All governments lie: Truth, deception, and the spirit of I.F. Stone

“I believe very deeply in freedom of the press and you can’t fulfill your function unless you’re free.”

I.F. Stone


The first clip we see is the now famous (or is it infamous?) Richard Nixon (or should it be Tricky Dicky?) “I am not a crook!”. It is followed by US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s weapons of mass destruction lie that sent the US to war with Iraq. But All governments lie: Truth, deception, and the spirit of I.F. Stone is mostly concerned about the state of American journalism as influenced by I.F. Stone. In 1950, Stone was blacklisted and unable to find work. He decided to publish his own independent newsletter. In I. F. Stone’s Weekly he publicly challenged McCarthyism and racial discrimination, he was not afraid to question many politicians and was an early critic of the Vietnam war. There are today independent journalists who, like I.F. Stone was, are working outside of the mainstream media (think FOX, CNN, MSNBC and all network news ) who, the film argues, are afraid to ask the hard questions. People like controversial essayist Matt Taibbi, Democracy now! host Amy Goodman and Cenk Uygur from The young Turks are interviewed and the cameras are allowed to follow them as they are working. To speak about I.F. Stone’s influence, director Fred Peabody has even talked to Ralph Nader, Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky. The film is interesting enough, but one wonders if a true biographical documentary on Stone and his writings would not be better. It is also a shame, or bad timing, that All governments lie arrives at the exact moment that a war against the medias is taking hold in the US. Although we see some of Trump’s fabrications during the campaign, what is happening right now will have to wait to be the subject of another film. As it stands, All governments lie is still compelling.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

All governments lie: Truth, deception, and the spirit of I.F. Stone

Directed by:
Fred Peabody

Based on “All governments lie”: The life and times of rebel journalist I. F. Stone by Myra MacPherson

92 min.

Rated Parental Guidance

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