ThinkProgress is an American political advocacy blog that is part of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a progressive public policy organization. It is edited by Judd Legum, who founded it in 2005. It is divided into the sections climate, economy, health, justice, LGBT, world, culture, sports, politics and features.
ThinkProgress was founded in 2005 by Judd Legum, a lawyer, who ran the site until he left in 2007. Faiz Shakir edited the site from 2007 to 2012, when he became Nancy Pelosi's Director of New Media, and Legum became editor-in-chief. ThinkProgress included a daily newsletter that contained a recap and analysis of major political news and the blog Wonk Room, which was published until 2011. In that year, the site was redesigned to offer separate blog sections, organised by subject matter, and consolidated additional CAP blogs. The blog's sections include climate, economy, health, justice, LGBT, world, culture, sports, politics and features.
According to About.com, ThinkProgress "is frequently ranked amongst the top five most popular blogs on Technorati." In September 2015, the staff of ThinkProgress unionised with the Writers Guild of America, East. Previous staffers who have gone on to write for additional media outlets include Alyssa Rosenberg and Andrea Peterson, who joined The Washington Post; Matthew Yglesias, who moved to Slate and then Vox; Zaid Jilani, who writes for various media; and Nico Pitney and Amanda Terkel, who joined The Huffington Post.
ThinkProgress's climate section, Climate Progress, was founded by climate scientist Joseph J. Romm. The blog discusses climate and energy, political news related to climate change, and responses to climate change by the media. In 2008, Time magazine named Climate Progress one of the "Top 15 Green Websites". In 2009, Thomas Friedman, in his column in The New York Times, called Climate Progress "the indispensable blog", and in 2010 Time included it in a list of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010". In 2010, UK's The Guardian ranked Climate Progress at the top of its list of blogs in its "Top 50 Twitter climate accounts to follow".
Accusations of bias
Chamber of Commerce article
In 2010, Lee Fang wrote in ThinkProgress that the United States Chamber of Commerce funded political advertising campaigns from its general fund, which solicits funds from foreign sources. The Huffington Post reported that MoveOn.org asked the United States Department of Justice to investigate. FactCheck.org said that the claim that "foreign corporations are 'stealing our democracy' with secret, illegal contributions funnelled through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce" had "little basis in fact. ... At least 84 foreign companies pay at least $885,000 in dues to the [Chamber of Commerce], according to ThinkProgress. Still lacking, though, is any proof that the money is being used in the chamber’s ad campaign." Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times said that the article "provided no evidence that the money generated overseas had been used in United States campaigns."
Anti-Israel and pro-Israel bias
In 2011, Josh Block, a former spokesman from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, accused various liberal writers, including several at ThinkProgress, of antisemitism. In a private listserv, Block distributed a compilation of writings and additional public statements on Israel by Center for American Progress (CAP), the parent organisation of ThinkProgress, and Media Matters for America, encouraging "neoconservative journalists and pundits" to amplify the attacks on media. Ben Smith of Politico asserted that Media Matters for America and CAP were "two of the Democratic Party’s core institutions challenging a bipartisan consensus on Israel and Palestine." ThinkProgress stood by its reporting and denied the charges of antisemitism. Smith later acknowledged receiving the dossier from Block prior to his Politico post. Block's campaign was repudiated in public by a lobbying associate of his, and "the Democratic-aligned Truman National Security Project then expelled Block for using 'mischaracterization or character attacks' in order to impede 'the ability to debate difficult topics freely.'"
Former ThinkProgress writer Zaid Jilani used the term "Israel-firsters" on his personal Twitter account, referring to Americans who allegedly prioritise the interests of the Israeli government over those of the United States. Several Jewish organisations said the term can be construed as anti-Israel or antisemitic. The tweets were deleted, and Jilani and the editor of ThinkProgress apologised for Jilani's use of the term. On his Twitter account, he has accused Neera Tanden, head of CAP, of having censored writings on Palestine and local NYC politics throughout his time at the group.
In 2011, Smith and Kenneth Vogel wrote in Politico that the ThinkProgress reporting staff "isn’t exactly walled off from [the Center for American Progress Action Fund] message machine, nor does it necessarily keep its distance from liberal groups organising advocacy campaigns targeting conservatives." ThinkProgress editor Legum said ThinkProgress "is editorially independent of CAP."
In 2014, Jilani said that when he wrote for ThinkProgress, he was pressured to support President Barack Obama's policies concerning the Afghanistan troop surge. ThinkProgress editor Legum denied that the blog's editorial process was swayed by the White House.