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