Rise of the Grifter: A Tim Pool Biography

An image showing Tim Pool on the right side. An American flag is behind him as money flies around him.

Introduction

Tim Pool is a rightwing grifter who receives over 100 million monthly views making him the most viewed independent rightwing Youtube creator. He releases approximately 4+ hours of video per day across his three main channels: Tim Pool, Timcast, and Timcast IRL. He is also the founder of the independent media company SCNR.

Presented below is the most complete (at time of writing) biography of Tim Pool available. It provides a lot of previously obscure or hard to find information about Pool, some of it buried deep in academic journal articles or in a throwaway line in a book. It has taken approximately 70 hours of research to create.

Over the coming months, the biography will continue to expand, however, I think it is vitally important to put it up now to act as a quick reference for people creating content about Tim, whether that be in an article or a Youtube video.

If you enjoy this post/biography please consider subscribing to our Patreon to help us bring you further stories and investigations like this (Patreon.com/TimPoolClips).

Birth and Early Years

Timothy Daniel Pool was born on March 9th 1986 (records don’t state whether he came out of the womb with a beanie). He grew up in Chicago’s Southside with his three siblings.

Pool’s father was a firefighter and his mother sold cars. Pool has described how his family was middle class but then fell on hard times and later became lower middle class; this appears to have coincided with Pool’s mother losing her job.

Pool and his family were staunch Christians and he attended a Catholic school until fifth grade. In sixth grade, he transferred to a public school and also drifted away from religion, becoming a firm atheist for a while. Politically he has described his family as moderate Democrats.

Pool attended high school for a couple of months before dropping out at 14 and continuing his education at home using books he received in the mail.

From then on not much is known about him for some time other than that he was an avid skateboarder. Videos from 2003 later uploaded to Youtube in 2006 show him skateboarding wearing his now distinctive beanie.

Recently Tim Pool has repeatedly claimed that during the 2008 election he was drawn to Ron Paul but didn’t vote for him, instead voting for Obama. This is contradicted by statements he made in around 2012 when he claime to have voted for Ron Paul and not Obama.

This brings us to the first example of Pool’s inconsistency. At many different points in his life things just don’t quite add up. If you look at his current Youtube videos you’ll see this pattern reflected where he’ll make two directly opposite and mutually exclusive statements, for example, “I think AOC will lose her primary election” and then a few minutes later he’ll say “I think AOC will win.”

Regardless of who Pool voted for in 2008, in recent years, he has frequently talked about becoming disillusioned by Obama.

Tim Pool first drew media attention in 2009 when he was mentioned in an article noting that he had been recruited to monitor a Chicago skatepark to prevent people from spraying graffiti in it.

2011: Pre-Occupy

In early 2011 Tim moved to LA to pursue an acting career. While there he fell in with a group of people living at a local hackerspace and made a few weird videos with them.

At some point in mid-2011 Pool moved to Newport News Virginia where he worked to build a skatepark with his brother and made instructional skateboarding videos.

During this period in his life Pool has claimed to work for several nonprofits in a variety of roles. In 2012 he specifically named Greenpeace, Environment America, The World Can’t Wait and other antiwar groups. This is where we have another inconsistency. In various publications from 2012 and in the present day he was given or provided the title of “community organizer” or community outreach director yet in other places he has stated he was only a fundraiser and canvasser.

Unconfirmed tweets from October 2020 from a person claiming to know Pool in around 2010/2011 suggest Tim was “always really good at making people trust him very fast. Which was a valuable skill in that job.”

In September 2011, while living in Virginia, Tim was scrolling through the internet one day when he saw a video of police brutality during an Occupy Wall Street action where a cop said: “My little nightstick is going to get a workout tonight.”  This inspired Tim to travel to New York.

2011: Occupy

Getting Started

Pool arrived in New York late at night on September 21st. He spent his first night sleeping rough in a park. Pool started recording things with his phone and uploading them later.

Reports on how and when Pool turned to livestreaming differ slightly with one suggesting he met Vlad Teichberg a derivatives trader turned activist and live-streamer who founded Global Revolution which filmed protests all around the world. In this story, Pool and Vlad became friends shortly after Pool’s arrival in New York and one day in a dramatic moment during a police action Vlad told Pool to download the UStream app and set up a livestream.

The more commonly told story is that soon after arriving in New York Pool met Henry James Ferry who had recently lost his job in academic publishing and together they set up a livestream called The Other 99.

Building A Reputation

At first, Pool was the cameraman while Ferry acted as a reporter in front of the camera. However, Pool was younger, fitter, and more liked by the audience so soon Ferry stopped appearing on the stream and Pool went out and did the filming, narrating what he saw using his phone.

As Ben Lenzner, an academic writing about Pool around the time put it, “Pool’s online audience was asking him to remove the reporter from the frame and they wanted Pool to be both the recorder and the reporter, albeit, more like them, behind the lens, with a smartphone, in a sense almost a representative of themselves on the scene.”  Ironically Pool’s role has now switched completely.

While he was streaming Pool’s audience would ask him questions and give him useful information in real-time. They would also give him instructions on where to go to be in the center of the action. Some of his supporters would even buy him food, water, and spare phone power banks when he requested their assistance. In 2014, Pool compared his livestreaming to being like a first-person journalism video game.

