By the time he died in 1989, the once outcast and radical journalist I. F. Stone, fondly called “Izzy” by all who knew him, had become an icon. The blurbs on the back of Myra MacPherson’s new look at Stone’s life are from the likes of journalistic establishment dons like Craig Unger, Helen Thomas, Richard Reeves, and others—all of whom try to tell us that, were he alive, Stone could wake up today’s “lapdog” reporters.[1] He would, as Thomas writes, “lead our country to its greatest ideals again.”

In an era when The New York Times, considered by Stone during his lifetime to be a right-wing paper, contains a constant barrage against conservatives and centrists from editorial columnists like Frank Rich, Paul Krugman, and Bob Herbert, along with official editorials that regularly condemn the Bush administration, one must pause to w ...