A slightly overweight 40 year old lawyer with a greying beard across the desk from the slightly overweight, beaded change my mine guy, who also has side holsters and they're on air and it's in the style of 8-bit voxel art

I recently documented how I archived content from creators I subscribed to on Locals. I subscribed to VivaBarnes when they first joined the platform in 2020, and I also subscribed to Louder with Crowder when it switched to Locals from The Blaze. For years, I felt like both had done an excellent job of informing and/or entertaining their audience in some very difficult times. However, both have had their own controversies over the years. Over time, I gained less from the subscriber-only content. The quality of their work has degraded. My own research has found they’ve both been pushing their own narrative stories, sometimes directly opposed to the facts of the events they cover. I don’t regret supporting them, but I think I’ve exhausted the value I received from their videos. This month, my subscriptions end for the only two people I follow on Locals.

Robert Barnes

My introduction to the world of YouTube legal analysis came from VivaFrei, a Canadian “litigator turned YouTuber Rumbler.” He does weekly streams with an American lawyer, Robert Barnes. In the past, I’ve found these streams incredibly enlightening. I’ve quoted Robert Barnes in some of my articles, including posts about the 2020 election, the controversial approvals of untested drugs, the Supreme Court case involving mandatory medical procedures, and the Alex Jones case.

Peter Thiel

Although I found Barnes’s analysis to be insightful, I’ve heard another lawyer referrer to him as a “blowhard.” There have been moments where I’ve seriously questioned Barnes’s analysis. Robert Barnes has defended Peter Thiel’s connection to the World Economic Forum, and criticized James Corbett’s own investigative work1. Theil co-founded Palantir, a company that worked with Cambridge Analytica on their acquisition of Facebook data2, expanded various NSA domestic spying programs3, and has direct ties to the CIA and Operation Warp Speed4. Peter Theil was one of the first investors in Facebook, a company whose founding has connections to DARPA5. Thiel’s connections to the PayPal Mafia, and companies involved in global spying, have been well documented by reporters like Whitney Webb and James Corbett.

Viva Frei and Robert Barnes have both benefited from their deal with Rumble. Robert Barnes has even drafted some of Rumble’s content and moderation policies67, placing him in a position where defending Rumble serves his interests. I trust James Corbett far more than I trust Robert Barnes. Barnes’s statements about Peter Thiel go against every other analyst in the alternative media space, and seem like they’re made solely to defend his interest in Rumble.

Nick Rekieta

Nick Rekieta is a lawyer who live streams legal analysis. He’s struggled with censorship from YouTube because he’s had the audacity to stand up against child groomers. He also might be suffering from substance abuse issues8, and he was recently arrested9. Many YouTube lawyers have commented on the case, but Robert Barns really went the extra mile. He claimed that this case raised constitutional issues involving the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and even the 6th amendments to the constitution10. However, the warrant was issued with probable cause, the weapons charges seem legitimate, and the resulting charges are serious11. Barnes is arguing constitutional law in the theoretical universe he wishes we lived in, rather than actual precedent followed in American courts today.

Alex Jones

Robert Barnes has always held that Alex Jones never referred to any of the plaintiffs in the Sandy Hook defamation cases as “crisis actors.” Barnes claims the entire basis of his defamation case comes from people he interviewed long after the shooting12. He’s also held to the narrative that the real cover up at Sandy Hook involved negligence in not implementing basic safety precautions, such as classroom doors that can be locked from the inside by teachers13.

Barnes was an attorney for Alex Jones at one time, and he’s continued to fight for Alex Jones in the court of public opinion. I don’t blame him for that, and it is tragic that no one else is covering how Alex Jones has been denied jury trials, with the judges offering summary judgments for his plaintiffs. Yet, Barnes does this by defending the official narrative of Sandy Hook. There are many outstanding questions about the Sandy Hook shooting, such as: how did the anorexic shooter14 carry 30 lbs of ammunition (1/3 of his body weight)15? Why were there conflicting timelines on when the shootings happened, the length of the shootings, and whether police had returned fire or not16? Why was Robbie Parker, one of the victim’s parents, seen laughing before being interviewed on CNN17, and why were videos of this press conference deleted from YouTube immediately18? Why did all the victim’s families speak about gun control in interviews, and act so differently from other victims’ families of mass shootings19?

