ThinkProgress, a top progressive website operated by the liberal think tank, Center for American Progress, is shutting down on Friday after a 15 year run.
“Given that we could find no new publisher, we have no other real option but to fold the ThinkProgress website back into CAP’s broader online presence with a focus on analysis of policy, politics, and news events through the lens of existing CAP and CAP Action staff experts,” Navin Nayak, the executive director of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, wrote in a message to staff, according to The Beast.
“Conversations on how to do so are just beginning, but we will seek to reinvent it as a different platform for progressive change.”
About a dozen ThinkProgress employees will lose their jobs. They are being provided severance packages through November, and will be covered under the non-profit’s health plan through the end of the year.
Launched in 2004, ThinkProgress has churned out several high profile progressive writers and reporters, including Vox co-founder Matt Yglesias and NBC News campaign reporter Alex Seitz-Wald. It’s best known contributor now is Ian Millhiser, a justice reporter known for his Twitter diatribes about conservatives and the Supreme Court.
ThinkProgress’ decline has confounded some media observers, given the rise of other liberal news outlets during the Trump era. The site hired dozens of new staff members in recent years, but revenue has fallen far short of expectations, according to The Beast.
The site has also faced criticism that it has tailored its reporting to demands from the Center for American Progress, which receives funding from wealthy liberal donors and some foreign governments.
CAP’s affiliation with Bill and Hillary Clinton has also been a sore spot for the think tank and ThinkProgress. John Podesta, the Hillary Clinton campaign chairman and Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff, founded CAP in 2003. Neera Tanden, a former Clinton White House aide and longtime Clinton booster, is president of the think tank.
Podesta emails released by WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign showed that Judd Legum, the founder of ThinkProgress, provided the Clinton campaignwith strategies on how to go after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
ThinkProgress has also targeted Sanders during the 2020 election cycle. In April, the website published a video that criticized the democratic socialist over his personal wealth.
After Sanders complained to the Center for American Progress (CAP), Tanden threw ThinkProgress under the bus, saying that the video was “overly harsh and does not reflect our approach to a constructive debate of the issues.”
Legum, who left ThinkProgress over a year ago, said CAP’s decision is “disheartening.”
2. I joined CAP in 2003 and was one of the first employees and I joined because I believed in the mission of creating permanent progressive infrastructure
It's disheartening that CAP no longer believes that independent progressive journalism is worth supporting
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 6, 2019
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