Isador Feinstein Stone was born in Philadelphia on 24th December, 1907. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia who owned a store in Haddonfield, New Jersey. He studied philosophy at the University of Pennsylvaniaand while 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 committed radical journalist. A member of the Socialist Party of America, Stone campaigned for Norman Thomas in 1928.
In the 1930s he played an active role in the Popular Front opposition to Adolf 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 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 (1952).
Inspired by the achievements of George Seldes and his political weekly, In Fact, Stone started his own political paper, the I. F. Stone's Weekly in 1953. Over the next few years Stone led the attack on McCarthyism and racial discrimination in the United States. Stone remarked: "There was nothing to the left of me but The Daily Worker." Arthur Miller later recalled: "Apart from I.F. Stone, whose four-page self-published weekly newsletter persistently examined the issues without obeying the rule that every question had to be couched in anti-Communist declarations, there was no other journalist I can now recall who stood up ro the high wind without trembling.. With the tiniest Communist Party in the world the U.S. was behaving as though on the verge of bloody revolution."
Stone was a passionate supporter of the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman who killed President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on 22nd November, 1963. In the first issue after the assassination Stone wrote: "It is always dangerous to draw rational inferences from the behavior of a psychopath like Oswald."
On the publication of the Warren Commission Report Stone defended it in the I. F. Stone's Weekly, stating that "I believe the Commission has done a first-rate job, on a level that does our country proud and is worthy of so tragic an event. I regard the case against Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone killer of the President as conclusive." However, as John Kelin has pointed out in his book, Praise from a Future Generation, at the time Stone wrote this article: "the Warren Report had just been published and the twenty-six volumes of supporting evidence and testimony were still not available".
Stone then went on to criticise those who had argued that there had been a conspiracy. After attacking the work of Mark Lane he turned on Bertrand Russell, who he described as "my dear and revered friend". He suggested that Russell had dismissed the conclusions of Warren Commission report without even reading it. This was completely untrue. As Russell's assistant, Ralph Schoenman, later pointed out, he had been provided a copy of the report a week before its official release date.
Stone then went onto to look at the role played by Thomas G. Buchanan, Joachim Joesten and Carl Marzani, in the two books that had already been published arguing that there had been a conspiracy: "The Joesten book is rubbish, and Carl Marzani - whom I defended against loose charges in the worst days of the witch hunt - ought to have had more sense of public responsibility than to publish it. Thomas G. Buchanan, another victim of witch hunt days, has gone in for similar rubbish in his book, Who Killed Kennedy? You couldn't convict a chicken thief on the flimsy slap-together of surmise, half-fact and whole untruth in either book… All my adult life as a newspaperman I have been fighting, in defense of the Left and of a sane politics, against conspiracy theories of history, character assassination, guilt by association and demonology. Now I see elements of the Left using these same tactics in the controversy over the Kennedy assassination and the Warren Commission Report."
Ray Marcus, who was a devoted follower of I.F. Stone had had subscribed to his journal since its first edition in January 1953, was deeply shocked by this article. Marcus later recalled: "What was totally lacking in I. F. Stone's comments was any evidence of the critical analysis he normally employed on assessing official statements." On 8th October, 1964, Marcus wrote Stone a long letter outlining the flaws in the Warren Commission Report. Marcus argued that in order to accept the Warren Commission's lone-gunman scenario, one must accept fifteen points as true. These points were explained in an eight page letter. Marcus never received a reply.
In 1964 Stone was the first American journalist to challenge the account provided by President Lyndon B. Johnson of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Throughout the 1960s Stone exposed the futility of the Vietnam War. The I. F. Stone's Weekly had a circulation of 70,000 but ill-health forced Stone to cease publication in 1971.
Isador Feinstein Stone continued to write about politics until his death on 17th July, 1989.