Lee Fang

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Lee Fang is a paid writer for the Center for American Progress.

Lee lives in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He has a B.A. in government and politics from the University of Maryland-College Park.

He has worked as an intern at Media Matters for America. He has also interned for Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), and Westin Rinehart.

In 2005, Fang began working in the communications department at Think Progress.

Fang's work has been described as a "disingenuous smear" and as intellectually dishonest.[1][2]

Characterizations of his work

Comments that have been made about the quality of Fang's work include:

  • "Lee Fang’s report is a tissue of lies."[1]
  • "Lee Fang [is] a shill for the people who pay his salary. In case you’re not sure who that is, Think Progress is an arm of the Center for American Progress, the liberal interest group most closely associated with the Obama White House."[3]
  • "Mr. Fang poses as a muckraker exposing a nefarious web of high finance. What is bizarre about this is that he himself lives on the largesse of billionaire liberals. [His employer, the Center for American Progress] took in over $28 million in donations from rich liberals in 2008. These figures dwarf the paltry sums about which Fang pretends to be indignant--$20,000! $300,000!"[4]
  • "Fang doesn’t give a damn about the truth, he cares about creating a plausible narrative that will allow the media to dismiss protesters en masse as a rabble."
  • "[Fang’s] job seems to consist of making wild claims which are momentarily plausible enough to be picked up by ostensibly credible news sources like Paul Krugman, MSNBC, Nancy Pelosi and the DNC."[5]
  • "Nearly every element of Fang’s video was deceitful in some way. But of course Fang never acknowledged it. He never walks back any of his ridiculous smears, he just moves on to the next one."[6]
  • "A goofball left-wing web site called Think Progress seems to have assigned one Lee Fang to the Koch beat, full-time. Judging from his photo on the web site, Fang appears to be a high school student...But give him credit: Fang evidently noticed that the absence of quotation marks in [a story by Eric Lipton in the New York Times about Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity] was a problem, so [Fang added quotation marks that were not in the New York Times story]...To be fair to young Mr. Fang, it is possible that in his school they don't get to quotation marks until 12th grade."[7]
  • "Next we have this fevered piece, by someone named Lee Fang, titled: 'How John Birch Society Extremism Never Dies: The Fortune Behind Scott Walker's Union-Busting Campaign.' I have no idea who Lee Fang is, but I can tell you this: he was born too late. His paranoid style would have fit beautifully with the John Birch Society, circa 1964. There is no parallel, nowadays, on the right, but you can still find that kind of conspiratorial thinking on the left."[4]

Tea Parties

One of the jobs assigned to Fang at the Center for American Progress is to write posts saying that some fiscally conservative organizations helped organize the 2009 tea parties and painting the tea party movement in a negative light.

In July 2010, Fang posted a video that "purported to be a collection of clips demonstrating racism at the Tea Parties. Fang later corrected the post to admit that one of the clips he used came from 2006, long before there were any Tea Parties.":[3]

"What he failed to correct was the use of another clip showing a man saying “I’m a proud racist.” This snippet came from a longer clip which shows the man in question being hounded out of a Tea Party event by members who were understandably offended by his Nazi apparel. Even worse, Fang deceptively edited a clip of a man saying 'He’s too black to be President…' Sounds pretty racist until you see the full clip in which the man, who was attending with his black wife, says 'It’s not the color of his skin that troubles me, it’s not the blackness of his skin that troubles me. It’s the blackness inside his heart. He’s a bad guy.' This is the kind of blatantly dishonest scoop Lee Fang consistently produces."[3]

In 2009, Fang published a piece alleging that he had discovered a "secret memo" urging tea party members to infiltrate town halls and harrass Democratic members of Congress.

"The claim was picked up first by Rachel Maddow and then, just five days after Fang’s initial post, the DNC produced a new ad based around his claims. The not-so-subtle title was “Enough of the Mob.” Over an image of Fang’s 'leaked' memo, a narrator intones 'This mob activity is straight from the playbook of high level Republican political operatives.'...But as Mary Katherine Ham at the Weekly Standard soon discovered the memo’s author was a small time Connecticut libertarian whose only connection with the Tea Party was a comment he’d left on a website promoted, but not funded, by Freedom Works. MacGuffie’s political organization had a Facebook page with 23 friends and a Twitter feed with 5 followers. His strategy memo had been sent to all of 10 people."[3]

Net Neutrality

After he purpoted to discover "a secret plan to attack net neutrality", questions arose about the accuracy of Fang's reporting:

"Fang put up a splashy post claiming that Telecom companies had a 'Secret Plan to Attack Net Neutrality.' His evidence was a Power Point presentation which purportedly revealed a dastardly marketing plan by giant telecom companies. Slashdot, Boing Boing and many others quickly jumped on Fang’s scoop. But when Declan McCullah at CNet took the time to look into Fang’s claims, he found them to be completely and utterly false. The Power Point wasn’t produced by a Telecom company but by a group of MBA students for a class project at a total cost of $173. Both the Power Point and audio of the class were posted on the web. So much for Fang’s secret cabal."[3]

External links