A laptop computer sits on a counter in an empty room.

ThinkProgress Just Abruptly Down After Nearly 15 Years of Kickass Progressive Journalism

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For more than a decade, ThinkProgress has been one of the leading liberal news sources on the web. The site was founded in 2005 as an editorially independent project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund and was a beacon of left-leaning coverage through the beginning of the Iraq War and into the Obama era. It’s been one of the best examples of how having an unapologetic editorial slant doesn’t mean sacrificing journalistic integrity. (Something its rightwing counterparts have yet to figure out.)

The Daily Beast is now reporting that ThinkProgress is shutting down. Apparently, they’d been looking for a new buyer for a while now and despite some serious contenders, they never secured a new funder.

This is so sad for so many reasons. It’s not just the loss of a terrific left-leaning site–although that is disappointing enough. But at the same time we’ve seen a major rise in far-right journalism like Brietbart and Fox News with a direct funnel of influence into the highest level of politics, causing even “unbiased” journalism outlets to skew right, seemingly out of fear of being called “fake news” if they choose to accurately depict reality.

It also feels like an indication of the waning respect for online journalism that this is yet another site that shut down without such little warning that even its founder (who no longer worked at the site, to be fair) didn’t know about the decision until it was reported elsewhere.

What’s even worse is watching the vultures start to swarm. Obviously, there are a ton of right-wing outlets and supporters gloating over the loss of jobs and the hit to journalism. But there’s also billionaire Tom Steyer, who was on the board of the Center for American Progress Action Fund until he decided to be another “Who?” in the 2020 Democratic primary race. Obviously, Steyer can choose to do whatever he wants with his money, but he has received a lot of criticism for choosing to put so much money (an estimated $100 million) into losing a presidential race rather than, say, funding Senate races across the country.

And now he’s offering jobs to the displaced. Those getting the offers seem less than thrilled.

RIP, ThinkProgress. You will be missed.

(image Matthew Henry from Burst)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.