When Colorado billionaire Philip Anschutz decided to take The Weekly Standard off life support and focus his finances on other projects like Washington Examiner magazine and Coachella (as Cockburn reported before anyone else), many in the media wondered what would be next for neocon big guns like former editor-at-large Bill Kristol and popular podcaster Charlie Sykes.
Those questions were answered last week with the launch of The Bulwark, an anti-Trump conservative website staffed by several Standard alums and edited by Sykes. The site had previously served as an aggregator for the Defending Democracy Together think tank, which was launched by Kristol, Mona Charon and others in August 2018.
This piqued Cockburn’s interest. At a dinner party way back in early November, some of his more MAGA acquaintances – Cockburn is friends to all and sundry – had whispered an outrageous rumor: that Kristol and Charon were contemplating the launch of a new media venture…funded by none other than George Soros. Needless to say, Cockburn assumed it was dribble and went back to his Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Could the Trumpsters have had it right though? Kristol excels at finding liberal donors to nominally conservative projects. A National Interest article uncovered that one of the major donors to Defending Democracy Together was eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Would it be such a stretch to believe another progressive billionaire like Soros might have thrown Kristol some bucks?
Cockburn thought he might as well double-check, so he pinged an email over to Kayla Gowdy, Communications Director of Defending Democracy Together, and Assistant Editor at The Bulwark.
Her denial was unequivocal: ‘I can assure you that Mr Soros has not provided The Bulwark with any financial backing and any rumors of such are 100 percent false.’
Who could doubt Kayla? Some things are just too NeverTrumpy to be true.
In a CNN article about the site, Sykes told Oliver Darcy that although his site had secured around $1m in funding, they would be seeking further donations. ‘As far as I’m concerned, we are not going to get any Russian or Saudi money, so we are going to have to hope to get support from donors across the country and political spectrum who are willing to put country over party.’
So George, if you’re reading – maybe cut The Bulwark a check or two.