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JournalistIamA Journalist Tim Pool, founding member of VICE NEWS, I recently returned from Sweden investigating the alleged migrant crime wave. AMA!

Mar 15th 2017 by Timcast • 41 Questions • 387 Points

Howdy all, My name is Tim Pool. In the past I worked for VICE and Fusion. My work has been featured internationally, in film and TV, though most of my work today is on Social Media.

I do not work for Vice or Fusion anymore, fyi. I am totally independent now.

Recently Donald Trump made statements about Sweden that sparked an international conversation. In light of this I decided to travel to Sweden to investigate for myself. The decision didn't come without controversy as many journalists told me I was following a fake news story and to let Swedish Journalists report their own news.

Needless to say what I found was interesting and in reality "closer to the middle" in regards to the left/right narrative.

Feel free to ask me anything about this or whatever.

Subscribe to my channel on Youtube - http://bit.ly/TimcastYT Follow me on Twitter - http://Twitter.com/Timcast Follow me on Instagram - http://Instagram.com/Timcast

Proof - https://twitter.com/Timcast/status/842082731878191104

Q:

Tim,

I believe that you are from Chicago. Can you provide us with an idea as to what you believe are some of the causes of the crime and shootings in Chicago, from what you have seen/heard?

A:

Gangs.

I'm from the southside, the gangs were cool to us as long as we weren't in a rival gang. I never had a problem but some friends did.

Chicago also has heavily segregated areas and that breeds racism and poverty.


Q:

Chicago also has heavily segregated areas and that breeds racism

Aren't the vast majority of shootings black-on-black?

A:

Yes, its gang related.

But what I mean is that racism leads to poverty which leads to more crime. I think many people exaggerate to what degree racism plays a role, but it does play a role.


Q:

Hello Mr. Pool,

I am very grateful you did what you did in Sweden but I noticed that once your videos became more critical the mods of r/europe decided your videos were not "good content" and could not be posted without being taken down.

What would you say to them if you could?

A:

People can't handle reality.

I think our videos are very "balanced" we interviewed the social democrat mayor of Sodertalje as well as the controversial Chang Frick.

As an outsider I tried to get a wide range of perspectives, I think we did a good job.


Q:

As a journalist, how concerned are you with portraying a false balance between two sides? It seems that journalists often portray issues as having two (or multiple) equally viable and legitimate perspectives, even if this is not the reality of the situation.

(Not accusing you of doing so in this situation, I am just curious)

A:

Yup, there aren't always "two sides" to a story.

In this instance we found the truth and then sought out different views on why and what should happen.


Q:

What are your thoughts on the ongoing Dutch election and the upcoming French election?

A:

I think the right is going to win, I'm not sure by how much but I think the results will at least show a growing trend of nationalism and conservatism.

EDIT: annnnd totally wrong on this one it seems.


Q:

Odd forecast concerning France. The right candidate is caught up in a legal scandal, same for the far right (though people care less) and the far right candidate loses to every serious candidate in the polls if she makes it to the second round which admittedly she likely will. The overwhelming favourite in the french election is more of a social democrat candidate who's close to the right on economic topics but on the left concerning social issues.

A:

But if I had to make a bet I would bet on the nationalists.

Polls got Brexit and Trump wrong.


Q:

Sorry to hijack but I never understood a lot of these comments. A lot of the people mentioned were already public figures via youtube or what not. These people very clearly will state their opinions and post them on public forums. Why would you want someone who flew out to investigate Sweden to search out and talk to them when you can hear what they think any day of the week?

A:

Because Americans don't know who these people are, don't have time to condense their ideas, don't watch Swedish TV, and don't speak Swedish.


Q:

Swedish public service media called you "a threat to democracy". What do you think about them and the Swedish media in general?

A:

They just toe the line of the government.

Even when the police statement was clearly incorrect they repeated it without question.

There comes a time when a journalist has to say "this is demonstrably false" however instead they just insult me and my work.


Q:

Tim, do you ever take off your beanie?

