Outright animosity toward the press has become an article of faith across the political right. But even within those circles, Pool stands out. The “reactionary social media performer,” who rakes in 50 to 60 million viewers per month and millions of dollars in annual revenue, devotes so much of his content to anti-media tirades it could be considered a mission statement.
“If there is one through-line for all of the work that I do,” said Pool in an early June YouTube video, “it’s that I despise the media because they lie all the time.”
Reporters are simultaneously “evil,” “vampires,” and yet also inept “morons” and “lazy.” Whether by dint of malevolence or incompetence, their attitude towards the public remains the same. “[T]he media hates you and thinks youre [sic] stupid,” he has long argued.
Last spring, Pool launched his own news site: Timcast.com, a largely aggregation-based site intended to serve as a corrective to the ills that plague the fourth estate, as Pool has made explicitly clear. “We need to bring back real journalism,” he said on YouTube in June while touting Timcast.com.
But Pool’s brand of “real journalism” has fallen short of those lofty goals, according to an investigation by The Daily Beast.
We examined all the written content published by Timcast.com during the week of April 18—a week chosen at random. Of the 84 articles posted in seven days, four were plagiarized. They contained strings of sentences or even multiple paragraphs with nearly the same syntax, structure, and language as previously existing reporting, with a few synonyms inserted or word order slightly altered. None of the Timcast.com articles included any attribution citing the original source material.
Two more articles of this type were published in the week of April 25 and another on April 15, though The Daily Beast did not review every Timcast.com story posted in those weeks.
The seven stories, all of which were written by a then-staffer named Michael Robison over a 15-day interval, can be viewed here. Less than 24 hours after The Daily Beast emailed Pool for comment, all seven Robison articles were deleted and replaced with an editor’s note saying they “fell short of Timcast’s standards.”
In an email, Robison told the Daily Beast he had been fired for plagiarizing on May 17 after NewsGuard, a third-party news rating agency, contacted Pool. He could not say how many stories in total had been plagiarized over the six months he worked at Timcast.com.
After hearing from Robison, The Daily Beast quickly found two more plagiarized articles in a three-day span from January 2021. They remain live on the site.
The glaring contradiction is that Timcast.com often plagiarized from the very same mainstream sources that Pool claims to hate. Like Trump, he has repeatedly called the “corporate” press “the enemy of the people.” Yet Robison’s articles were lifted from CNBC, Bloomberg, and Forbes, among others. Pool did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The plagiarism should not come as much of a surprise to Pool. After The Daily Beast began its investigation, NewsGuard spotted “a couple [of] articles that appeared to be plagiarism” in the course of evaluating Timcast.com and informed him of the problem, Pool mentioned during a June 17 YouTube broadcast. In the same video, Pool claimed Timcast.com doesn’t condone this practice, and that the offending material had been removed.
NewsGuard’s report identified the two stories which violated one of the cardinal rules of journalism. Robison was responsible for them, too, and, like the examples uncovered by The Daily Beast, they were drawn from mainstream sources: The Washington Post and Newsweek. Pool also told NewsGuard in an email that his site would conduct an “investigation.”
Robison apologized profusely and took all the blame for his “lazy mistake,” he told The Daily Beast, and had nothing but praise for the entire editorial team at Timcast.com. “They are wonderful people.”
Those are not the only issues that have plagued Timcast.com. Beyond the plagiarized articles, staffers had links to far-right extremists; the site posted an op-ed arguing women should be stripped of their voting rights, and ran a puff interview with a prominent white nationalist; another factually incorrect article was quietly deleted; and one of the few Timcast.com articles that could be considered a scoop—taking aim at the media, no less—doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
Still, Pool holds his site in high regard—certainly higher than his perceived competitors, despite not only drawing from their reporting, but at times copying it outright.
“If there’s one thing that drives Timcast.com,” he boasted during an April 25 YouTube video, “it’s not left-wing politics, it’s not right-wing politics. It’s freedom and honesty.”
How much direct input Pool has in the day-to-day reporting and editorial process at Timcast.com is difficult to determine. On the one hand, Pool has suggested in his videos that he takes an active role. He’ll weigh in on language choices, and often adds his voice when determining whether an article should be labeled straight news or an opinion piece. If factual errors are made in a story, “I go through and make sure things are corrected if they haven’t been,” he claimed.
Pool—whose prior media company was shuttered in January 2021 amid a flurry of accusations and ongoing lawsuits—will also act as an assignment editor. In April, right-wing media figures were ginning up an unfounded conspiracy about a series of fires at food processing plants. Timcast.com wrote a story after Pool nudged the newsroom. While he personally didn’t believe in the conspiracy, he wanted coverage of the fires because he’d seen “this meme going around,” he said on YouTube.