During this time Pool registered the timcast.tv domain name which now redirects to a fan site for Zara Larsson a Swedish singer and songwriter. Pool also registered the domain name occupywallstreet.com and had something related to Occupy as his Twitter name. Some contemporary reports suggest Pool was initially involved in the protests as a protestor but both mainstream media sources and the sources I have spoken to cast doubt on this.

Pool received varying amounts of views on his streams, sometimes pulling in a few dozen people, other times having hundreds or thousands. One day he ran into Michael Moore, Moore had been scheduled to appear on CNBC but apparently, they couldn’t film where he was appearing so Pool walked up and started interviewing him.

Tim Pool’s breakout moment came on November 15th 2011 when the police began evicting Zuccotti Park.

Many journalists were barred from entering the park and all the other livestream crews (more on them in a moment) were caught unawares. Pool was lucky and had a partial charge. For the next 21 hours, he streamed non-stop and was brought more batteries and food by his viewers. His stream was featured on NBC, Reuters, CNN, Al Jazeera and other news companies. This day cemented his reputation as “Occupy’s livestreamer.” He was featured in the New York Times, The Guardian, Fast Company, The LA Times, Mashable, Time Magazine, Wired, British GQ, The New Yorker, and more. In 2013 he won a Shorty Award for “Best Journalist in Social Media in 2013.”

He received book offers, joined a speaking agency website, and spoke to Fordham university journalism students. His work was featured and analysed in multiple academic journal articles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), at least one PhD thesis, in several books (1,2,3, 4), and in journalism textbooks (1, 2).

A livestream viewer donated money to buy Tim Pool a drone which he called the Occu-copter and hacked to broadcast live video.  He hoped to eventually be able to control the drone with his mind.

Many people referred to Pool as a citizen journalist which was a term he rejected and fought hard to avoid. He once called himself a social media journalist but seemed to think being called a citizen journalist demeaned the work he did. He was also heavily critical of the media privately saying to one academic “journalists are the enemy.” He also stated he would rather work for 1,000,000 people giving him $1 each than 1 person or company giving him $1,000,000.

Pool was also an idealist. He was once asked which headline he’d like to see in a newspaper and stated: “That is a very difficult question.” But in the end, he settled on “humans have come together to find a better tomorrow and are going to start working on it as soon as possible.”

In 2013 Pool also stated he thought a future world would need to move to a world “closer to socialism.

Occupy: Fault Lines

Throughout the early parts of his career, Tim Pool saw a value in showing everything on camera with no editing – he believed this was the most transparent way to do things.

This put him at odds with Occupy protestors and other live streamers. Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to several other live streamers and people who knew Pool during Occupy. I learned a lot from these conversations.  One overarching point that has stood out is that none have had a positive thing to say about him – he is viewed as a major disappointment.

These conversations revealed that Pool was not the only person livestreaming the protest nor was he even the first. Other groups and people included Global Revolution, The Other 98, OWS NYC, and Occupy Wall Street NYC.

Tensions first began to rise between Pool and the other livestreamers before spreading to the wider movement. One reason for the tensions was his superior equipment and donation. Another factor was the audience he was building. Unlike other livestreamers Pool was constantly narrating events. As one fellow livestreamer explained to me Pool built strong parasocial relationships with his audience and when he was hurt they hurt. His audience would also brigade other livestreams and propagate drama. Rather than hearing from the wider Occupy movement Pool’s audience was drawn to Pool and he, in turn, was drawn to spectacle.

Other live streamers spent hours streaming boring (but initially productive) General Assembly meetings while Pool ran around looking for action.

Some Occupy attendees were critical of Pool for trying to take over the Occupy branding, for example, by buying the occupy Wall Street domain name.

These tensions stayed simmering until Pool started getting on the bad side of other protestors. Whenever protesters engaged in direct action he would be there to record. One memorable clash came when Pool filmed protestors puncturing police car tires during the Zuccotti Park eviction. Other live streamers took a more careful approach to filming and were often protestors themselves.

Although Pool’s filming once actually got someone off a criminal charge he knew and spoke about how the police followed his channel. This latter fact led to protestors growing increasingly concerned.  On at least one occasion Pool had his camera knocked out his hand and made a very big deal about it.

Due to this developing hostility and Pool’s radical commitment to transparency, many Occupy protestors turned on Pool but his audience was largely blissfully unaware except when attacking other live steamers for disagreeing with Pool.

A Gothamist article from the time accuses Pool of being a police snitch however when I put this to other occupy protestors they said that no one “serious” believed that he was a paid police informant but more that he was providing incriminating evidence to the police and landing people in prison.

Despite all his claimed anti-authoritarian impulses Pool wasn’t afraid of letting the police arrest people due to the evidence he broadcast.

During a class he gave at Fordham university Tim Pool was asked “what he saw as the key difference between the coverage of the news on traditional media such as television, and coverage of the news via what he was doing, Pool replied, “we’ve got to get rid of the idea of editing”.

The class’s professor later wrote in reference to Pool “the advent of transmedia transnational video journalism has shifted the balance of news, power, and freedom in the world forever. The three – news, power, and freedom – are closely related. To report news is to have power, and to have both news and power is to have freedom.”

This question of power and editing brings us nicely to a very important part of Pool’s story. One of the people I spoke to explained it like this:

“It seems whether intentionally or conveniently that he cannot perceive power dynamics. Trying to get him to understand why filming the police and filming protesters is not the same thing and that the impact of the communication is not the same and the consequences are not the same, and that that’s something he has to take responsibility for was impossible. He just wouldn’t or could not acknowledge that.”

