All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception and the Spirit of I. F. Stone

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All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone
All Governments Lie poster.jpg
Directed byFred Peabody
Produced by
  • Peter Raymont
  • Andrew Munger
  • Steve Ord[1]
Music byMark Korven[1]
CinematographyJohn Westheuser[1]
Edited by
  • Jim Munro
  • James Yates[1]
White Pine Pictures[1]
Release date
  • September 9, 2016 (2016-09-09) (TIFF)
Running time
91 minutes

All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone is Canadian documentary film directed by Fred Peabody. It had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2016. The film is a profile of investigative journalist I. F. Stone.


All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone described Independent journalist I. F. Stone (1907–89) pioneered the practice of investigative journalism, digging into public records and back-page stories to track down information. We see the challenges these reporters face as they try to go beneath the surface. Frey documents the cover-up of undocumented burials of people killed while crossing the U.S./Mexico border. Bonus features include extended interviews. The film looks at independent journalists' investigations of governments dating back to the 1960s and manages to retain a nonpartisan point of view.[2]



All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception and the Spirit of I.F. Stone: A suitably provocative Canadian documentary that premiered at TIFF 2016 and returns for a run at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, All Governments Lie borrows its title from a saying by I. F. Stone, an American investigative journalist whose long-running weekly newsletter set a standard for those who speak truth to power.[3]

This timely doc from Vancouver filmmaker Fred Peabody examines the importance of independent journalism in a media landscape defined by unprecedented dishonesty on the part of politicians, fake news and compromised media conglomerates increasingly reluctant to investigate or criticize government policies.[4]

Director Fred Peabody's film shows the example I. F. Stone set for modern muckrakers such as Michael Moore, Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman, all of whom emphasize the importance of independent journalism in an age when so much of the media is controlled by the rich and powerful and when so much news and opinion - especially in the age of Trump - seems entirely unencumbered by facts. Peabody and media critic Jeff Cohen do a Skype Q&A after the 9:15 p.m. screening on Friday. All Governments Lie runs to Thursday.[3]

Film Journal International 's Chris Barsanti, in one of the film's only negative reviews, wrote that the "Agitprop denunciatory takedown of corporate news doesn’t do justice to I.F. Stone’s wit or insight."[5] Barsanti's criticism highlighted that the film "takes a valid critique of the deadening effect corporate-government synergy can have on mainstream media’s ability to truly afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted and undercuts it with poor logic and simplistic argument."[5]


All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone is a theatrical documentary created by a team of Emmy Award-winning filmmakers, who subscribed to I. F. Stone’s newsletter in their teens. "I. F. Stone’s Weekly" inspired us then, and compels us now to tell the story of a new wave of independent, investigative, adversarial journalists following in Stone’s footsteps.[1]

They are ceding responsibility for holding governments and corporations accountable to the independent journalists and filmmakers who risk their careers, their freedom and their lives in war zones – to expose the truth.[1]

With government deception rampant, and intrusion of state surveillance into private life never more egregious, independent voices like Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Amy Goodman are crucially important. All three are inspired by the iconoclastic rebel journalist named I. F. Stone, whose fearless, independent reporting from 1953 to 1971 filled a tiny 4-page newsletter which he wrote, published, and carried to the mailbox every week.[1]

Stone is little known today, but All Governments Lie will reveal the profound influence he’s had on contemporary independent journalists like Greenwald, Scahill, Goodman and others.[1]


"All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone" is an urgent and fascinating documentary. Even if you belong to the choir it’s preaching to, it has the rare distinction of being a movie you can agree and argue with at the same time. The title makes it sound like a portrait of I.F. Stone, the trend-setting investigative journalist (he died in 1989) who in his highly influential self-published newsletter, I.F. Stone’s Weekly, tweaked and railed against the sins of the U.S. government — and the mainstream media, though back then it was known simply as, you know, journalism — from the early ’50s through the early ’70s. Stone, you could argue, was the missing link between Thomas Paine and the Internet. "All Governments Lie" treats him as the original political blogger, though it doesn’t offer much more than a thumbnail sketch of Stone. His gadfly spirit hovers over the movie, but his life and work occupy maybe 10 minutes of it.[6]

The movie tips its hat to people like Amy Goodman, whose global news program "Democracy Now!" straddles radio, TV, and the Web, and John Carlos Frey, who we see reporting a cataclysmic story about 200 Mexican immigrants whose bodies were discovered in mass graves in Brooks County, Texas, 70 miles from the border. Mostly, though, "All Governments Lie" focuses on big game like the rah-rah run-up to the Iraq War, which it uses to illustrate the thesis that the mainstream media — all of it — has become a bought-and-paid-for tool of government and corporate power.[6]


The film was a shortlisted nominee for the Donald Brittain Award at the 6th Canadian Screen Awards.

This work won him the sixth annual Izzy Award, established to honor Stone by the park center for Independent Media at Ithaca College


  1. ^ a b c d e "Credits". Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  2. ^ Arneson, Rosemary (Feb 1, 2018). "All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone". Library Journal. 143: 62. ISSN 0363-0277.
  3. ^ a b Anderson, Jason (Dec 9, 2016). "Tampopo brings food, sex, comedy to TIFF Bell Lightbox: Plus, Canadian documentary All Governments Lie returns for a run at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema". Toronto Star; Toronto, Ont. Torstar Syndication Services, a Division of Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. p. E.2.
  4. ^ Winnipeg, Man (February 26, 2017). "ALL GOVERNMENTS LIE: TRUTH, DECEPTION AND THE...[Dervied Headline]". Winnipeg Free Press; Winnipeg, Man. F.P. Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership. p. A13.
  5. ^ a b Barsanti, Chris (3 November 2016). "Film Review: All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone". Film Journal. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  6. ^ a b Scahill, Jeremy (Nov 4, 2016). "Film Review: 'All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone'".