Interested in Paris Hiton? You are reading the wrong blog.

It was Peter Finch, in the 1976 movie Network, who first played a newsreader suffering an on-air breakdown. Driven to madness by poor ratings, Finch’s character snaps and tells viewers to shout: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.”

It’s hard not to think of Finch, who won an Oscar for his performance, when watching a similar implosion by the newsreader Mika Brzezinski on the cable news channel MSNBC on Wednesday morning.

Despite goading from her co-hosts, including the former Republican congressman turned rightwing talkshow host Joe Scarborough, Brzezinski stood her ground and refused to read her segment’s lead news item on Paris Hilton.

After a media frenzy that saw even arch-publicist Michael Moore elbowed off CNN’s Larry King show to make way for Hilton’s first post-jail interview, Brzezinski has become a cyberspace star. Clips of her shredding the script were the lead item on the Technorati search, while the blogosphere was alight with praise. “I have a new hero, and her name is Mika Brzezinski,” wrote one.

Mika Brzezinski
, daughter of former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, is class of 1989. Her brother Ian is class of 1986. The video is fun.

Staged or spontaneous? Anyone who knew Mika back in the day will go with the latter. (Thanks to a reader for the tip.)

UPDATE: Class information added. Thanks to alert reader DHT Kane.

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