Saturday, June 30, 2007

Journalist with guts

Mika Brzezinski
Are you as sick of Paris Hilton as I am? Take a look at this excerpt from an article called "America Could Do With a Few Feral Beasts":

Brzezinski presents the news on the popular US cable breakfast show Morning Joe. On this particular morning, however, she simply could not bring herself to present the lead item chosen by her producer: Paris Hilton’s release from jail. “I have an apology,” she began, “and that is for the lead story. I hate this story. I don’t think it should be the lead.”

While the programme’s host, Joe Scarborough, berated her with vague, panicky insults - “That’s a cop-out”; “Take control of your life” - Brzezinski wrestled a lighter from another co-presenter and attempted to set fire to the hated script. When that failed, she ripped it up and crumpled it into a ball. But her trials were not yet over: she was simply handed a fresh script, with Paris still at the top. “I’m about to snap,” she declared grimly. “My producer is not listening to me.” She then stalked away from her desk and proceeded to feed the script through a paper shredder.

It was only a partial victory - Scarborough insisted on running the footage of Paris mincing coquettishly out of the prison gates, while the despairing Brzezinski buried her head in her hands - but it was enough to turn her into an overnight hero. An edited clip of the show on YouTube has been viewed 518,000 times, with the viewers’ comments suggesting near-ecstatic public approval.

“Mika Brzezinski, I want to let you carry my babies,” swoons one admirer. “She has to be the most intelligent woman on earth,” proclaims another. There is much righteous agreement on the need for more “real” news. One dissenting voice suggests that the whole thing was a set-up - isn’t it a bit suspicious that there was a paper shredder on the studio floor? - but even if that were true (and it’s hard to trace the logic behind such a conspiracy), the incident still speaks volumes about the angst at the heart of American journalism.

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