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Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Kincaid vs. Greenwald
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Journalist I.F. Stone died 20 years ago, yet Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid still feels the need to attack him.

Kincaid is doing this in a convoluted way, by bashing liberal blogger Glenn Greenwald for accepting an "Izzy Award" for his independent journalism. Kincaid wrote Greenwald, stating that "I am preparing a story about Stone and would like your comments and about receiving an award named for a Soviet agent. Are you considering disavowing or giving back the award?"

Greenwald wrote back; in his May 4 AIM column, Kincaid made sure to highlight the insults ("Don't you have Barack Obama's birth certificate to hunt down and Hillary Clinton's sex life to sniff around in?") but obscured what Greenwald wrote about Stone by paraphrasing: "Rather than directly dispute the evidence of Stone's service to the Soviet Union, Greenwald cited some alleged anti-Soviet statements once made by Stone, when he apparently had a falling out with the Communist dictatorship, as well as an article from the Columbia Journalism Review."

Kincaid curiously refused to directly quote what Greenwald actually wrote about accusations of Stone being a Soviet agent:

There is much dispute about what Stone thought in the 1940s and early 1950s, but what is not in dispute is that in one of his earliest newsletters, he wrote: "Whatever the consequences, I have to say what I really feel after seeing the Soviet Union and carefully studying the statements of its leading officials, this is not a good society and it is not led by honest men" and "nothing has happened in Russia to justify cooperation abroad between the independent left and the Communists." Those anti-Soviet statements resulted in the loss of numerous previous supporters, a courageous stance that dishonest propaganda rags like Commentary would never take.

A publication with some actual credibility, Columbia Journalism Review, conducted a comprehensive review of the evidence and thoroughly debunked these falsehoods.

By failing to directly quote Greenwald, Kincaid is doing what he accused Greenwald of -- refusing to directly address his evidence. Kincaid goes on to suggest that Stone was an active Soviet agent for many years.

The truth is somewhere in the middle. Kincaid touts a new Commentary magazine article as containing "additional evidence of Stone's work as a Soviet agent." But the article defines it very narrowly, debunking Kincaid's suggestion:

The documentary record shows that I.F. Stone consciously cooperated with Soviet intelligence from 1936 through 1938. An effort was made by Soviet intelligence to reestablish that relationship in 1944-45; we do not know whether that effort succeeded.

To put it plainly, from 1936 to 1939 I.F. Stone was a Soviet spy.

Kincaid makes no mention of the apparent fact that Stone's alleged work for the Soviets was limited to a relatively brief period of a few years. Nor does he acknowledge Stone's rejection of the Soviet system.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:53 AM EDT

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