Former Chief Deputy County Attorney Kirsten Pabst Lashes Out at Missoulian/Florio on Rape Coverage

by jhwygirl

This post was updated.

Tonight I sit with two very different pieces of writing, both which leave me with a “did they really say that” feeling. For now, I think, we’ll go with Ms. Pabst’s blog.

In her personal blog on an undated post, Kirsten H. Pabst, of Pabst Law Office takes on the Missoulian with a post titled Why Reporters Should be Elected Officials.

No link, sorry. Ms. Pabst has now removed the post.

Do make sure to hit that link, because I strongly suspect that it will soon disappear.

Really? Let’s absorb that concept a moment: Reporters should be elected officials.

The logic behind her reasoning is that reporters “are apparently accountable to no one.”

Elected officials are the ones who should bring us news because they are “elected, represent the populous and operate within a time-honored system of checks and balances.”

She cites the example of an elected mayor – that “when enough of us disagree with his job performance, we elect another one. If he violates the law, there are legal avenues available to hold him accountable.”

Apparently a mayor – because he is elected – is better to report the news because (a) we can get rid of him if we don’t like him and (b) – right in her own words – “there are legal avenues available to hold him accountable.”

I had no idea journalism operated in its a vacuum where the law does not apply to it. According to Ms. Pabst, journalism lacks “checks and balances.”

Yep. Tell that to Rupert Murdock.

All of this is based on what she calls the “Missoulian’s campaign to make the people of Missoula believe we are in the midst of a sexual crisis to frighten people into buying papers.”

The great “Let’s Make Missoula Look Like Shit” conspiracy that all newspapers do, and is is oh-so-good for the guys in the advertising department.

According to Ms. Pabst – and you know, I do want to hope that she is right because we’d all be better off –

Without getting into inappropriate detail, I assure you that the foundation for the string of ‘sexual scandal’ articles is not based in fact. The unfortunate reality is that the officials in charge of setting the record straight have their hands tied by the Montana Confidential Criminal Justice Information Act. When the police and prosecutors decline to file charges against a suspect, all of the facts—especially the identities of the parties—are legally sealed. The reason for this rule is obvious: when there is not enough evidence to file charges against someone, the accused person remains legally innocent and they should not be subjected to public humiliation unless there is proof of wrongdoing.

Well – it’s hard to argue with that, certainly – but does it not have the faint sound of that darned “student code of conduct” that President Royce Engstrom hides the university’s felons behind?

One has to wonder why a the former (Ms. Pabst left her position with the county just this past March) chief deputy county attorney for Missoula County’s criminal division is able to call out the Missoulian for reporting….facts….while ignoring University of Montana Royce Engstrom publicly admitting that a rapist escaped…or that he has removed (8) students from campus after his own independent investigation revealed enough evidence to merit expulsion.

Aren’t there laws about hiding felons? Criminals? What the hell is obstruction of justice?

And just where are those 8 expelled students living now? On Garfield Street? River Road? Hellgate Meadows?

Every defendant is entitled competent representation, that I don’t deny. But as Don Pogreba of Intelligent Discontent points out below in the comments, Ms.Pabst has an inherent conflict which isn’t apparent in her private manifesto on journalism: Ms. Pabst – while still the county’s chief deputy attorney for the criminal division – testified on behalf of a student accused of sexual assault during a university hearing.

I read this kind of elitist “our mayor is better qualified to report the news” stuff I just shake my head. Here is someone who had operated in the realm of enforcing laws openly lamenting the facts – not disputing them – while ignoring those that obstruct justice.

When you couple that with the author being a lawyer who also seems to think that journalism operates in a vacuum outside the rule of law, I’ma gonna say it’s hard to take serious at all.


  1. Don’t forget that Ms. Pabst also testified on behalf of a student accused of sexual assault during a university hearing while she was a Deputy County Attorney.

    http://missoulian.com/news/local/feds-to-investigate-sexual-assault-response-by-um-missoula-police/article_f04c2cb6-931e-11e1-bb9c-001a4bcf887a.html

    • Good goddess.

      Thanks Don.

      I am contemplation a wiki of sorts for all things UM rape. There is so much, it’s impossible to remember (though a, search of the Missoulian probably would have helped.)

      Probably should quit thinking & start doing.

      ~jhwygirl

  2. Buzz Feedback

    More wagon-circling.

  3. Adam

    Our Mayor already does report the news. He has an $80k per year communications director soley to make himself look better and gleam his longstanding ties to the Missoulian. How’s that working out for us Ms. Pabst?

  4. Dear jhwygirl,
    Sorry to be confusing. I don’t really think we should be electing reporters. It was an attempt at metaphor intended to illustrate the wide-spread damage that can be caused by irresponsible journalism. I hold the journalism industry in high esteem and recognize the important function in serves in checking government. But with great power comes great responsibility. Michael Moore was a responsible reporter. Tristan Scott is a responsible reporter. Jamie Kelly was a responsible reporter. Erica Schenck was a responsible reporter. I don’t claim to be particularly smart and am certainly not a writer. But I do smell manipulation a mile away.
    And no, I don’t think the mayor should be a reporter. And no, I don’t condone anything the university has been doing. I just think that people who publically accuse others of terrible things should take available steps to check their facts. Simple. And that has not been happening.
    As time allows, I’m working on another essay currently called Anonymity: Truth’s Greatest Impediment. I doubt you will like it either.

