John Stossel

Stossel: The Rise of Citizen Journalists

A new wave of journalists, like Tim Pool, use "new media" to tell it like it is.


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Tim Pool is part of what some call the new media—citizen journalists who work for themselves.

Increasingly, John Stossel says, such journalists cover things the mainstream media misses.

That brings them viewers. More than a million people subscribe to Pool's online channels.

Pool leans left and supported Bernie Sanders. But he reports whatever he sees.

Earlier this year, the media jumped on a video of a grinning Covington High School kid wearing a Trump hat, claiming he was taunting a native American man—but Pool was skeptical.

"All of these big news outlets, even the Washington Post, CNN, they immediately made the assumption 'he must be a racist,'" Pool told Stossel.

"I didn't make that assumption … I said, I have no idea what this is. I just see a guy banging a drum and a kid with a weird look on his face. So I looked at some other videos," Pool said.

On YouTube, Pool found a longer clip of the encounter and used that to show that the Native American elder approached the kids as they waited for a bus—not the other way around, as had been claimed. There was no evidence that the kids were racist.

"No one watched the longer video?" Stossel asks?

"Nope," Pool says. "Here's what happens. One left-wing journalist says, look at this racist. His buddy sees it and says, wow, look at this racist. And that's a big ole circular game of telephone where no one actually does any fact-checking. And then—New York Times, Washington Post, CNN all publish the same fake story."

Pool, along with Reason's Robby Soave, told the real story.

Pool wouldn't have been hired by most legacy media outlets—he doesn't have a college degree. Or even a high school degree.

"I like it that you're a high school dropout," Stossel tells Pool.

"Yeah, me too," Pool says. Instead of going through the traditional education system, Pool learned to report by actually doing it.

He got his start filming Occupy Wall Street and posting his videos online. He also covered fighting in Ferguson, Missouri, in Ukraine, and in Catalonia.

But his video that got the most views on YouTube is one where he went to Sweden to find out the truth about alleged "no-go zones."

"Your video said what?" Stossel asks.

"That it was nuanced," Pool replies. Crime is up after Sweden took a lot of refugees, but still really low by American standards.

"You got lots of views with nuance?" Stossel replies.

"Yeah … Here's what I think happens. The establishment, the corporate media … They seem to have a narrative on these things," Pool says. "The average person just wants some kind of honest take on it."

Pool is part of a new wave of independent journalists and thinkers—leftists, centrists libertarians, and conservatives—who use the new media to get the word out.

Stossel says he's glad that gives us more options.

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The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.