A:

I tried once but it's really stuck on there


Q:

What is your current opinion of VICE news?

A:

I think the HBO show does a great job. I think the digital side of things, clickbaity partisan stuff, is a bit sad though.


Q:

Do you think self-censorship is a problem in the US as well? Better/worse than Sweden and do you see it as getting better/worse in recent years?

A:

It is a little bit but not a whole lot.

I will say, I've met a lot of Trump supporters who were scared to "come out."


Q:

Considering how much you've seen, how safe is it to travel to Europe atm? And what was your biggest take away from your Sweden investigation?

A:

There are problem areas.

I went to Calais and some kid tried to steal some equipment from me. But when you go to poor areas where crime is higher this is expected.

Europe is mostly safe in my opinion, but just like any country they have bad areas. I will say that unchecked migration and failed integration will cause problems to escalate.


Q:

I want to start off saying, I really enjoyed your video series and following you through Sweden.

As a journalist investigating in a foreign area, I realize it is probably challenging, but how do you attempt to account for selection and anecdotal biases in your opinions or stories?

A:

I don't know if you can. I think people just need to realize that you need to view many different sources to get a clear picutre.

It's all about trust, do you trust the people you follow to be honest. Most news orgs who show hyperpartisan content are not trustworthy. They just play on your bias to get clicks.


Q:

In one of your recent videos on Sweden, you made a comment about conservatives wanting you to go into migrant areas and "harass" them, but you refused to do so. Is this true? I know you are trying to be nonpartisan, so it seemed an inflammatory comment to make, and it would be nice to know what exactly was said and the context. Thanks for your hard work!

A:

Many people were yelling at me for not showing up at midnight in an apartment complex to interview random people.

That would get you punched anywhere and I'm not going to do it.


Q:

Did it feel like most of Sweden is living in some kind of self imposed denial and do you fear any backlash now that you are home?

A:

It truly made me feel what "woke" means. There seem to be a lot of people who don't know, don't care, or are denying what is happening.

That being said, crime overall isn't that bad, it's just that they do see more crime from migrants and refugees than Swedish born.


Q:

Hey Tim!

Do you think there's a sustainable career path in the sort of independent journalism you do? Is personal branding the biggest part of this industry, or does content rule?

Thanks!

P.S. I've been following you since back in the Occupy Wall Street Days. Keep it up!

A:

Personal branding is a big key right now.

The reason is that 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.


Q:

How would you compare Swedish cities with high crime rates and high immigration rates to American cities with lower immigration rates but still high crime rates? Are the crimes of different nature? What are the differences?

A:

Sweden has two problems.

Failed integration from previous migrants And foreign cultures from new refugees.

Crime comes from a lot of reasons, poverty being a big driving force.

Crime isn't a migrant issue but the two can be related


Q:

what advice would you give to someone trying to create an independent news source.? Think Fresco combined with social media.

A:

Don't try to imitate existing media structures. Its all crashing, find a new way to do things. experiment.


Q:

As an independent, are you concerned about censorship on social media platforms that you use to publish your reports?

For example, accusations against twitter that they are favouring the "official story" on their platforms. Allegations against youtube as well that they are demonetizing videos for no apparent reason.

A:

Yup...

I've had a couple videos demonetized for not being advertiser friendly but thats why I have a patreon!

It is also why I make sure to post to different social platforms and also why I started focusing on youtube over twitter.


Q:

do you think that you will ever put together a news organization that will do more of what you do, i.e. vlog newscasting/reporting....?

I know you said once that you believe in that kind of news delivery and it seems to give me a very clear picture of what other news organizations distort.

A:

Im trying to right now. If I can raise at least 5k per month on Patreon (currently around 2500) I will hire people!


Q:

Hey Tim, thanks for the AMA. Viewer in Sweden here, really liked what you did. I noticed you addressed the criticism you got in the press here but did you also see the praise & support you received in mainstream media once you left? What did you think of the points raised in that?

