Think Progress, the Grandaddy of Liberal Websites, Shuts Down
Time to do a little sack dance and gloat.
The far-left website Think Progress, which came to prominence in the post-9/11 blog world, has gone dark. The site was an offshoot of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, and featured several prominent liberal writers.
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.”
From day one, Think Progress went to war with the right. They didn't invent many of the attack themes used by liberals today, but they became experts at the casual smears, the exaggerations, and the false charges that have come to characterize leftist propaganda.
Many Think Progress alumni have gone on to become highly influential in far-left circles:
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.
In the end, the unique set-up with a non-profit think tank funding the site doomed Think Progress to extinction. Few companies have been able to figure out how to monetize political websites -- PJ Media's parent company, Salem Communications, being one of them. CAP found itself unable to offset much of the cost associated with operating a daily new site, and couldn't find a buyer willing to take on the $3 million difference between revenue and expenses.
I suppose gloating might be premature. Political opinion sites are in deep trouble because ad revenue fell through the floor. But somehow, it feels good to see a site that savaged so many on the right brought low.