However, during the June 17 video in which Pool revealed the instances of plagiarism identified by Newsguard, he seemed to absolve himself of any editorial responsibility, laying the onus entirely on his editor-in-chief.
“I don’t handle editorial at Timcast.com,” Pool insisted. “We have Cassandra Fairbanks.”
Since transitioning from a Bernie Sanders supporter to a Trump social-media influencer, Fairbanks has pinged from a Russian state-sponsored media company to hard-right outlets like Big League Politics and The Gateway Pundit, the latter of which the Southern Poverty Law Center described as a “junk news site.” Fairbanks is still churning out blogs for The Gateway Pundit while simultaneously toiling as Timcast’s EIC.
Outside of her written output, per the SPLC, Fairbanks has promoted white nationalists like Nick Fuentes and others, appeared on a podcast hosted by the extremist, far-right website VDARE, and twice attended the white nationalist AFPAC conference. During this year’s installment, Fuentes jokingly praised Adolf Hitler. Fairbanks did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
In addition to Fairbanks, two other reporters wrote the vast majority of the 84 articles put out by Timcast.com during the week of April 18: Hannah Claire Brimelow and Robison. Hannah Claire is the daughter of Peter Brimelow, VDARE’s founder and a prominent white nationalist, according to the SPLC. (Peter Brimelow has rejected the description.) As The Daily Beast previously reported, Hannah Claire Brimelow was recommended for the Timcast.com staff job by Fairbanks.
Timcast.com interviewed Peter Brimelow in February. Their initial “exclusive” story described VDARE as an organization he’d founded “to focus on immigration reform and the cultural impact of immigration,” with zero mention of its long history in the white nationalist movement.
What’s more, two changes were made after the story ran. One, they added a note disclosing the possible conflict of interest inherent in interviewing a staffer’s father. Two, they deleted the broad, generous description of VDARE. In the current version, VDARE, a “hate group,” according to the SPLC, is called a “non-profit” and that’s it. Timcast’s readers were not informed of the second change. Deleting or altering significant information in an article without a note explaining the reasons for doing so is called “stealth-editing.” It’s a practice Pool has decried.
“Stealth-editing is some of the dirtiest, dirtiest maneuvering that these news organizations do,” he said in a June YouTube video.
Robison, the reporter responsible for the plagiarized articles, also has a connection to Fairbanks. In summer 2021, Fairbanks blogged about the 42-year-old former pastor’s animal rights group for The Gateway Pundit nearly a dozen times over the course of seven weeks.
Following his stint at Timcast.com, Robison immediately jumped to writing for The Gateway Pundit. Robison told The Daily Beast that Fairbanks helped set him up with the job. Whether the site’s founder, Jim Hoft, was informed of the plagiarism, he can’t say for sure. “I would assume disclosure,” he said. “Jim said he had reviewed my writing.” Hoft let him go two months later to avoid any “negative impact for his publication,” according to Robison, after “complaints” were aired. Hoft did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
The tone of Timcast.com articles generally adheres to AP style, written in a straight-laced, objective voice. But like Pool’s YouTube content, the site tilts its coverage towards subjects amenable to a right-leaning audience. Critical race theory and trans issues were diligently chronicled during the week of April 18, as were Ron DeSantis and Elon Musk’s activities. In contrast, when White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified before the Jan. 6 committee on June 28, Timcast.com posted zero written articles about her bombshell allegations.
One of the few stories that could qualify as a Timcast.com “scoop” during the week investigated by The Daily Beast concerned the media. In April, Taylor Lorenz, a tech columnist with The Washington Post, had reported on Chaya Raichik, the woman who operates the influential LibsofTikTok Twitter account.
The ex-Brooklyn real-estate salesperson has turned into a major player in conservative politics by pumping out videos framed to target the LGBTQ+ community. Pool has frequently cited Raichik in his videos. Last month, he said on YouTube, “I believe the LGBTQ community is now dominated by overt pedophiles.”
When Lorenz’s story was published, many on the right accused her of having “doxxed” Raichik by revealing her name. Raichik was a newsworthy figure—her viral posts have fueled GOP legislation—and her previously unknown true identity was the subject of legitimate inquiry, and not a doxxing.
