If there is a north star for this blog, it has to be the iconoclastic investigative reporter, I.F. (Izzy) Stone, with his independent newsletter–I.F. Stone’s Weekly.
Using this weekly newsletter, started in 1953, Stone campaigned against the Cold War, McCarthyism, racial discrimination, and the Vietnam War. The weekly content contained essays, articles, and other peoples stories–kind of like a blog. Stone also based his reporting on close reading of obscure government documents available in the public domain, and eschewed insider political reporting.
“I made no claim to inside stuff. I tried to give information which could be documented, so the reader could check it out himself…Reporters tend to be absorbed by the bureaucracies they cover; they take on the habits, attitudes, and even accents of the military or diplomatic corps. Should a reporter resist the pressure, there are many ways to get rid of him…But a reporter covering the whole capital on his own–particularly if he is his own employer–is immune from these pressures.”
Like today’s political bloggers, writing contra “conventional wisdom,” Stone wrote in a critical environment that required his stories meet an “extremely high burden of proof” to be considered credible.
And contrary to todays timid news, Stone passionately made the case that, if accurate in their reporting, journalist didn’t have to be neutral. “A newspaperman ought to use his power on behalf of those getting the dirty end of the deal.”
Stone, of course, had no illusions about the powers he faced. “If you want to know about governments, all you have to know is two words–Governments Lie.”