Barnes may really believe in Alex Jones, and he may truly believe people who support alternative versions of the Sandy Hook events do so because they cannot deal with the trauma of the shooting. He could just as easily realize all the inconsistencies in the Sandy Hook narrative, but ignore them in order to keep pushing his defense of Alex Jones in the court of public opinion. The Alex Jones case should terrify everyone, because it could create a legal precedent where people cannot risk any alternative theories of major events for fear of civil lawsuits. It’s already had a chilling effect on the way alternative media covers mass shootings. It’s just another case where Barnes overlooks the actual point in order to make an argument for his specific story.

The Blowhard

Robert Barnes does not give his audience an analysis. He gives them an argument. On a live stream, you are the jury, and he is the attorney you want to side with. While I think Barnes has issued some good analysis in the past, his absolutely insane stance on the Israel conflict shows he’s out of touch with many modern-day conservatives. He is always fighting in the court of public opinion, directing his ideology at his audience. It makes for some entertaining content, but it’s devoid of real balance, candor or actual legal analysis.

Viva Frei

I really loved Viva Frei’s early videos, which he called VLAWGs. They were short, law-oriented, video blogs. He’d take complex legal issues and break them down into digestible segments. In these carefully edited 10 to 15 minute long videos, he’d succinctly point out the hypocrisy of many mainstream media outlets. He showed you could give people accurate and nuanced viewpoints in concise video segments. After Viva’s move from YouTube to Rumble as his primary platform, he switched modes and became a streamer. This changed the entire dynamic of his content.

I think VivaFrei’s coverage of the truckers protest in Canada was phenomenal. He walked down the streets and talked to people for hours, dispelling the myths being spread about the truckers by the legacy media. However, it was one of the key moments that changed the direction of his channel. Live streams can result in followers developing parasocial relationships, where audience members start to feel they have a meaningful social connection to someone on their screen20. They also often require dedication from the fan base, who are willing to watch some person with a web camera ramble on and organize his or her thoughts and opinions. In many ways, it’s the opposite of well-edited video analysis.

I’ll occasionally watch a few minutes of a live stream by either Viva Frei or Nick Rekieta, but not often. I’m not a fan of the format, especially if it’s just a single talking head. Viva does occasionally make shorter videos, or simply clip segments from his live stream. However, his content really hasn’t been the same since he entered his streaming phase. I no longer get the same value out of his videos.

Steven Crowder

I gave Steven Crowder the benefit of the doubt when video emerged of a dispute with his wife, and after Dave Landau had spoken about working for the show.

In recent months, another former staff member described the hostile work environment at Louder with Crowder, as well as ongoing legal issues with the former employer. Gerald Morgan, the CEO of Louder with Crowder and Steven’s co-host, did an entire half-hour episode by himself dedicated to damage control from Jared’s accusations, shifting blame entirely to Crowder’s wife and their ongoing divorce proceedings21. However, if you simply pause the screen during Gerald’s message and read the evidence they show (not just the parts they highlight), it appears Crowder wants full custody of the children taken from his wife, is lying about the “destroyed ring camera footage,” and never addresses Jared’s statements about legal harassment22. Gerald Morgan sits on screen for thirty minutes and blatantly lies to the audience. He flashes his evidence so quickly on screen that he hopes no one pauses to read it.

Crowder’s lawyers apparently harassed a reporter at his divorce proceeding, falsely accusing him of recording the procedure23, (which is illegal in Texas). Many have noticed Yakuza Casey, one of the sound engineers, disappeared silently from the show. There are unconfirmed rumors his departure might have been due to a love affair between him and a female staff member, and possibly even a love triangle involving Steven24.

Crowder was always a weird enigma: a man professing to be a Christian talk show host who uses endless amounts of profanity. The quality of the show has been in steady decline. The new investigative segments are often sketchy and ethically questionable. Bringing up any of this in Mug Club often results in name-calling. The board seems to be filled with dedicated and toxic fans. The morals of the staff seem rife with hypocrisy, and Crowder himself seems like a raging narcissist.


Steven Crowder and Viva Barnes were the only two communities I’ve paid subscriptions to on Locals. I do feel I’ve gotten a lot out of both shows in the past. However, I’m not a fan of Viva’s new preference for streaming formats. I think Crowder’s show has gotten shoddy; his investigations are ethically questionable. Barnes is constantly arguing to his audience as if they were a jury. The value of all three, for any type of news analysis, has taken a sharp decline.