A:

I think its not really about me but about Sweden's internal struggle over what is acceptable to say.

It seems the veil is being lifted.


Q:

Tim, What do you consider to be your most dangerous assignment?

A:

Venezuela.

I got accused of being a spy and had to flee the country.


Q:

What do you think the future of Europe will look like in say 10, 20, 30 years, if things continue to go the same and people like Le Pen and Wilders don't win their elections?

A:

Ya know, its funny.

The Napoleanic wars, two world wars, the cold war, all with a big aim at consolidating power in Europe. By the end of the 20th century they all just agree to it anyway.

I think some kind of conflict is possible if nationalism increases. Many countries in the EU are in debt to other countries and that can lead to conflict.


Q:

Tim,

I really enjoyed your series on Sweden, thank you and Emily for going. My question is this: You said the issue of "NO GO ZONES" is more of an issue of semantics (i.e. "what is..IS?") But after being there, and seeing it, Are there areas where the locals and law enforcement just do NOT go to, unless its absolutely necessary.

It seems the definition was debated more than the actual existence? I hope that made sense...?

A:

no!

The police go to the "no go zones" more than anywhere else! A true no go zone means no one can go there but due to an op-ed people have adopted the phrase to mean "problem area"


Q:

In your interview with 3 guys in Rinkeby you never mention that they are all a part of the fringe conspiracy theorist organization Folkresningen de Fria who (among other things) are "skeptical" of the holocaust. Many of its members also believe that Sweden is being "invaded" by immigrants who are hired by the "deep state" to cause mischief by raping and murdering, for the "deep state" to more easily implement a police state.

Did they not tell you that they were all a part of this organization, or did you simply not mention it? If so - why?

A:

I was introduced to them as "from rinkeby"

I met them in a kebob shop in rinkeby. They talked to us about migration and growing up there.

The one guy really wanted to talk about fractional reserve banking but we weren't interested.


Q:

Did you feel pressured to give a picture of Sweden as a country with big cultural diffuculties because Paul Joseph Watson helped fund your work?

A:

No.

Our largest contributions came from Swedes and the single largest contribution came from a Swede.

In fact when we went to Malmo we found it rather peaceful, but as time went on and we interviewed more people we learned what was really going on. That and the Uppsala police made a statement about crime dramatically increasing while we were there.


Q:

Thanks for the AMA Tim!

On a scale of 1-10, how bad would you say things are in Sweden overall?

1 being total catastrophe, Trump underestimated the severity of the problem

10 being everything's fine and Sweden is the European utopia we've all been conditioned to see

Thanks again!

A:

I'd say its a 7.

Sweden is safe and comfortable. They are experiencing "problems they never thought possible" but it is still relatively low compared to many other countries.

I think it is important to highlight that just because Sweden overall is very nice these problems do exist and are getting worse.

We shouldn't compare other countries to Sweden but we should look at the problems and figure out how to solve them.


Q:

Hi Tim,

You say what you found was "closer to the middle" which I find unsurprising.

Do you think - or what percentage of - most social/societal issues are "closer to the middle" but news outlets skew them to fit their narrative? I'm a middle of the road type and distrust a lot of the news as it is presented because I feel like it's been slanted a certain way.

Thank you!

A:

The left ignores anything that makes them look bad and so does the right.

Most stories are closer to the middle.

I hate "journalism" today. Its just partisan nonsense.

Maybe I'll stop calling myself a journalist


Q:

Hi Tim, First off I really enjoyed your journey. Thank you.

2 questions.

All sides of the politicial spectrum were framing your daily videos and experiences as aggressively and publicly as possible to fit their own narratives. Were you surprised?

When you were being escorted out of Rinkeby by the police, did it ever cross your mind to stick around close to your car to see how many people showed up and to see how violent they actually would be?

A:

Ha no! I said from the beginning that they would use it to fit their narrative and both the left and the right did. I feel like everyone has a little egg on their face. People need to chill out and realize that the truth is always closer to the middle.

