The Branch is a nonprofit digital media company. Originally called Lost Debate, we deliver commentary and original reporting through podcasts, articles, and video. 

We believe the most important conversations in society happen in the dark corners of the Internet—on platforms dominated by political arsonists, nihilists, and extremists. Our mission is to infuse more empathy and objectivity into those conversations.

What you get from us are nuanced, thorough, and entertaining conversations and debates about issues other outlets either ignore or get wrong. We steel-(wo)man our arguments, taking the time to build up the best case for the opposing view–and we attract hosts and reporters from across the political spectrum. We also reject the simplistic and disingenuous populism rampant in so many alternative-media outlets.

In short, we’re political eclectics who don’t neatly fit in any ideological camps. And we love to nerd out on issues and challenge each other.

So, whether you’re independent, undefined, or simply confused, you’re exactly where you should be. Heck, if you’re an avid partisan who simply wants to test your assumptions, join us.

We’re not out to convert, just converse.


Clicks and eyeballs. That’s what most for-profit media companies care about. What’s the easiest and quickest way to attract both? Provide divisive and even incendiary content that distorts the truth and preys on the raw emotions of your “side.”

We believe that by removing the profit motive, we have the freedom to tell the stories we want to, the way we want to—with empathy, nuance, and an openness that doesn’t always equate to dollars. Ultimately, this means we depend on your generosity to ensure we can keep creating meaningful content.

Feeling Generous?

our values


It’s easy to say, “fuck the experts” or “abolish the FBI” when you don’t have skin in the game or an obligation to articulate an alternative. We believe in the power of institutions to improve people’s lives and that they should more often be reformed than torn down. 

Focused on the Future

Most media outlets are too obsessed with adult grudges and not enough on the next generation. That’s why we devote a lot of our content to how our schools can best set kids up for success.  


A diverse team is a strong team, and we embrace colleagues from different political, racial, ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Yet, we’re defined not by our differences but by our shared values and goals.


We say what we believe. We aren’t afraid to take on powerful interests, invite heat on social media, or to even offend our friends if it advances our mission.

Ethically Contrarian

The Branch provides little value as the thousandth voice in a chorus. Whenever consensus forms around a position, it is usually of little interest to us, unless we challenge that consensus.

Aggressively Humble

We admit mistakes and rectify those mistakes with an effort commensurate with the harm caused by our errors. We spend time and effort to “steel-(wo)man” our arguments by identifying the strongest points and nuances of the other side of a position before engaging. And when we get a story wrong, we correct it as fast as we can.