Unable to find a buyer, Think Progress shuts down

Think Progress is no more. It has ceased to be. It has expired and gone to meet its maker. It is bereft of life. The Daily Beast reports the good news:

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. 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.

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.

None of this comes as a surprise. Back in June, the Daily Beast reported the site was in trouble after years of running deficits. The site was running $3 million short in 2019 and employees were being counseled to find other jobs before it collapsed completely.

In July the Daily Beast reported the site was up for sale. Apparently there were as many as 20 buyers under consideration at one point but nothing ever panned out. Whoever would have bought the site was looking at an unending string of red ink. As the DB put it, “ThinkProgress has never been profitable.”

As I said back in June, I had some experiences with Think Progress years ago that convinced me it was not a site that cared terribly much about the accuracy of what it published. So I won’t be missing them. But it seems there’s still a huge market out there for left-wing content of this type. As the Daily Beast points out, TP alumni are now running campaigns and a host of other progressive sites:

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.

So, yeah, thanks for all of that, I guess. Erick Erickson suggests the problem was too much competition from the mainstream for progressive eyeballs:

He may have a point but I don’t think that’s all of it. There was certainly a time, more than a decade ago now, when the name “Think Progress” may have been seen as a home for a certain brand of wonky, young progressives who were considered hot stuff at the time. But let’s face it, thinking isn’t nearly as hip as it once was on the far left. Now it’s more about emoting and resistance and canceling enemies. Sites like Now This and Upworthy seem designed to cater to these newer progressives who need emotional content more than they need that “one chart” that explains everything.

I can’t quite bring myself to celebrate anyone losing a job in this business, but let’s face it there are plenty of other progressive sites out there, not to mention all of the supposedly neutral sites that are unofficially progressive. Most of these people will probably just be hired by someone else. But I will say good riddance to Think Progress. I won’t miss it even a little. The three potential buyers who managed to avoid getting saddled with this money-losing turd should be celebrating their good fortune.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.