Nov 14, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Lincoln Project, ABC News alums launching pro-democracy media company

Illustrated collage of hands stretched and raised up in unison surrounded by abstract shapes.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Two network news veterans and key players from the Lincoln Project are teaming up to launch a "pro-democracy" media company on the same day that former President Trump is expected to announce his 2024 bid.

Why it matters: The founders of the new website, Resolute Square, say they aim to counter the right-wing media ecosystem — and be a home to people who reject political extremism and the GOP.

  • "There's a world of people who have spent the last six to seven years screaming at their television and watching this poison,” Stuart Stevens, a veteran Republican strategist and senior adviser to the Lincoln Project, told Axios. "This is the answer."

Driving the news: The website will launch Tuesday at noon. The four Lincoln Project advisers involved will hold their first "strategy call" video livestream to analyze Trump's campaign announcement that evening.

  • The group includes Stevens, Rick Wilson, Reed Galen and Joe Trippi — and ABC News veterans Paul Slavin (who will serve as CEO) and Keith Summa (the new editor-in-chief and general manager).
  • The group members will create all of the content to start, but are actively recruiting contributing writers and video producers "who have an interesting take on why this moment is so critical," Stevens said.

The details: Resolute Square will have free and paid newsletters, articles, podcasts, and video livestreams, offering three tiers for a membership subscription ranging from $60 to $200 a year.

  • Wilson and Trippi have previously existing podcasts that will now be part of Resolute Square, but the company plans to create its own podcasts too.
  • The Lincoln Project and Resolute Square are not linked in any official way, beyond sharing a similar objective and some of the same personnel, founders said.

Zoom in: The group won't describe itself as a "news organization," Stevens said, because it wants no "obligations to tell both sides of a lie.”

  • "We’re going to proudly declare we’re all bias, all the time. All bias of democracy," he added. "One of the slogans we’re using is, 'We’re right, they’re wrong.'"

Flashback: As Axios' Sara Fischer scooped at the time, the Lincoln Project intended to become a media business in 2020 in an effort to spin the massive audience it built for political influence into commercial media success.

  • More recently, the Lincoln Project has been under intense scrutiny.
  • A Showtime documentary about the group revealed that "it was riddled with infighting, betrayals, financial disputes and charges of inappropriate sexual advances by one of the co-founders," per the Washington Post.
  • That co-founder, John Weaver, has left the Lincoln Project and is not involved in the media company venture.
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