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What it's like to be a little-known journalist who is suddenly the target of a Tucker Carlson Fox News rant

  • "Carlson cut his teeth jousting with the nation’s top elected officials and brand-name pundits on CNN’s Crossfire 20 years ago," says The Washington Post's Jeremy Barr. "But as his influence within the conservative media ecosystem has grown, with some calling for him to run for president in 2024, he has increasingly found fodder in criticizing lesser-known media figures whom he presents to his audience as symbols of liberalism run amok. And a subset of viewers are inspired to personally harass those journalists with threatening messages. Los Angeles Times columnist Virginia Heffernan told The Post that she contacted local police and filed a report with the Federal Bureau of Investigation — mentioning Carlson by name — after a Feb. 8 segment on his show took aim at a column she published three days earlier. Heffernan wrote a provocative — but 'slightly satirical,' she says — column sharing with readers her internal moral dilemma after her Trump-supporting next door neighbor plowed her driveway of snow. (It drew the ire of Jim Hoft of the far-right Gateway Pundit, who called her 'hateful, humorless and intolerant.') Carlson highlighted Heffernan on his show, sharing her photo with a chyron on the screen describing her as a 'loathsome L.A. Times columnist.' 'Have you noticed that the angriest people in America are the ones with absolutely no useful skills?' Carlson asked. 'People like Virginia Heffernan. No useful skills. Does not do anything.' Heffernan said she received waves of harassing and threatening messages, including letters mailed to her home address and a text message to her phone from a sender indicating a knowledge of where she lived. The text message in particular spooked her, and her local police department took it seriously. Officers drove past her house and around her neighborhood multiple times, she said." Barr notes that many of the journalists who've been named on Carlson's show are reluctant to come forward because they don't want to face a new round of harassment.

    TOPICS: Tucker Carlson, Fox News Channel, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Cable News