Think Progress is a “project” of the American Progress Action Fund (APAF), a “sister advocacy organization” of the John Podesta-led Center for American Progress (CAP) and CAP’s entities such as Campus Progress. It also draws freely on the resources of the George Soros-funded Media Matters website edited by David Brock.
Think Progress is an Internet blog that “pushes back, daily,” by its own account, against its conservative targets, and supports the APAF agenda: to transform “progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing and advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders throughout the country and the world.” Think Progress promotes an agenda identical to that of the left wing of the Democratic Party.
“What We’re Fighting For,” says the Think Progress website, are: “Social and Economic Justice,” “Healthy Communities,” “Global Leadership” and “A Secure America.” These terms are code for an agenda that is anti-capitalist, suspicious of the American military, obsessed with multilateral restraints on U.S. power, and distributionist in domestic fiscal matters.
“What We’re Fighting Against,” says the Think Progress website, are: “Corrupt Establishment,” “Incompetent Establishment,” “Braindead Media,” and “Radical Right-Wing Agenda.”
The editors and main bloggers of Think Progress are Judd Legum and Christy Harvey.
Legum is the Research Director at the Center for American Progress and Co-Editor of The Progress Report, an APAF publication of news and commentary that Legum claims is emailed each weekday to 60,000 “progressive” readers. Harvey is Director of Strategic Communications at the Center for American Progress and Co-Editor of The Progress Report. She was a regular guest on Air America Radio‘s The Al Franken Show.
Legum and Harvey co-authored a January 2005 article with Jonathan Baskin titled “The Death Squad Option” that suggested American troops were wantonly killing or kidnapping suspect Iraqis. Drawing a parallel with Reagan policy in El Salvador in the 1980s, the authors cited a 1993 United Nations-sponsored “truth commission” report claiming that up to “90 percent of the atrocities in the conflict” were committed by the U.S.-sponsored “death squads.” “Faced with an intractable insurgency in Iraq,” wrote Legum, Harvey and Baskin, “the Pentagon is returning to its bad old ways.”
CAP Fellow David Sirota, who also writes for Think Progress, worked for two years as chief spokesman for Democrats on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. Prior to that he was spokesman for independent Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the main American branch of the Socialist International and the founder of the Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives.
In March 2014, Zaid Jilani, a former blogger with Think Progress, revealed the Obama administration frequently attempted to censor the blog’s content when it departed from the White House’s agenda. “One of the controversial topics that was very constrained in our writing at ThinkProgress in 2009 was [the war in] Afghanistan,” Jilani wrote. “CAP had decided not to protest Obama’s surge, so most of our writing on the topic was simply neutral — we weren’t supposed to take a strong stand.”
But in one particular post in 2011, Jilani pointed out that by the end of Obama’s Afghan “surge,” U.S. troop levels would actually be higher than at any point in the George W. Bush administration. The Obama administration was incensed. Said Jilani:
“Phone calls from the White House started pouring in, berating my bosses for being critical of Obama on this policy…. Soon afterwards all of us ThinkProgress national security bloggers were called into a meeting with CAP senior staff and basically berated for opposing the Afghan war and creating daylight between us and Obama.”
“It confused me a lot because on the one hand, CAP was advertising to donors that it opposed the Afghan war,” Jilani noted. “In our ‘Progressive Party,’ the annual fundraising party we do with both Big Name Progressive Donors and corporate lobbyists (in the same room!) we even advertised that we wanted to end the war in Afghanistan.
“What that meeting with CAP senior staff showed me was that they viewed being closer to Obama and aligning with his policy as more important than demonstrating progressive principle, if that meant breaking with Obama. Essentially, they were doing the same thing to us [that] RT America [Russia Today—an English-speaking media outlet funded directly by Moscow] is telling its American producers to do now—align with your boss, who is the president of the country.”
Shortly after Jilani made his remarks, Salon writer David Sirota tweeted: “I can attest that I experienced similar kinds of editorial pressures when I was at CAP.”
On August 14, 2014, Think Progress’ deputy economic policy editor, Alan Pyke, was angered by the manner in which Fox News was covering the riots that had been raging in recent days in Ferguson, Missouri in response to the August 9 killing — by a white police officer — of an unarmed 18-year-old black male named Michael Brown in circumstances that were not yet clear. Venting his rage, Pyke posted (on Twitter) the following tweet about Fox News president Roger Ailes: “I hope Roger Ailes dies slow, painful, and soon. The evil that man has done to the American tapestry is unprecedented for an individual.”