Lee Fang (born October 31, 1986) is an American journalist. He is currently an investigative reporter at The Intercept. Previously, he was a reporting fellow at The Nation Institute and a contributing writer at The Nation.[1] Fang was also a writer at progressive outlet the Republic Report.[2][3] He began his career as an investigative blogger for ThinkProgress.[4] In 2018, the Izzy Award of the Park Center for Independent Media was awarded to Fang and fellow Intercept reporter Sharon Lerner, and was also shared by investigative reporter Dahr Jamail, and author Todd Miller.[5]

Early life and career[edit]

Fang's hometown is in Prince George's County, Maryland.[6] He attended the University of Maryland, College Park, graduating with a B.A. in government and politics in 2009.[7] In college, Fang served as President of the Federation of Maryland College Democrats, editor of the Maryland College Democrat blog, and on the Campus Progress Advisory Board.[8] Fang interned with ThinkProgress and served as a researcher for Progressive Accountability.[9] As an undergraduate, Fang also interned for Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD), for progressive media watchdog group Media Matters for America, and for the lobbying firm Westin Rinehart.[6]


In 2011, Fang published several articles where he alleged that special interests manipulated the media reaction to the Occupy Wall Street protests.[10][11]

United States Chamber of Commerce article[edit]

An article posted on ThinkProgress on October 5, 2010, authored by Fang, attracted attention and controversy. Fang wrote a story in which he alleged that the United States Chamber of Commerce funded political attack campaigns from its general fund, which solicits funds from foreign sources. Fang stated that the Chamber was "likely skirting longstanding campaign finance law that bans the involvement of foreign corporations in American elections."[12]

The story was repeated by The Huffington Post and the progressive activist group MoveOn.org asked the Department of Justice to launch a criminal investigation of the Chamber's funding.[13]

The fact-checking website FactCheck.org analyzed the claim that "foreign corporations are 'stealing our democracy' with secret, illegal contributions funneled through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce," noting that ThinkProgress made the initial allegations.[14] FactCheck concluded that "It’s a claim with little basis in fact."[14] Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times wrote that the article "provided no evidence that the money generated overseas had been used in United States campaigns."[15]

Reporting on Koch Industries[edit]

In April 2011, Fang wrote an article titled "The Contango Game: How Koch Industries Manipulates The Oil Market For Profit," in which he said "Koch Industries occupies a unique role in manipulating the oil market."[16] The story was picked up by CBS.[17]

Fang had previously written about Charles and David Koch,[18][19] and he was involved with a Robert Greenwald documentary titled Koch Brothers Exposed.[20] In March 2011, he reported that New Media Strategies, a firm employed by the Kochs, had been caught manipulating Wikipedia content and were banned from the website for sockpuppetry.[21] Politico wrote that "Fang’s relentless chronicling of the Koch brothers have made him something of a star on the left."[22]

The Intercept[edit]

Fang started working with The Intercept as an investigative reporter in February 2015.[1]

In June 2020, Fang was accused of racism by Akela Lacy, a colleague at The Intercept. This occurred after Fang shared a Martin Luther King Jr. quote about remaining non-violent and tweeted out an interview in which a black man at a George Floyd protest expressed concern about black-on-black crime. Fang's tweets set off a "firestorm" on Twitter and he issued a lengthy apology.[23][24][25]

Political views[edit]

Fang has been described as a "liberal" by The New York Times, and as both "liberal" and "progressive" by Salon.[26][27] Liberal commentator Jonathan Chait described Fang as "left-wing" and wrote "Like many Bernie Sanders supporters, Fang often lacerates mainstream liberals both for insufficient populist zeal and, on occasion, for excessive focus on identity at the expense of class. His views on economics put him well to the left of the Democratic Party, while his views on race and gender would sit comfortably in the middle of it, and often put him at odds with fellow leftists."[23]

According to Fang, "I like hanging out with fully grassroots Tea Party activists because, for the most part, whatever their motivations are, they're just upset about society and they want to do something about it which, at the core, I respect even though I pretty much disagree with their worldview."[28]



  1. ^ a b Reed, Betsy (February 4, 2015). "Welcome to The Intercept, Lee Fang". The Intercept. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Lee Fang". The Republic Report. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Lee Fang". The Intercept. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  4. ^ Shakir, Faiz. "Farewell to our Friends and Colleagues Matt Yglesias and Lee Fang". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
  5. ^ Izzy Award to be Shared by Investigative Journalists Lee Fang, Sharon Lerner, Dahr Jamail and Todd Miller, Ithaca College, David Maley, March 13, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Lee Fang". ThinkProgress. Archived from the original on 10 January 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  7. ^ Kredo, Adam (July 31, 2012). "High Times at the Nation". Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Student Advisory Board (2006-2007)". Generation Progress. Generation Progress. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  9. ^ Shakir, Faiz (November 19, 2011). "Farewell To Our Friends And Colleagues Matt Yglesias And Lee Fang". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  10. ^ Julia La Roche (2011-10-10). "Blogger Tries To Smear Occupy Wall Street Critics By Tying Them To A Hedge Funder". Business Insider. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  11. ^ Ungerleider, Neal (2011-09-21). "Occupy Wall Street: Tahrir Over Here?". Fast Company. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  12. ^ Fang, Lee. "Exclusive: Foreign-Funded 'U.S.' Chamber of Commerce Running Partisan Attack Ads". ThinkProgress.Org.
  13. ^ Stein, Sam (5 October 2010). "MoveOn Asks DoJ To Launch Criminal Investigation Of Chamber's Funding". Huffington Post. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Foreign Money? Really?". FactCheck.org. October 11, 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  15. ^ Lichtblau, Eric (8 October 2010). "Topic of Foreign Money in U.S. Races Hits Hustings". The New York Times. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  16. ^ Fang, Lee (2011-04-13). "The Contango Game: How Koch Industries Manipulates The Oil Market For Profit". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  17. ^ Sherter, Alain (April 15, 2011). "Contango Lesson: How Koch Industries Raises Gas Prices". CBS. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  18. ^ Cynthia Stead (2011-04-21). "Revealing insights in media reform". CapeCodOnline.com. Archived from the original on 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  19. ^ People and Power (March 29, 2012). "The Koch Brothers - People & Power". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  20. ^ "Lee Fang". Koch Brothers Exposed. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  21. ^ Koch Industries Employs PR Firm To Airbrush Wikipedia, Gets Banned For Unethical ‘Sock Puppets’, Think Progress, Lee Fang, March 9, 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  22. ^ Smith, Ben; Vogel, Kenneth (April 12, 2011). "Center for American Progress news team takes aim at GOP". Politico. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  23. ^ a b Chait, Jonathan (June 11, 2020). "The Still-Vital Case for Liberalism in a Radical Age". New York Magazine. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  24. ^ Evans, Zachary; Loftus, John (June 11, 2020). "The Cancel Counter". The National Review. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  25. ^ Rutz, David (June 4, 2020). "NYT Reporter Cheers Denunciation of Left-Wing Writer as 'Racist' for Protest Coverage". Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  26. ^ Rutenberg, Jim (February 23, 2013). "A Conservative Provocateur, Using a Blowtorch as His Pen". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  27. ^ Greenwald, Glenn (July 30, 2012). "Free speech and donations". Salon. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  28. ^ "Lee Fang talks about his book "The Machine: A Field Guide to the Resurgent Right" & corporatist influence in the U.S." Eclectablog. 2013-04-30. Retrieved 5 January 2014.

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