This lack of understanding of power dynamics is something I may later return to.

Occupy: Endings

As Occupy continued on, Pool and Ferry started falling out. Pool claimed it was because Ferry was spending holidays away from the protest and not contributing enough effort while taking much of the money. Meanwhile, Ferry claimed it was because Pool asked for a minimum compensation of $156,000. Either way, on January 4th Henry changed the livestream password resulted in Pool setting up his own UStream channel which he named Timcast.

Pool filmed for a few months and announced he would make a documentary on Occupy (which he called an ‘Occumentary’). This has yet to materialise.

Pool travelled to several places including in Spain and the UK, as well as breaking news stories like Hurricane Sandy back in the US live-streaming and crashing on inflatable air mattresses in random strangers closets. Some viewed him as the future of journalism and the man who could fix the news. Pool was critical of mainstream media and their reliance on opinion and filtering.

Vice News Era

In June 2013 Tim Pool was an early hire by Vice News.

Seven months on he has had foreign assignments in 14 countries, including to cover the conflicts in Ukraine and Thailand, usually travelling now with a VICE cameraman or producer.” In Istanbul, Turkey, he streamed the events through Google glass.

Around this time Pool also spoke at South by Southwest (1, 2) and a BBC conference in the UK.

Fusion Era

Pool left Vice in June of 2014 and started working at Fusion which later became Splinter in September of 2014 as a director of media innovation/senior correspondent.

While at Fusion Pool made videos about climate change, big corporations, government surveillance and social unrest. Now in 2020, he aligns with the party who denies climate change and smears anyone trying to make the world better by calling them radical, dangerous, stupid, and evil.

Pool helped make a really excellent documentary about Ferguson showing the systemic racism embedded within the justice system and county. For example, the documentary pointed out that due to the county being split into several municipalities each with their own police and court system a person with a broken taillight could be fined in 8 different police districts in one journey and people would get kicked between jails – leading to suicides and frustration.

It was an honestly impressive documentary however it also had a whole crew and director working on it so, in his narration, Pool was probably also reading someone else’s words. Again in the documentary, there is an example of him just not understanding power relations. He focuses on a cop car getting smashed until a black protester turns to his camera and points out that compared to the lives lost to the justice system’s racism, a smashed car was nothing.

Recently, Pool has spoken about getting frustrated at the woke agenda Fusion had pushed and has claimed that he refused to push this agenda and ran out his contract leaving in 2016.

During his time at Fusion, Pool was also making videos on his Youtube channel which are almost unrecognisable to videos he’s making now. He attacked big corporations, corrupt institutions, and privacy invasions. He even attacked Trump in around 2012 due to his birtherism comments.

2016: Independence

From 2016 onwards Tim Pool has largely worked independently.

In 2016, Pool was still averaging relatively low view counts compared to present day and he came off as far more reasonable than he does now. Even in early 2018 the grating tone he is now famous for had not yet fully sunk in.

During this time Tim Pool realised a very key point which was “trust is the #1 most important factor in delivering news. As the big news orgs lose reach and it disperses down to individuals people are looking for a selection of humans, not brands, to listen to.” This more horizontal rather than vertical model of trust is something the book ‘Who Can You Trust’ by Rachel Botsman touches on and Pool grasps it fully.

To build a successful career, Pool knew he had to build a brand around himself as he had done in Occupy so that people would come to him for the news.

Pool has privately claimed to Grftr.news that he doesn’t chase the algorithm. Whether that is true or not is less interesting to me than the fact that for whatever reason he is very attuned to what works and what doesn’t.

In 2019 Pool wrote an article in the conservative website Human Events in which he stated:

“Get people mad, get paid. But how do you keep milking the same cow over and over? You need to radicalize, and the content needs to stay fresh. After all, stale news doesn’t sell.

“Is Trump a Racist?” get you a million views but you can’t write the same story twice.

Tomorrow you write “Trump IS Racist.”

Then “Trump IS THE MOST Racist.”

Then “Is Trump Like Hitler?”

“Trump IS LIKE Hitler.”

“Trump Is WORSE Than Hitler.”

“It’s earning points, visible social approval points that make us feel good. Social media is a fucking drug that is polluting our minds.”

Despite the article being an attack on the media and the left, I think it’s actually more revealing about himself. The last part about earning social media points and feeling good also matches with what people who knew Pool told me. They said they think he’s less interested in the money and more the attention and validation he gets from his fans and views.

2017: Sweden Break

In February 2017 Pool got a huge break.

On February 19th 2017 Trump referred to an event happening in Sweden the night before and suggested refugees were to blame.

The day after Paul Joseph Watson tweeted “Any journalist claiming Sweden is safe; I will pay for travel costs and accommodation for you to stay in crime ridden migrant suburbs in Malmo”

Hundreds of people offered to go but he took up Tim Pool’s offer and paid Pool $2000. Pool also used GoFundMe to raise another $18,000.

Malmo’s deputy mayor Nils Karlsson promised any visiting journalists a warm welcome and then met with Pool.

In the video announcing he was going, Pool had already started defending Trump and then tried to do a bit of both siderism and claimed he wasn’t picking any sides.