    Kirsten H. Pabst

    • KC Whistle

      Well we can talk about Thomas Paine or Ben Franklin, and their anonymous speech.

      • Cathie

        From the sounds of Kirsten Pabst’s post along with her subsequent comment, it sounds to me as if she has no famiarity with basic American history.

        I read Kirsten’s post. She does not challenge the facts put forth by the Missoulian. She just says that she doesn’t like the way they’re presented.
        Kirsten is now challenging alphabet girl, yet here again, she hasn’t disputed anything she’s written.
        What,pray tell Kirsten,is a lie in the bloggers post?
        Kirsten’s statement sounds malicious to me.

        Signed
        Catherine Burkland

        • Jane Doe

          You say Mrs. Pants doesn’t understand American History, yet you give no reasoning to support your stupid suggestion.

    • Pete Talbot

      Looking forward to the essay on anonymity, Ms. Pabst. Yes, there are some scalawags who hide behind anonymous titles. On the other hand, some of the greatest whistle blowers in history have been anonymous. Deep Throat from the Watergate scandal comes to mind. It often takes anonymous sources to get a story rolling. Then one gets confirmation and people to go on the record.

    • lizard19

      truth’s greatest impediment is anonymity? damn, I thought it was advertising.

  5. BlackBart

    The reality-challenged and the guilty have used “shoot the messenger” unsuccessfully since Shakespeare’s time, or even before that. Add to that what I’ll call, for lack of a better term, the “Chamber of Commerce Group-think” that bad news in a community is bad for business so it must be suppressed, and you’ve got an environment where things can fester.
    That’s what happened in Missoula and at Penn State, and for that matter, in Libby, where people were actually dying yet that reality was ignored until an out-of-state journalist got a tip from a doctor and pursued the cancer story. Even in Libby there was a split among people who grew tired of attending funerals of friends and family and those who thought the bad news might effect property values.
    The other lesson history teaches us is that attempted cover-ups fail and then destroy the reputations of those who failed to do the right thing in the first place.

  6. cosmicgarden

    Oh please. We all know the difference between innocent people and “legally innocent” people. It’s laughable to hear an attorney whining about “corporate owners.” If Ms. Pabst thinks the facts don’t support the Missoulian reporting, then let her put out some facts to disprove it. Otherwise, this is only her opinion. “Just another Tuesay” – it seems like Ms. Pabst thinks rape is no big deal.

  1. 1 Montana Democrats Have Bigger Problems Than Media Whores | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] sometimes it’s not okay to blame the media, like when Kirsten Pabst railed against the Missoulian and Gwen Florio for stoking the rape scandal. To be fair, scapegoating the media in that case did come off as […]

  2. 2 Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst charged with no famiarity with basic American history | Kirsten Pabst- Expose of Another Corrupt District Attorney

    […] Former Chief Deputy County Attorney Kirsten Pabst Lashes Out at Missoulian/Florio on Rape Coverage […]

  3. 3 Krakauer Gives jhwygirl Big Shout Out | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] When the rape scandal we still haven’t recovered from as a community was playing out in the media a few years back, Kirsten Pabst blogged about her discontent with the media. And jhwygirl blogged back. […]

  4. 4 Former Prosecutor Set To Take Over Missoula Office That Mistreated Rape Victims On Her Watch - Best Seller Shop

    […] saw as unjustly accused of rape and sexual assault. In a 2012 blog post captured by forum users and bloggers before she deleted it, Pabst wrote that the town’s alleged sexual assault crisis was a […]

  5. 5 Former Prosecutor Set To Take Over Missoula Office That Mistreated Rape Victims On Her Watch | Bullet Metro

    […] saw as unjustly accused of rape and sexual assault. In a 2012 blog post captured by forum users and bloggers before she deleted it, Pabst wrote that the town’s alleged sexual assault crisis was a […]

  6. 6 Former Prosecutor Set To Take Over Missoula Office That Mistreated Rape Victims On Her Watch | Personal Injury Lawyer Team

    […] saw as unjustly accused of rape and sexual assault. In a 2012 blog post captured by forum users and bloggers before she deleted it, Pabst wrote that the town’s alleged sexual assault crisis was a […]

  7. 7 Former Prosecutor Set To Take Over Missoula Office That Mistreated Rape Victims On Her Watch | Mash Nova!Mash Nova!

    […] saw as unjustly accused of rape and sexual assault. In a 2012 blog post captured by forum users and bloggers before she deleted it, Pabst wrote that the town’s alleged sexual assault crisis was a […]

  8. 8 Former Prosecutor Set To Take Over Missoula Office That Mistreated Rape Victims On Her Watch | I Love Train Wrecks

    […] saw as unjustly accused of rape and sexual assault. In a 2012 blog post captured by forum users and bloggers before she deleted it, Pabst wrote that the town’s alleged sexual assault crisis was a […]




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