The liberal news website ThinkProgress is shutting down after a 15-year run due to a lack of interest among potential buyers targeted by the Center for American Progress, the think tank that currently owns it.
The website, which rose to prominence in the George W. Bush presidency by producing original reporting targeting conservatives, will shut its doors on Friday and its URL will be repurposed to showcase the policy and political analysis of CAP scholars, The Daily Beast first reported.
“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 Navin Nayak, the executive director of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “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 staffers will be laid off but they will receive severance pay through November and health benefits through the end of the year.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, founded CAP in 2003, and former Clinton White House aide Neera Tanden serves as the organization’s president.
The website’s editorial staff unionized in 2015 in order to secure its independence from CAP leadership, but the site continued to be burdened by accusations of partisan allegiance to the Clintons and the Democratic party establishment more broadly.
The stolen trove of Podesta’s emails published by WikiLeaks in 2016 revealed that ThinkProgress founder Judd Legum assisted the Clinton campaign in formulating political attacks on opponent Bernie Sanders. Legum, who left the website last year, called CAP’s decision to shut it down “disheartening” in a Friday Twitter thread.
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
The website was also struggling financially. Internal records obtained by The Daily Beast reveal it carried a $3 million budget deficit, $350,000 of which resulted from an advertising-revenue shortfall.