Pool also started fear mongering saying he had been warned by other journalists not to go because he could be attacked but said he still wanted to go. Two days later he made another video where he said he had been told not to go.

In Sweden, he interviewed the deputy mayor and then some ordinary people. At times Pool seemed to discount what the deputy mayor had said because of his political leanings.

Interestingly this didn’t seem to always be his approach.

During his videos, one of the other people Pool spoke to was a migrant and his wife. He also spoke to Chang Frick, a person with close far-right links. Pool neglected to disclose this except by saying the Frick was a controversial figure and that some people said he was aligned with a right-wing party.

Pool also spoke to another right-wing Swedish figure who claimed police have lost control. In other publications, this figure has said he believes radical gender ideology is damaging academic freedom.

Pool also spoke to a businessman who claimed to be too scared of backlash if he used his face or real voice.

Pool also spoke to three men who it later emerged are allegedly part of the fringe conspiracy theorist organization Folkresningen de Fria who are sceptical of the Holocaust.

During his interviews, Pool did not push his interviewee’s to answer tough questions or question the meta-narrative he was crafting.

Tim Pool was also involved in an incident where he claimed the police had to escort him away. When reached by the media the police disputed this saying Pool was wrong.

Many people know this much of the story. What is left out of all the coverage is that Tim wasn’t actually the only journalist who went to Sweden.

This shows another through-line in Pool’s career: in almost all the situations he has been involved in there have always been other better sources of reporting who receive little or no recognition.

The other journalist is a man from the UK named James Patrick who used to work for the Metropolitan police before becoming a whistleblower.

His seven-part article series (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) on his Sweden trip paints both a  much more nuanced picture of Sweden but also a much more hopeful one. Unlike Pool who spoke to rightwing anti-immigrant political activists, and rightwing figures, Patrick spoke to Swedish academics, a local police captain, and dozens of local residents. Patrick’s story is the one Pool could have told if he cared less about spectacle and more about facts but unfortunately that’s not Pool’s role.

2019: The Birth of Modern Pool

By 2018, Pool was already almost fully evolved into his modern iteration and produced multiple daily videos. His view and subscriber count was relatively stagnant though did show slow growth. However, at the start of 2019, several things happened at once. First, Pool went from making about three to four videos on his second channel to making five per day, and then on February 8th 2019, he appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience.

Following Pool’s Rogan appearance there was a minor bump in Youtube search interest for him, followed by an even more substantial one after he went on Joe Rogan’s show again to talk with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal and policy March 5th. This cemented his growth and since then, his Youtube career has skyrocketed.

Pool is now the most-watched right-wing Youtuber achieving 100 – 110 million monthly views, and receiving thousands in Youtube live chat donations on his nightly podcast livestream Timcast IRL. He also gets money from sponsorships and YouTube ad revenue very likely earning him at least in the low millions each year.

Recently Pool bought a massive house near DC with 8 bedrooms, several external structures, and a basement basketball court which he’s converting into a skatepark. He lives in this house with several of his crew. Some online commenters have begun referring to this house as a “compound” and arguably they are not far wrong.

Despite all his fame and money, Pool receives little critical or even positive media attention. The IDW gets interviewed by the NYT while Pool sits in his house wearing the same outfit he has been wearing since 2003. This fact has led one of the people who knew him during Occupy to state that they think he’s partially playing a character and wearing a costume.

In July 2019 Tim Pool was invited to the Whitehouse by Donald Trump along with several other conservative commentators and showed up in his beanie.

2020: Current Pool

Most recently, Pool almost continually pushes the right-wing framing of stories. To set out to prove this we watched over 330 of his videos released over about a two month period and found that he uses right-wing sources 59% of the time and that his most used source by a massive margin is the Daily Mail, followed by Fox News, followed by the New York Times – largely because he attacks their coverage so often, followed by Andy Ngo tweets.

The Daily Mail has been shown numerous times to engage in bad journalistic practices including allegedly plagiarising stories with little or no credit, to pushing dangerous right-wing narratives. In fact, for several years running the Daily Mail has received the most rulings against it by IPSO the industry created voluntary press standards agency in the UK.

In the run-up to the US 2020 presidential election Pool donated money to a Republican politician for the first time and endorsed Donald Trump and Republicans multiple times. Pool went on to vote for a Republican candidate for President, Senate, and Congress. Throughout 2020, Pool stated on numerous occasions that he believed Trump would or could win a 49 state landslide. This did not occur. Pool also often pushed stories related to voter/election fraud in the run-up to the election.

2020 also saw the creation of his Timcast IRL Youtube show on which he livestreams almost every weekday drawing in thousands of dollars in Youtube livechat donations. He first hosted this show with Adam Crigler – a former model and skateboarder who ended up leaving the show in mid-August 2020. Pool currently hosts the show with new host Ian Crossland who was involved in the creation of Minds.com and Pool’s producer Lydia Evans.

Pool flies out high-profile guests to appear live in the studio for approximately two hours for the show and has hosted Enrique Tarrio, Chairman of the Proud Boys and other controversial rightwing figures. Pool has also stated a desire to have Infowars creator Alex Jones on his show and further hinted at a desire to host the far-right white nationalist commentator Nick Fuentes.

 

Notes

This biography is a living document. Expect many changes and additions in the coming weeks and months. As thorough as this document may be, it leaves out many key details. Some of these will be reported out by myself, others will need to be reported by other journalists.