2) We were trying NOT to have a confrontation we even took reasonable precautions, like holding the camera down and not pointing at peoples faces. I was worried that if we stuck around they would blame us for not following police advice.


Q:

Hello Tim,

Thank you very much for your investigation in Sweden. Do you think that Sweden could be seen as a "soft totalitarian" regime, "soft" in the sense that surely people wont end up in prison for speaking their mind, but still totalitarian since non PC thinking seem to end up in real life consequences?

From you coverage it is the feeling I got.

A:

I guess you could say that.

Its changing now though, more people are speaking up. But one of the biggest media outlets actually goes to private citizens houses and confronts them because of their opinions online. It seems crazy that huge organizations would go after private citizens like that.


Q:

Spot on.

A:

Definitely ignoring the problem.

Send them this.

http://24uppsala.se/2017/03/03/uppsalapolisen-det-ar-en-oroande-utveckling/


Q:

I have never seen a photo of you without a beanie on. Do you have hair?

A:

No.

I wear the hat so that I can choose to be anonymous. People don't recognize me without it and sometimes that's a good thing.


Q:

I've been thinking about getting into journalism.I have no idea of where I should start. Well, except with maybe majoring in English but I don't know what I should do in between community college and a four-year institution in the mean time to get a better idea of what to do. What would you recommend?

A:

I'm a high school drop out.

I spent my time doing what I want when I want. I travel around and find interesting stories and report on it.

School is good for connections but the truth is that you have to just go do journalism.

Look at Emily(my AP) she's 22 and just out working on these projects.


Q:

Also, are you going to the Netherlands? You said in the past you're going to cover most of Europe (Brussels, Paris etc). I really hope you do, and I think if you announce that on Youtube/Twitter you're going to get alot of donations to do your work. People wanna know what's relaly going on.

A:

I am!

We are hoping to get back to Europe very soon but might be stuck in the US for a bit.

Right now we are planning on going to Dearborn, MI and Buffalo to see how integration is working in the US.


Q:

do you think you will ever go back to Sweden?

A:

Yea, Maybe.

I say I dont want to go back but who knows


Q:

Other than Patreon what do you think the best monetisation strategies will be to get good quality journalism without any conflicts of interest? For individual journalists and companies alike.

A:

Patreon might be it, it is a direct subscription to my content without any strings attached.

Maybe campaign funding with GoFundMe but patreon really is better.


Q:

Slightly off topic but you mentioned you didn't like the social side of Sweden could you go into specifics?

A:

People are terrified to speak up because of social pressures. If you say anything offensive you could lose your job or your friends.

Most people stay inside an "opinion corridor" they call it.


Q:

Hi Tim, thanks for doing this. You've inspired me to start doing Journalism.

My question is: how do you make it work financially as an independent? I understand it's a case of just starting and putting it out there, but that's difficult with zero starting capital.

Thanks again, hopefully I get the privilege to work with you one day.

A:

I started with 0$ and a phone. I did it for fun.

While working at VICE I slept on my friends couch and just saved almost every penny.

Save save save, then travel somewhere.

Milana Vayntrub shot an amazing documentary on her cell phone!


Q:

Why does VICE suck shit now? Is it totally or only mostly because Disney owns you now?

A:

I dont work there.

It must be because I quit 2 years ago! Nah Im jk... I have no idea why.


Q:

How do you respond to the accusation that Vice "has ushered in a new low for its treatment of freelance journalists", published in the Columbia Journalism Review? Do you think Vice should be doing more to treat its freelancers better?

A:

Last I heard they started doing much better. They have a bad history though.

Overall I think VICE as a whole is one of the better media orgs but that doesn't mean they don't fuck up, and bad sometimes.


Q:

Tell me about TweetDeck! Do you use it? What's most valuable for you to do your job?

A:

I have a second monitor on 24/7 with news alerts set up.

On a scale of 1-10. 1 being garbage, 10 being amazing.

I give it a 4. It's there but sometimes a general twitter feed is better.