A pricey, new subscription-based media company is backed by a prominent Democrat who has been a “longtime fundraiser” for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, according to New York Times media columnist Ben Smith.
Punchbowl, which was founded by now-former Politico journalists Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan, was featured in the Times on Sunday night. The story notes that Aryeh Bourkoff, the man who led Punchbowl’s $1 million investment round, isn’t exactly nonpartisan.
“Bourkoff is a Democrat and longtime fundraiser for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,” Smith wrote, noting that the media banker is also “close” to Jared Kushner, but Bourkoff’s spokeswoman didn’t want that tidbit mentioned in the story.
When reached by Fox News, Palmer insisted that Punchbowl will fairly cover Harris despite Bourkoff’s involvement.
“Areyh and his firm have no involvement in our editorial product. Punchbowl News was started by three veteran journalists with the reputation of being fair and producing insightful coverage. We will always play it straight down the line,” Palmer said.
Punchbowl’s website says its “credo is Power, People, Politics,” and promises to “focus relentlessly on the people in Washington who make decisions, and on the news and events that will move political markets.”
It remains to be seen if Punchbowl will cover both parties fairly, but Smith noted it “promises a scoop-driven, just-the-facts-ma’am operation.”
“Then there’s the question of how to cover the Republican Party, many of whose top figures have indicated they will vote to reject the results of the presidential election,” Smith wrote. “Is this a political party responding to its constituents, and should be covered as such? Or should reporters spend most of their time treating the House minority as a toxic anti-democratic sect?”
One thing is clear: the upstart news organization has a specific target audience.
“They’re shooting for a high annual subscription rate, $300, and aiming their newsletter at people for whom politics is a profession or at least a real obsession,” Smith wrote.
The pricey membership comes with three daily newsletters, breaking news and context on “market-moving political events,” “insight into Washington’s most powerful leaders” and “exclusive community events,” according to Punchbowl’s website.