Key omissions in this document as it currently stands which will eventually be added are 1) the story about the murder that happened outside Tim Pool’s New York home 2) the story about the alleged sex offender who stalked/visited Tim Pool’s house in 2019 3) details about Tim Pool’s podcast, his cohosts and his move history 4) further details about Pool’s rhetoric in 2020 5) details about Pool’s life and career from ~2013-2016 6) more details about Pool’s current output and other business ventures e.g. SCNR. These omissions and several others will eventually be rectified but I currently lack the time to write these up.

If you enjoyed this article please consider subscribing to our Patreon: Patreon.com/TimPoolClips

Top Rightwing Youtubers

Summary

We compared the view counts of over 50 rightwing Youtubers and found that across his three channels, Tim Pool dominates the field, having received over 102 million views over the past month. He beats out Steven Crowder, his closest competitor, by more than 50 million views.

Tim Pool’s lead in views is so substantial that even if you combine the views of both Crowder and Pool’s next closest rival, BlazeTV, they would still not add up to Pool’s view count.

When considering average views per video, a slightly different picture emerges. This time Pool is in the number 3 spot, beaten out by the Conservative Twins and Salty Cracker Youtube pages.

Methodology

In order to understand who the most viewed rightwing YouTubers are and where Tim Pool places in this ranking, we decided to redo and expand our earlier analysis answering this question. Rather than focus on ranking the YouTubers by subscriber counts, which can be misleading, we chose to focus on their view counts over the past month.

Total Views Section

To draw together a list of the top rightwing YouTubers, we searched Google, Reddit, and Twitter for lists of the top rightwing creators and then supplemented these lists by asking our Twitter followers to suggest any names we might have left off. Our followers rose to the occasion and provided several useful additions. A full list of included creators can be found here.

To get to the total view counts for each creator, we manually searched for each of their channels on the social media analytics website SocialBlade. Any Youtube creators who had more than one channel had all their channels numbers combined into one figure to truly reflect their total monthly views. These views were then added to the spreadsheet linked above. Finally, a chart was created based on these results.

An important note is that we are not including mainstream media organizations in this analysis. If we did, organizations such as Fox News would still beat Pool by over 100 million views, however, they also have a more extensive back catalog, hundreds or thousands of employees, and often release more frequent videos.

Another caveat for our analysis is that despite our best efforts, we may well have missed other more prominent rightwing Youtubers. Any creators suggested by readers will be added to future investigations.

Average Views Section

To get the results for the average views section, we noted the views of the most recent 10 videos from each of the top 10 rightwing YouTubers. Where a YouTuber had more than one channel, we chose their 10 most recent videos regardless of which of their channels these videos were from. We ignored any videos published within the last 24 hours to not advantage/disadvantage any YouTuber who had only just posted a video. We then calculated the average views across those 10 videos.

Results

Consistent with our previous analysis, we again identified that the top rightwing YouTuber by view count over the past month is Tim Pool. And once again, he beats out his competition by more than 50 million views.

Moving down the list, the next four most successful Youtubers Steven Crowder, BlazeTV, The Daily Wire, and Liberal Hivemind, are all within a similar ballpark of views ranging from over 51 million monthly views for Crowder to just under 36 million for Liberal Hivemind.

After this, views drop down another level for the remaining five creators in the top ten list. Once you get past the 11th most-watched rightwing YouTuber (Ben Shapiro), the viewing numbers take another big dive into the single million digits level and below for the remaining 50 creators included in the analysis. 

The top ten YouTube creators, by view count are listed in the graph below. A full list of all 50 and their monthly views can be found here.

After looking at the raw total number of monthly views, we decided to add another dimension to our analysis and look at the average views per video for the top ten creators. In this analysis, we find that Tim Pool comes third with Conservative Twins (alternatively known as the Hodge Twins) and the creator Salty Cracker beating him in views per video. Amazingly the highest budget creators such as PragerU, The Daily Wire, and BlazeTV, come near the bottom half of the graph this time. This is partially explainable by the varied content they produce – some producers/hosts are less popular than others. We would also strongly caution against drawing too much of an inference from this data as only ten videos were used to create the average views per video graph. Future analyses will include a greater number than this.

Discussion

Interestingly the YouTubers who receive the most mainstream media attention, for example, Dave Rubin, Jordan Peterson, and even Ben Shapiro (who just missed out on getting onto the graph) don’t appear in the top 10. Instead, the creators dominating the chart are drawn from three fairly different groups.

The first group is larger independent rightwing media outlets such as BlazeTV and The Daily Wire, who create highly produced news and commentary content. The second group is men shouting at a computer, for example, Tim Pool and Liberal Hivemind. This group probably has the best margins because their videos require incredibly little effort and have low costs. Finally, the third group falls somewhere between these two extremes, for example Steven Crowder and the Conservative Twins. Female creators are notably underrepresented on the list; the first –  Abigail Shapiro (Ben Shapiro’s sister) – only appears in the 21st position.

One explanation for why the Youtubers who receive the most views don’t receive the most media attention is because “man shouts at computer for hours each day”  isn’t a particularly compelling news hook. That may be a problem. And it might be more important than many people realise.

