The Dallas suburb of Irving has become become an American flashpoint amid public concerns over the role of Islam and its sharia law — concerns which are expanding following the massacre of 14 people by Islamists in San Bernardino last week.
The established media made Irving’s mayor, Beth Van Duyne, into a target for accusations of ‘Islamophobia’ and supposed bigotry. Now, in an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, the mayor provided some insight into what it’s like to be the focus of the media’s narrative machine, and why she’s hopeful that new media is providing an alternate view.
Back in March, Van Duyne expressed her support for a Texas bill nicknamed ‘American Laws for American Courts,’ which said that American law supersedes foreign laws, including Islam’s Sharia law.
That declaration caused a protest of about five hundred local residents, including some from the local Muslim community, and it made Mayor Van Duyne the target of the national media’s attacks.
Then came “Clock Boy” Ahmed. Seemingly out of nowhere, the ginned-up story about Irving resident Ahmed Mohamed became national news in September, and was shot into the media stratosphere by a social media shout-out from President Barack Obama.
As Merrill Hope from Breitbart Texas reported, that sent the attacks on Van Duyne into overdrive:
…the very same media pushed a hard Islamophobia narrative when covering Van Duyne, Irving’s conservative mayor. Nevermind she balanced the city’s budget, increased property values and delivered AAA ratings from Moody’s and Standard & Poors during one of the weakest American economies, progressives meant to malign her as an “anti-Muslim Republican,” marginalize her for supporting law enforcement, and mock her patriotism.
Hyperlinks in “Clock Boy” pick up stories often route back to the Dallas Morning News, the apparent mouthpiece of the progressive narrative. The outlet pounced on Van Duyne for backing Irving school officials and the police department following Mohamed’s Sept. 14 arrest. The Dallas newspaper has been pretty free range in knocking Van Duyne, although the mere mention of Ahmed’s previous school discipline issues or his alleged uncooperativeness while under arrested get treated like sacrilege.
Those attacks fueled by the media also generated online threats:
Fifteen online communications obtained exclusively by Breitbart Texas reveal Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne as the target of troubling threats and foul-mouthed attacks made over the Dallas suburban school district’s handling of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, the boy who brought into high school an unassigned homemade clock creation perceived as “hoax” bomb last month.
This latest crop of emails, tweets and Facebook posts display an alarming tone of misogyny and sexual harassment. Some even advocate sexual violence towards the mayor. Thursday night, Irving police released 14 pages of messages and social media comments detailing threats sent to the city’s mayor and police following the Ahmed “Clock Boy” controversy.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, Van Duyne gave her side. The mayor said:
I feel like we’ve gotten so far into ‘political correctness’ that now being pro-America is somehow being anti-PC, and I think it’s frustrating because those of us who have taken a role—taken an oath as an elected official—obviously, we have pledged our allegiance to the United States and to our laws. I feel that because we’re supporting that, we’re somehow seen and labeled as the bad guys; as anti- something, as bigots, as hateful, and that’s very frustrating.
I’ve also seen where the media—instead of telling the entire story or even most of the story—what you see is the media telling that [small] percent that enforces their narrative, as opposed to actually telling the story and telling the news, they are creating the stories.
That has never been more serious than right now, where they are pushing a line and anything that is not supportive of that story doesn’t get told. It’s reliant now for those of us who are in the hot seat to put that information forward.
But we’re at a disadvantage. We’re not the media. We don’t the reach of people like a ABC, a CNN or a MSNBC, and they know that.
Once you start throwing labels on people, you stop having discussion, you shut down all sorts of opening of ideas. You’re labeled and therefore you’re dismissed. That has been attempted, I think in this case, by intimidation — “Stop talking, don’t go there, either fall in line or go away.”
I think what you’re seeing all around the country is – that line’s not working anymore. People are starting to recognize that we need to speak up. Just because the media’s bashing you, you have enough different new sources right that are telling the story, that there are other people starting to listen, and being very supportive too.
We need to hear both sides.