R.I.P. ThinkProgress
September 6, 2019 1:15 PM   Subscribe

ThinkProgress is shutting down today (Daily Beast), after failing to find a new publisher.
ThinkProgress, the influential news site that rose to prominence in the shadow of the Bush administration and helped define progressivism during the Obama years, is shutting down.

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

[...] At its peak, there were few more important pieces of unapologetically progressive, online real estate than ThinkProgress. The site combined original reporting with an attack-dog mentality to target Republican lawmakers and conservative ideas. 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.
The statement from the Center for American Progress.
We are very sad to announce that after more than two months of searching, we have been unable to identify a new publisher for ThinkProgress, and we are left with no choice but to close ThinkProgress as an independent enterprise focused on original reporting.

...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. Conversations on how to do so are just beginning, but we will seek to reinvent it as a different platform for progressive change.
The reaction on twitter from founder Judd Legum:
I founded @thinkprogress and spend a decade of my career building it from scratch and I just found out it was being shut down from this Daily Beast article. 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. [...] The decision to fold ThinkProgress back into CAP, in my view, is a mistake. It violates the spirit in which it has operated over the last 15 years.

It also underscores that this was ultimately about control, not money. It also underscores my belief that we need more progressive media that is not only independent, but self-sustaining.
More reactions compiled in a Twitter Moment.
posted by bitteschoen (32 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is incredibly disappointing. I've been reading TP for a decade.
posted by captain afab at 1:23 PM on September 6 [8 favorites]


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posted by Halloween Jack at 1:37 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


I wonder why nobody at a place named "ThinkProgress" would think, "Maybe we should try a worker co-op before shutting down?"

Too progressive?
posted by clawsoon at 1:45 PM on September 6 [29 favorites]


A lot of these Publications are forbidden from becoming workers Cooperative because the owner owns all the steaks - Gothamist only got back online because it partnered with WNYC and I didn't rehire back most of the people who made Gothamist good.

"We've all seen digital media properties shuttered and mass layoffs. But the ThinkProgress one is particularly sad because these writers aren't being screwed by venture capitalists, right-wing billionaires, or the emir of Qatar; they're being screwed by the Dem establishment." @davidklion

Interestingly, the workplace democracy Act and the public journalism act what expressly enshrine the right of employees to become a cooperative or have the first chance to buy it out.
posted by The Whelk at 1:51 PM on September 6 [21 favorites]


Yes, a bit too socialist, clawsoon.

There's always IndyMedia, when I can get it to load …
posted by scruss at 1:53 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]


Alas, the MAGA folk will surely be exultant.
posted by bz at 2:19 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


“you could keep TP going for like a decade just with the money @TomSteyer pissed away on his presidential campaign that was 100 percent doomed to failure from the word go

...did I say 10 years? I meant 33 years” @RyanCooper
posted by The Whelk at 2:20 PM on September 6 [50 favorites]


you could keep TP going for like a decade just with the money @TomSteyer pissed away on his presidential campaign

"our" billionaires aren't interested in combating FOX News or building a progressive media movement or actually winning elections, just seeing their face on the news.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:24 PM on September 6 [26 favorites]


It's less of a struggle when you accept there aren't any left-wing billionaires. Being a billionaire and being a leftist are fundamentally incompatible.
posted by protocoach at 2:33 PM on September 6 [49 favorites]


"I also just really want to thank Navin and Neera and @amprog for laying off a pregnant employee not too long from her due date, without offering any sort of job within the parent organization, as they did for others.

Just some really progressive stuff going on there."
@MelsLien
posted by Julianna Mckannis at 3:09 PM on September 6 [18 favorites]


Very reminiscent of Pacific Standard shutting down because its single major funding source decided they didn't want to fund journalism anymore.

I really wish the hollowing out of the journalist landscape - especially at local and statehouse levels - were a bigger political project of the left.
posted by mostly vowels at 4:05 PM on September 6 [6 favorites]


Dang it.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:07 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


Interestingly, the workplace democracy Act and the public journalism act what expressly enshrine the right of employees to become a cooperative or have the first chance to buy it out.

I'm really interested in this, so they can't all just get on a group chat and decide to start a new "Formerly Known As" business writing their own articles as a co-op? Or, they don't want to because they wouldn't actually make money sufficient to do so?
posted by odinsdream at 5:51 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:54 PM on September 6


Neera's handling of CAP is atrocious and this is but one example.
posted by nofundy at 7:09 PM on September 6


ThinkProgress: The AlterNet it was ok to like
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:48 PM on September 6


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posted by SisterHavana at 7:59 PM on September 6


Think Progress is almost certainly losing buckets of money, like most online publishing operations. Romantic fantasies about workers' cooperatives ain't going to change that.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:53 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


this is my field, these outlets made a profit but not like a super profit like a start up or they got bored of it or the reporting got rowdy, so the billionaires in charge closed them. THE ADULTS IN THE ROOM
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 PM on September 6 [6 favorites]




Huge loss for us all💔
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posted by j_curiouser at 9:36 PM on September 6


Gothamist only got back online because it partnered with WNYC and I didn't rehire back most of the people who made Gothamist good.

Partnered is not the right word. WNYC, WANU, and KPCC bought the three “Ists” that covered their cities. The Chance the Rapper bought the Chicagoist as well, but it seems not to have relaunched yet.
posted by jmauro at 10:30 PM on September 6


It's less of a struggle when you accept there aren't any left-wing billionaires. Being a billionaire and being a leftist are fundamentally incompatible.

The confusion arises from differing definitions of the word leftist. There are billionaires who claim to be social democrats of a sort, with regulated markets, worker representation on the boards of concerns of any real size, and a strong social safety net. I suspect most who fall into that category do so because they believe it is the only way to avoid war on a scale large enough to be inconvenient given the inevitable outcome of automating almost everything humans do.

What you won't find are billionaires advocating anything so far to the left that it would not only leave them with less money, but worse (to them) less control over the things they consider to be theirs. After all, the people high up in Soviet state enterprises were all to happy to let their nation disintegrate if keeping it intact meant losing even a small amount of relative power or influence.
posted by wierdo at 11:01 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


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posted by Faint of Butt at 7:50 AM on September 7


We’re basically living in a recreation of the collapsing soviet empire except everything is expensive and you can’t smoke on the trains.
posted by The Whelk at 7:50 AM on September 7 [15 favorites]


The way MoJo is being run today, I wouldn't be surprised to see it fold too.
posted by nofundy at 9:49 AM on September 7 [1 favorite]


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posted by lester at 8:13 PM on September 7


So, they're not actually closing. Let's not pretend that. "Shutting down today" indeed.

What they're actually doing is continuing to do what they've always done, minus two very important things: all the staff that just unionized, and even the pretense of editorial independence from CAP.

Congrats to Neera Tanden on some A+ unionbusting, I guess. Really quality "left-wing" action.
posted by kafziel at 11:27 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


Yep, this is disgraceful. The statement from the ThinkProgress Union is here: https://twitter.com/TP_Union/status/1171235546527608832

"Unapologetically progressive".
posted by ocular shenanigans at 3:00 AM on September 10


Update: ThinkProgress to Be Archived After Union Threatens ‘Legal Options’ Against CAP
The recently closed progressive news site will no longer exist as a sounding board for think tank scholars after union complaints.
posted by bitteschoen at 3:00 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


CAP issued a new statement: We are honoring the request of former @ThinkProgress staff to archive ThinkProgress.org with no further posting and end ThinkProgress’ membership program.
Full statement
posted by bitteschoen at 8:54 AM on September 10




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