Each year millions of people around the world spend millions of hours watching the creators included in our analysis. Many of the top creators upload daily – sometimes multiple times – and these repeat contacts help build a powerful relationship between them and their audience. Anyone who doubts this need only interact with their fans online. People critical of the creators often end up receiving avalanches of harassment, which often moves beyond angry online comments to death threats and real-life danger. The viewers also cement their relationships by collectively giving millions of dollars to the YouTube creators via donations and buying their merchandise.

With the 2020 election rapidly approaching, it is inarguable that the creators on our list will shift votes. What remains undetermined is the number of votes they’ll help shift and the electoral importance of the votes.

Conclusion

Tim Pool continues to dominate the rightwing Youtube sphere drawing in millions of views per day across his three main channels. From a total views perspective it’s hard to see how anyone can beat him. Not only does he receive more than double the views of his closest rivals, his channels and view count continue to grow. Last time we ran our analysis in July, he was receiving around 20-30 million fewer monthly views, and at this stage, an end to his growth isn’t in sight.

Rightwing creators dominate the attention economy on Youtube. Their influence has already been felt in the run-up to the 2016 and 2020 American elections and in the years between. At the current rate, it doesn’t look like this influence is going away any time soon. If anything it’s only getting stronger. While some of the most extreme YouTubers and those with the best branding have been the subject of numerous stories many others have not faced any serious inquiry despite their influence, wealth, and view count.

Perhaps it’s time that “angry man shouts at computer” becomes a story worth investigating.

***

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Exclusive: Massive Analysis Exposes Tim Pool’s Biased News Diet

Summary

According to our analysis of over 330 videos, Tim Pool heavily relies on sources which favor the right. 59% of the sources he used over a two month period had a pro-rightwing bias, while sources biased towards the left, and least biased sources made up 31% and 10% of his sources respectively.

Pool’s top five sources were: Daily Mail (used 96 times), Fox News (used 36 times), The New York Times (used 30 times), Andy Ngo tweets (used 26 times), and the New York Post (used 24 times).

Tim Pool did not use a single extreme left publication as source despite having used over 800 sources across those 330+ videos. Meanwhile, extreme rightwing sources made up 5% of the sources used with Breitbart being Pool’s joint 6th most used source.

Introduction

Tim Pool is a prolific content creator. Every day he releases approximately four hours of footage across his three Youtube channels. Keeping up with all his videos and their content is near impossible. As a result trends in his content can be hard to track. Against the advice of several medical professionals, we decided to watch over 300 of Pool’s videos to track which sources he used between June 25th and August 31st 2020.

Pool’s three active Youtube accounts are named Tim Pool, Timcast, and Timcast IRL. He generally releases one video per day on the first channel. The third channel features clips taken from his daily livestreams. The second channel which he uploads to five times per day was the channel considered in this analysis.

Methodology

We watched every single video released on Tim Pool’s Timcast channel between June 25th and August 31st 2020 and noted the first three sources he displayed on screen. This number of sources was chosen because in the vast majority of his videos he uses 1 – 3 sources. We estimate that fewer than 5% of his videos feature more than 3 sources.

The bias of each source was determined using the data from the mediabiasfactcheck.com (MBFC) website to ensure an independent standard. The MBFC bias scale runs from “extreme left” to “extreme right” bias with “least biased” in the center of the scale. Bias ratings from MBFC were compared with the bias assigned by other similar services such as AllSides.com. Results were found to be largely consistent however MBFC was chosen as it had a more subdivided scale.

When Tim Pool cited a tweet by a journalist we would assign the bias of that journalist’s primary employer to them for the purposes of our analysis.

When a source was not listed on MBFC its bias was labelled as N/A. Most of the sources falling into this category were random tweets or articles from local news stations. Some were also what we would judge to be obscure conservative publications.

Finally, we used Microsoft Excel to add up the data and then checked these results correcting any errors we found e.g. a source’s name being misspelled or being assigned the wrong bias. We then ran the numbers again to reach the final results presented here.

Results

During the time period being studied Tim Pool released 336 videos featuring 818 sources from 302 media organisations or social media accounts. The average number of times he used each source was 2.70 times however this result is misleading because it is pushed artificially high due to outliers such as him using the Daily Mail 96 times. The median number of times he used each source is 1 time however using this number the presence of the outliers is not reflected at all. Most of his sources were used 1 or 2 times other than his 20 most used sources which were all used at least 7 times.

59% of Pools sources were biased in favor of the right, 31% in favor of the left, and 10% fell into the “least biased” category.

Tim Pool’s 10 most used sources are displayed in the graph below (11 sources are present because there is a tie for 10th place).

Pool’s top five sources were:

Daily Mail (used 96 times)
Fox News (used 36 times)
The New York Times (used 30 times)
Andy Ngo tweets (used 26 times)
The New York Post (used 24 times)

Put another way 11.74% of Tim Pool’s total sources from June 25th to August 31st 2020 were Daily Mail articles. This contrasts with the only 10% of articles he used from “least biased” sources such as Reuters or the Associated Press.

Despite his claims of being center left Tim Pool did not use a single source from an extreme left publication in the 336 videos analysed however 5% of his sources have an extreme right bias including Breitbart which is his joint 6th most used source.

General observations

Despite his dislike and criticism of mainstream media, the vast majority of  Tim Pool’s sources came from long-established organisations. If mainstream news organisations didn’t exist Tim Pool would either not have a job or be forced to scale back his video production.

Although Pool occasionally used sources coded as ‘center left’ such as The New York Times and Washington Post he often only showed these sources so he could criticise and attack them for perceived bias. Few rightwing sources experienced the same treatment.

