We have not written a lot in recent years about Think Progress, the left-wing website owned by the Center for American Progress.

But back in the day, in the earlier years of Legal Insurrection, we wrote a lot about Think Progress and its efforts to smear the Tea Party as racist and violent. Think Progress led an obsessive campaign to demonize the Koch brothers and Andrew Breitbart. The false claim that Sarah Palin’s electoral map was connected to Jared Loughner’s shooting of Gabby Giffords was spread with the early help of Think Progress blogger Matthew Yglesias.

Here was my June 2011, Fair Assessment of Think Progress:

John Hinderaker of Power Line Blog has done an excellent job tracking down and debunking the serial lies of Think Progress regarding the Koch brothers.  I’ve chimed in too from time to time, but John really has led the charge.

In a post today, John demonstrates yet another Think Progress lie supposedly connecting the departure of David Koch from a Board position at the National Institutes for Health with the reclassification of a chemical used by Koch subsidiary Georgia Pacific as a carcinogen.  There is no truth to it.

John sums Think Progress up as follows (emphasis mine):

Everyone makes mistakes, but ThinkProgress is unique. It doesn’t just get things wrong; it consistently fabricates lies out of whole cloth. Anyone who relies on ThinkProgress for information is asking to be deceived.

I think that is a fair assessment, except I’d go one step further.  Many of the people who rely on Think Progress for information, which they then republish, do so with full knowledge of the lack of truthfulness and thereby are complicit.

It was easy to confuse Think Progress with Media Matters — they served the same purpose, the latter being David Brock’s attack dog.

Yglesias now is at Vox, still spreading nonsense, and that really is the story of Think Progress. Its alums have moved on to places where they can do even more damage, such as Bernie Sanders campaign. The Daily Beast notes:

A testament to its success is found in the list of prominent alumni currently working in politics and journalism. That list includes Faiz Shakir, who now serves as Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager; Amanda Terkel, the D.C. bureau chief of the Huffington Post; Nico Pitney, the political director at NowThis; Alex Seitz-Wald, a top campaign reporter for NBC News; Ali Gharib, a senior news editor at The Intercept; and Matt Yglesias, one of the founding members of Vox.

Think Progress lost influence as the woke brigades took to social media.

In June 2019, we noted financial problems at Think Progress, Report: ThinkProgress Faces Financial Turmoil, Payroll Drop, and Losing More Journalists.

The Daily Beast was the first to report that Think Progress was shutting down:

The outlet, which served as an editorially independent project of the Democratic Party think tank Center for American Progress (CAP), will stop current operations on Friday and be converted into a site where CAP scholars can post.

Top officials at CAP had been searching for a buyer to take over ThinkProgress, which has run deficits for years, and according to sources there were potentially three serious buyers in the mix recently. But in a statement to staff, Navin Nayak, the executive director of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said the site was ultimately unable to secure a patron.

“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,” said Nayak. “Conversations on how to do so are just beginning, but we will seek to reinvent it as a different platform for progressive change.”

A dozen ThinkProgress employees will be losing their jobs, a CAP aide said, as many who were on staff had already gone to work elsewhere and some were incorporated into the larger CAP infrastructure. Those who are being laid off will be given a severance package that runs through the end of November and health care coverage that lasts through the year, said the CAP aide.

As for the actual website, thinkprogress.org will continue to exist. But it will no longer function as an independent enterprise focused on original reporting. Instead, according to Nayak, it will be folded “back into CAP’s broader online presence” as a sounding board for policy and political analysis by existing CAP and CAP Action staff experts.

Think Progress is now a zombie website, much like the purportedly progressive ideas on which it was built.


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