Presstorm is an online publication devoted to what its creator, Jamie Jo Corne, calls “investigative journalism.” In Corne’s own words, “We are investigative jouranlists [sic] who consider ourselves among the many who consider themselves to be anonymous as well.” This laughable statement is demonstrably loaded with fallacy. Jamie Jo Corne may consider herself among those who consider themselves among anonymous, but she has never even used the pretense of a pen name. As far as the lofty journalistic ethics of Presstorm go, they are no more than a mythology created by Corne for the purpose of self-promotion. At least Barrett Brown knows how to cite sources and present a valid point. Jamie Jo Corne can do neither, instead desperately putting on the most convincing show she can muster.
“…Presstorm staff agreed that we would continue upholding the integrity of true journalism by attempting to get the entire story which meant that we had to go in and become the devil’s advocates in order to find some truths…eventually we succeeded as we received exactly one tweet from the organizers confirming that Zuccotti Park was indeed a privately owned park (formerly known as Liberty Park).” ~ Jamie Jo Corne
This excerpt perfectly exemplifies Presstorm’s abysmal lack of rigor. A first-year journalism student would understand that “exactly one tweet” is confirmation of nothing. The absurd narrative of journalistic integrity Corne pushes is simply compensation for its complete absence. Truly, none of the writers at Presstorm are held to any standard above Jamie Jo Corne’s arbitrary decree.
Corne maintains, ”We have editing processes in place to help those who are writing – to be credible quality and true.” She explains, “the law here at presstorm is simple 1.) Nothing gets done without going through me first – or [my husband] vincubus. we are the publisher/co-publisher this includes interviews promoting shit ..etc 2.) When I am trying to talk about an issue in any of the chats Shut up and listen please. I always allow feedback.” It appears Corne believes herself to be a perfect filter for truth. In accordance with Presstorm law, the public should passively receive the wisdom of Corne before questioning it. This dictatorial model is perfectly in step with the hegemonic structures Corne purports to oppose.
Without a doubt, the content of Presstorm is largely unsupported opinion and factless editorial. Phillip Brennan writes on Presstorm, “Our Governments have been in a state of Civil War with We the People for years and we have not even realised it yet,” citing his own blog as evidence. Corne herself states, “There’s a reason that the American People don’t hear about a lot of things because in truth, the American People are some of the most silenced people in the world…and not by force.” Such sweeping, ambiguous statements may be true, but without any supporting evidence they don’t even pass for substantial editorial, much less investigative journalism.
Presstorm only serves as a soapbox for a self-selecting set of apopleptic and misinformed dissidents who have been known to cite anti-semitic forgeries and Alex Jones, all the while pretending this monstrosity is some kind of pinnacle of journalistic ethics. Presstorm is the worst possible incarnation of blogging. There is definitely a valid place for opinion in the media, but when it parades itself around as investigative journalism, a great harm is inflicted upon the notion of truth.
Worse yet, Corne believes herself to be the savior of the emergent Anonymous subculture. Corne stated, “I will make anonymous as a whole look like the asshats they were before I tried helping them with their PR as they asked me to.” Corne’s threat towards “anonymous as a whole” is sure evidence of a deeply delusional mental state. It appears Corne believes she is the sole curator of this entire movement, responsible for its rise and fall.
At the heart of it all, Jamie Jo Corne probably has good intentions, believing Presstorm provides a service for liberty and democracy. As she says, “it’s the voice of the people.” What makes Corne so naive is her belief that she is somehow providing a unique service. Of course, this is an obvious fallacy. Anyone can start a blog and freely opine from their own virtual soapbox. Presstorm is not providing a voice to the voiceless, it is putting the voice of the people on an unrealistic pedestal. Presstorm is not a positive contribution to freedom. It is not journalism. What Corne is doing is hitching a ride with the Anonymous bandwagon on her way to fame. “I am NOT a celebrity,” she explains, as complete cognitive dissonance overtakes her mind.