When Tim Pool used The Gateway Pundit as a source (as he did 6 times) it was often for articles written by his long-time friend Cassandra Fairbanks, who he attended the 2017 DeploraBall with.

Tim Pool rarely recommends any particular source however in multiple videos he has suggested his subscribers should follow Andy Ngo who has been accused of doxxing leftwing protestors and spreading misleading news about protests.

Conclusions

Although we assumed Tim Pool’s sources would lean right we were still surprised by his vastly disproportionate use of them. For someone who claims to be on the left he sure loves to promote the rights framing of almost every situation.

Some people may question whether relying largely on rightwing sources is an inherent predictor of being rightwing and we agree it is not. However, when a person uses sources biased in one direction they will inevitably receive and in Tim Pool’s case also promote a specific framing of situations and stories. With Pool, the effect is even more heightened as he regularly reads his viewers long tracts of the articles and adds his agreeing commentary.

When our results are taken together with Tim Pool’s frequent support of voting for Donald Trump, him labelling voting for Joe Biden as voting for the ‘suicide of America,’  him stating he would likely vote for a Republican in a generic ballot race, him donating thousands of dollars to a Republican political candidate, and his over 70 million monthly Youtube views (higher than any other independent rightwing Youtuber) it becomes hard to deny that at the very least Pool is providing significant help to right.

***

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An Introduction to Grifting

A Growing Problem With Political Discourse

What is a grifter?  They’re someone who sells you something they know doesn’t work.  Or, at least, they don’t care whether it works or not.  It’s the intentional lack of carefulness about the truth that determines whether someone is a grifter.  The end goal for these people is that they get paid, and if that means being less-than-honest, or even flatly dishonest, then that’s just fine by them.  No skin off their nose.

But the problem we have today with these people isn’t that they are scalping fake tickets, or getting people to invest in their pyramid scheme. The problem is that there is a growing cadre of so-called political commentators on YouTube and other social media sites accruing millions and millions of views, who are knowingly making bad-faith arguments about politics, particularly about the political left.  People like Tim Pool, Dave Rubin, Jordan Peterson, and Candace Owens are often pointed to as examples of this growing problem.

Your Crazy, Right-Wing Uncle Is Not A Grifter, But He Is A Victim Of It

We are not trying to claim that everyone saying outlandish things online is a grifter or a part of this problem.  But your conservative relatives retweeting and sharing the content of, say, Tim Pool is exactly what Tim Pool needs them to be doing. In November 2019, he was on The Hill’s Rising and described himself as “idealistically…far left.  But, realistically, like trying to actually accomplish policies that move us forward, I’m probably a moderate left”. Moderate left, huh? That sounds relatively harmless. But the problem is that he’s not telling the truth.

He’s aware that people perceive him as right-wing, and in the same interview says that his policy positions are to the left, but that he is “concerned about some of the same things as conservatives on principle grounds”. As an example, he points to the news media. According to Pool, the idea “that there’s media bias”, or “that a news organization is incentivized by profit” are ideas that conservatives are talking about and progressives are not.  Did Tim Pool forget that The Daily Show, both with Jon Stewart and Trevor Noah, has been hammering media bias regularly on mainstream television to millions of people for years? Jon Stewart publicly destroyed CNBC host Jim Cramer back in 2009 for his failures to be honest with his viewership about the state of the economy leading up to the 2008 financial collapse (and he even showed clips of Cramer explaining how one could deceive the SEC, oops).

The notion that conservatives are talking about media bias, and that the left is not, is absurd.  Maybe Pool is talking in terms of relative mentions? In that case, I would agree with him, as Trump probably calls CNN fake news once per day, while even the mouthiest progressive in Congress might call Fox News propaganda once per week. But of course, that’s not what our beanie-bro means.

He’s just lying – or doesn’t care about the truth.

Why Do You Think These People Are Lying?

Great question! It’s important to distinguish between grifters and useful idiots. A useful idiot is just that; someone who takes the grifter’s word as gospel and carries it downstream.  Without them, there’d be no pyramid schemes or MyPillows.  Every grifter needs their useful idiots.  But when a useful idiot approaches you and says, “hey, want to be a part of a great business opportunity?”, they aren’t technically grifting you because they believe what they are saying is true. They’re not a grifter, just an idiot.  Your crazy, proto-fascist uncle? He’s an idiot.

Let’s use Tim Pool again. He’s not an idiot, he’s a grifter. How can you tell?  Because he has expressed the importance of fact-checking, but we know he doesn’t care to do as much himself. Pool claims he is center-left, but he has donated to a Republican political candidate and expressed support for Republicans and Donald Trump multiple times.  He terrifies his audience with outlandish claims about the left while running defense for the right.

And the idea that conservatives care about media bias but progressives do not? Someone would need to have buried their head in the sand for nearly two decades to genuinely make that claim.  But, since Tim has been actively involved in media and journalism for years, there’s no credible explanation other than that he is knowingly misleading people.

But why do these grifters do this?

They’re Doing It For The Money And Fame

Duh. It’s what grifting’s all about! The grifters we’re concerned with are getting their funding primarily in one of two ways.  Either,  as in the case of Dave Rubin’s show, they receive funding from organizations funded by the Koch brothers and other conservative financiers, or they are funded like other independent media with small-dollar donations and merchandise sales.  Oftentimes grifters in one of these lanes will drift in and out of the other, but they are important to distinguish because it changes the motives involved.