Timcast.com went further. Lorenz had “published the home address” belonging to Raichik, the site alleged. (The Timcast.com article was updated after publication to place the blame on the Post as a whole.) Exactly how Timcast.com “confirmed that the address published is documented as the creator’s private home address,” wasn’t unpacked in the story. Pool tweeted that the confirmation came via “public records,” but he can’t show the proof. In his videos, Pool claimed they’d looked at “residential records,” “tax records,” and/or “housing records,” and had paid for some manner of “public records search.” (The Daily Beast specifically asked Pool and Fairbanks how Timcast.com confirmed the story. They did not respond.)
Regardless, the story doesn’t hold up. Initially, the Post included a hyperlink to a public-facing website which listed Raichik’s realtor’s license. (The site exists so prospective apartment-hunters can verify a realtor’s accreditations. The link in the Post’s story was removed shortly after publication. A New York State website says Raichik’s license expired 18 months ago.) The Brooklyn “contact address” posted on the public-facing site was the same as the old address for Evergreen Realty, Raichik's former employer. By May 2018 the real-estate agency had moved to a different location in Brooklyn, archived versions of their website show.
Dozens of other realtors who also worked for Evergreen Realty also have the same “contact address” as Raichik on their license listed at the public-facing site.
Public records show that Chaya Raichik is currently listed as residing in Los Angeles. Raichik told the New York Post in a January interview—about three months before Lorenz’s article ran—she’d decamped to California after quitting her real-estate job. Before that, per public records, she resided at an entirely different Brooklyn address: the same one Raichik herself included when she registered a potential LibsofTikTok domain name in 2021.
Lorenz also provided a statement to Timcast.com in which she definitively said, “I did not publish [Raichik’s] home address.” The Washington Post added in a public statement: “We did not publish or link to any details about [Raichik’s] personal life.”
No matter how often Pool was told of the problem with their reporting on social media, he refused to budge. On YouTube and Twitter, Pool alternated between calling Lorenz and the Post “liars” and “evil,” and crowing about the article, describing it as a newsroom-wide effort—one that included him. The story evinced such pride, Pool and the right-wing site The Daily Wire paid for a billboard in Times Square to falsely accuse Lorenz of doxxing Raichik. The PR stunt was covered and praised by Tucker Carlson.
When Pool does confess that Timcast.com botched a story, somehow he treats it as yet another mark in his site’s favor.
A members-only, paywalled May 5 YouTube segment featured guest Ashley St. Clair—a Stop the Steal booster who had been booted from the conservative activist group Turning Point USA in 2019 for fraternizing with white nationalists and antisemites. They were joined by right-wing cartoonist Seamus Coughlin, co-host Ian Crossland, and the show’s producer and show booker Lydia Leitermann, who wrote a Timcast.com op-ed contending that women (and possibly the unemployed) shouldn’t be permitted to vote.
Over the course of the 40-minute video, Pool and his guests realized an article on their site written by Robison was based on a misreading or misunderstanding of data released by Pfizer. The false supposition had been making the rounds on the right, thanks in part to a boost from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a frequent Pool on-air guest. Timcast.com’s story incorrectly implied the pharmaceutical giant’s COVID-19 vaccine had caused a large number of excess deaths. Pool had made some suggestions regarding what should be included in the article, he said in the video.
It marked the second time they’d had “some psycho bullshit published on my website” peddled by anti-vax zealots, according to Pool. He did not specify when this had transpired, save that the story falsely “linked the [COVID-19] vaccine to genetic mutations.”
(Earlier that evening, during a non-paywalled YouTube video with the same quintet, Pool floated a baseless conspiracy hinting that the Supreme Court opinion—which ultimately overturned Roe v. Wade—may have been leaked three days earlier in order to distract people from the Pfizer data release.)
By the end of the paywalled video, an increasingly pissed-off Pool had decided to pull the article. It didn’t stop them from congratulating themselves for a job well done.
In Pool’s mind, they’d “debunked” a story which had been live on his site throughout the day—and had been promoted by Pool just three hours earlier—even though the Pfizer conspiracy had already been debunked by other outlets. “This is journalism in real time,” is how he described it.
Robison, too, was deserving of praise. “He’s fantastic,” said Pool. “He’s absolutely brilliant.”
The story was deleted entirely from Timcast.com. No editor’s note was posted disclosing they’d gotten the story wrong, explaining the deletion, or offering an apology to readers, save for a video that only paid subscribers could access—if they happened to stumble on and watch the entire 40-minute segment.
Even so, “the one thing you can get is integrity from Timcast,” Pool promised.
“I love doing journalism,” Leitermann added. Thanks to the abundance of information available online, “It’s not hard to do.”