Cancelled Subscriptions for VivaBarnesLaw and Mug Club

Viva and Barnes announced a meetup for their fans in my hometown (where Barnes is originally from). It was on one of the tourist riverboats, and required a $300 donation to one of Barnes’s organizations. I was teaching choreography for a wedding dance with a friend of mine in Kentucky that weekend. Yet, even if I had been in town, I’m not sure if I would have paid $300 just to meet them or talk to other fans of the show (fans who also had $300 to burn). I’ve previously gone to meetups for the No Agenda podcast, which involves genuine fans of the show getting together at a bar or restaurant in cities all around the world. They’ve always been fun, inexpensive and worth the trip.

I’ve written a program to archive content from Locals, but I doubt I’ll continue to maintain it since I’ve ended all my subscriptions. I’ve supported both of these creators for years, but lately I’ve gotten less and less from both of these shows. I’m sure I’ll check in from time to time, and I’m sure they’ll continue to produce content for years to come, but they’ll do it without my money.

  1. Pelosi-Gate; True the Vote JAILED; Trump sues NY AG; Musk & MORE! Viva & Barnes!. 6 November 2022. Viva Frei. 

  2. Palantir worked with Cambridge Analytica on the Facebook data it acquired, whistleblower alleges. 27 March 2018. Kharpal. CNBC. 

  3. Peter Thiel’s Palantir allegedly helped NSA spy programme XKeyscore, new Snowden documents reveal. 23 Feburary 2017. Ashok. International Business Times UK. 

  4. Palantir’s Tiberius, Race, and the Public Health Panopticon. 7 December 2020. Loffredo. Webb. Unlimited Hangouts. 

  5. The Military Origins of Facebook. 12 April 2021. Webb. Unlimited Hangouts. 

  6. Rumble Proposes an Open-Source Content Moderation Policy & Process to Improve Transparency & Put Creators First. 16 June 2022. Rumble. 

  7. Alex Jones Lawyer Helps Rumble Change Policy for Hate Groups. 16 August 2022. Sollenberger. Daily Beast. 

  8. The Self Implosion of Nick Rekieta. 23 May 2024. @Bearing. Odysee 

  9. Nick Rekieta Saga GETS WORSE - Seedy Wife Swapping Partner Reveals ALL!. @Bearing. 31 May 2024. Odysee. 

  10. Ep. 212: Trump FBI Raid; Alex Jones’ Lawyer Victory; Biden Ballot & MORE! Viva & Barnes. 26 May 2024. VivaFrei. (20m:10s) 

  11. And I can prove it. As KUSK’s resident defender, let me break down Barnes’s politically-motivated bullshit for you. Attend.. 27 May 2024. @chadmulligan. X. ThreadReader 

  12. Ep. 110: Marjorie Taylor Greene, Johnny Depp, Ukraine, Trump AND MORE! Viva & Barnes Live!. 24 April 2022. VivaFrei. 

  13. U.S. Lawyer: Classroom keys were missing on day of Sandy Hook massacre. 6 September 2017. CBS/AP/ 

  14. Was Adam Lanza anorexic considering he was 6 ft and 112 pounds?. 24 Feburary 2024. Yobt. Quora. 

  15. The Official Narrative. Episode 7: Shooting (part 2). 11 July 2021. Soph. Censored.TV Archive 

  16. Sandy Hooked. Retrieved 16 June 2024. Archive 

  17. Family of 6-Year-Old Victim Speaks. 5:22 PM ET. 14 December 2012. CNN. Mirror Mirror 

  18. WayBack Archive from 2017-08-04-031441 of CNN Interview 

  19. Sandy Hook and the Politics of Mass Shootings - James Tracy, #331. 12 August 2015. Guns and Butter. (Podcast) Mirror 

  20. Casually Explained: Twitch Streamers. 26 September 2021. Casually Explained. 

  21. Here’s what you don’t know…. 27 March 2024. Steven Crowder. 

  22. Steven Crowder Goes To WAR With Jared. 2 April 2024. Actual Justice Warrior. Mirror 

  23. Steven Crowder’s Divorce Trial. 23 June 2023. Current Revolt. 

  24. Steven Crowder / LouderWithCrowder / @scrowder / The “Change my Mind” meme guy - Talk show host who burns all bridges, even with his own wife. 26 April 2024. 0bvious Bananas. Kiwifarms.