Debunking the Latest Smear Effort by the Rabidly Anti-Choice Personhood Campaign
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“If the Masons were truly scared and going into hiding, I hope they’d be more cooperative with us,” she said, explaining that the Masons’ public campaign had undermined their investigation. “You don’t release a press release and contact the media if you want to protect your children. But that’s just from a police perspective.” In a culture war against reproductive health and rights, however, drama is a key weapon. Because it works.
What ultimately got a guffaw out of Investigator Spottke was prominent pro-lifer Jill Stanek’s unwarranted assertion that “whether this is deemed a terrorist attack or hate crime will be up to the FBI, which is now involved.” Composing herself, Spottke assured RD that that no, the FBI is not involved. A private citizen can’t get the FBI involved without coming through her agency, which she doesn’t see happening. The Mason case, as the inspector emphasized, is criminal mischief, which is neither a hate crime nor domestic terrorism.
Personal, Not Political
The most serious threat to Mason’s claim is that police are investigating the case as a personal vendetta by fellow pro-life Christian activists; an approach that has nothing to do with the pro-choice movement. Despite last week’s conservative media frenzy, the Mason case is officially personal—it’s “coincidental,” not politically motivated or associated.
According to investigator Spottke, the “person of interest” is actually a couple the Masons had a falling out with—former friends who “have the same beliefs and standings as the Masons.” Spottke informed RD that Mason had asked the police to talk to someone they knew well who’d posted “pretty derogatory remarks” on The Daily Beast, specifically against his wife.
The nasty reader comment at the start of this article didn’t stop with critique of character. The full text read:
These people are evil, judgmental, self-righteous ego-maniacs—Bob Enyart, a convicted child abuser is the man behind PersonhoodUSA & currently the Masons are under investigation for criminal conspiracy & online criminal libel for making numerous false reports of child abuse against an innocent family. [ Link to Enyart charges added, but no corroboration could be found for the allegations against the Masons —Ed.]
Bob Enyart is an influential pastor of the Denver Bible Church, under whose auspices the Masons organize—he’s an inflammatory anti-gay, anti-choice activist and national radio host, arrested for protesting Focus on the Family as too liberal. A quick search of Enyart and the Masons turns up a pair of disgruntled former co-agitators, Dani and Curtis Kekoa, an anti-government Christian-Right couple out to expose all three Personhood USA leaders as criminals and frauds.
A blog set up by the Kekoas details the soap-opera betrayal that forced them from Rev. Enyart’s flock and to break their years-long friendship with the Masons. In two separate posts, Dani mentions being banned from Newsweek comments on the Mason profile and how The Daily Beast “had to close down the comments suddenly after the TRUTH about the Masons’ online criminal activity was exposed.”
Although the police can’t confirm that the Kekoas are their “persons of interest,” one look at the Kekoas’ Facebook page, “ Boycott Bob Enyart, the Convicted Child Abuser,” (with its image gallery of screen shots from the now-deleted Daily Beast comments list) is enough to make it a plausible theory.
A False Equivalence
Anti-abortion propagandists have since backed away from the Mason smear campaign, perhaps because the facts don’t add up. Still, a correction has yet to be issued by any of the involved parties and the damage has been done.
One Colorado Senator leapt to condemn the ugly tactics of intimidation by “opponents of Personhood.” And the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America issued a press statement condemning the “deplorable” attacks on Keith Mason: “Differences aside, we reject any acts of violence and intimidation on those who do not share our views.”