In the first case, with conservative think tanks funding content like the Rubin Report, there is a direct incentive for Dave Rubin to appeal to the politics and sensibilities of the people writing his paychecks.  He needs to hit the marks they want him to hit.  If Dave Rubin was up there talking about his 2015 support for Bernie Sanders, he would not be getting his paychecks anymore.  But talking about black support for Trump? That’s gonna be a yes from me, dawg.  This doesn’t mean that there is a sith-like libertarian overlord waiting in the wings while Dave Rubin does his show, but he knows where the boundaries are and he is more than happy to stay well within them.

In the second case, you need to appeal to your audience.  The audience for these grifters is conservatives.  And when we’re talking about the Trump-era, being a conservative is, with few exceptions, synonymous with being a Trump supporter.  That means that the target audience for these grifters is Trump supporters.

To pick on Tim Pool, he criticizes Trump from time to time, but he recently jumped the shark and said he’s voting for Trump.  This is from someone who described himself politically from “far-left” to “moderate left”.  Pool has oriented himself in such a way that he can provide a semblance of credibility for Trump supporters to point to and say “See! He was a leftist and now he supports Trump”.  And Pool knows this.  He once tweeted that he has “an in depth understanding of social media algorithms and what drives content”.  He needs his viewer base to buy into what he’s doing, and for that to happen Tim Pool needs to buy into what his viewer base is doing, or, at least, appear to buy into it.  And these two categories overlap, Tim Pool has been a guest on The Rubin Report and other conservative financed programs, and those with financial backing make their own money selling merchandise and books.  They go hand in hand.

What Can We Do About It?

The best thing we can do right now is to keep talking about it.  Today, truth is more important than ever, and when people can make a comfortable living distorting the truth and changing the opinions and minds of our friends and families, it has a devastating ripple effect across our personal, professional, and societal relationships.  That’s why Grftr.News exists—to be an outlet that stands against the conmen and conwomen of alternative media.

The second best thing you can do is donate to our Patreon and enable us to continue bringing you the latest and greatest in articles, dunks, and memes about our favorite right-wing swindlers.

Welcome to Grftr!

Hi! Welcome to Grftr.

We are a new start-up bran…. nah lmao despite our name we’re definitely not some weird new tech start-up. I’m just a dude who got tired of Tim Pool’s constant barrage of terrible content and wanted to do something about it.

There are lots of excellent accounts on Youtube, left twitter, and random blogs scattered around the internet who have done some great work debunking, criticising, or making fun of online grifters but so far I don’t believe there is a single source which consistently and exclusively focuses on Tim Pool. And the RationalWiki article about Tim Pool which gives the best introductory overview of Pool is impressive but also very lacking. I want to help chance both these things.

I hope to help change these things. Together with your help, I want us to make this site into a resource to help combat grifters who are endangering our political processes, families, health, and safety starting with Tim Pool.

Why Tim?

According to our research, Tim Pool appears to be the most viewed rightwing Youtuber. Although established rightwing brands such as Fox News still beat him on view counts he absolutely dominates his competition in the alternative media sphere beating out the likes of Ben Shapiro, Prager U, Steven Crowder and more by tens of millions of monthly views. Pool also makes thousands of dollars from his daily live streams and channel sponsors – not to mention any advertising revenue he makes from adverts on his videos.

In July 2019 Tim Pool was invited to visit the White House by Donald Trump and Pool has also quizzed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast – the biggest podcast in the world. Despite all this Pool has received little critical attention. We hope to change this and aim to bring you hard-hitting criticism, debunkings, and discussions about Pool, his work, and his influence.

What are my goals?

Well, firstly they’re not my goals. Ok yeah, technically they are mine right now but I hope they become yours too! I want this website to be collaboration (because I’m too busy and um…. lazy to do this by myself) between all those who are critical of Tim Pool.

As a result, I aim to provide a platform which has two key roles: dissemination of useful material and fostering community. On the first front, I hope for us to collaboratively create a list of resources helping to combat grifters and help convert their fans. These resources could include exposé’s, debunkings, criticism, dunks, etc.. little is off-limits. I also aim to produce and perhaps eventually commission original reporting and analysis. Part of this websites efforts will involve creating ‘fact sheets’ about selected grifters and links to external content debunking, criticising, or dunking on them – starting with Tim Pool.

On the second front, I have created a forum to help bring people together to discuss grifters, their supporters, and the harm they’re both causing. I also envisage that people will be able to promote their content and help reach new audiences on there too. Right now there are only three forums while I start to understand how this all works. I have no experience with any of this so please be patient.

How can I help?

You need no previous experience with… well anything but if you’re a journalist, content producer, expert in a specific field, techy person, editor (of any medium), podcaster etc… we’d be delighted to chat with you – particularly if you are planning on producing content about Tim Pool or if you know him personally

We are still in the very early stages of this process and will definitely experience teething problems so please be gentle and forgiving.

You can get in touch either via DMing us on twitter @TimPoolClips or contacting us via the contact form on our site.

If you want to help this site financially you can donate to our Patreon: Patreon.com/TimPoolClips

Ok that’s enough for now. Go get yourself a glass of water. Oh also check out our forum(s) and our list of Tim Pool critiques from external sources.