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This self-generated mythology—an anti-authoritarian truth-teller whose successes stemmed from confronting “the machine,” as Pool puts it—bears little resemblance to reality.

Contrary to the overall manner in which Pool portrays himself, he was not an intrepid field reporter and streamer who barreled into conflict zones filled with an unshakable desire to ferret out the real story. Pool was at times reluctant to leave the safety of his hotel room, according to several of the nearly 30 former co-workers and other acquaintances from the past decade who spoke with The Daily Beast. He’d come across as uninterested in interviewing subjects or doing much research. During shoots, Pool’s head was frequently buried in his phone, diligently tracking social media, only to blame his co-workers or equipment when he couldn’t live up to his clippings. Pool’s main focus when reporting, those on the ground with him said, was drawing attention to himself.