When bloggers at Think Progress became too critical of President Obama's Afghanistan war policy their bosses at the Center for American Progress heard about it from the White House. Shortly thereafter, Think Progress writers were "berated" by supervisors for "creating daylight" between CAP and the White House.
Zaid Jilani worked as a blogger at Think Progress from 2009 until January 2012. In a blog post at his Tumblr site, Jilani explains how a story critical of the President's Afghan withdrawal plan led to a White House backlash:
was one of the most successful things I had ever written to that point.
It was featured by MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell and the Congressional
Progressive Caucus used it in their briefings to criticize Obama’s plan.
I felt great — like I was actually doing the right thing about
Afghanistan for once at an institution that had remained quiet or
supportive of Obama’s policy there, which in my view was accomplishing
little but more bloodshed.
But then phone calls from the White House started pouring in,
berating my bosses for being critical of Obama on this policy. Obama’s
advisor Ben Rhodes — speaking of a staffer who follows policy set by
others for his career path — even made a post on the White House blog
more or less attacking my chart by fudging the numbers and including
both the Iraq and Afghan troop levels in a single chart to make it seem
as if the surge never happened (the marvels of things you can do in
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...
But 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.