government is run by liars and nothing they say should be believed."
- The Court Disposes (1937)
- Business as Unusual (1941)
- Underground to Palestine (1946)
- The Hidden History of the Korean War, 1950-1951 (1952)
- The War Years, 1939-1945
- The Truman Era, 1945-1952
- The Haunted Fifties (1969)
- Polemics and Prophecies, 1967-1970 (1970)
- The I.F. Stone's Weekly Reader (1973)
- The Trial of Socrates (1988)
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