A US newsreader has attempted to set fire to herself in a protest against having to read out news about celebrity jailbird Paris Hilton ahead of the war in Iraq.
Mika Brzezinski doused herself in petrol and struck a match on air as she began reading the news on MSNBC's Morning Joe programme yesterday.
Miss Brzezinski was engulfed in an exploding fireball, but was rescued by several quick-thinking cameramen who urinated on her and her script. She was taken to hospital but was allowed home later to wash her clothes.
The newsreader's reaction to the importance being attached to Hilton's story is one that many Americans understand. The celebrity heiress has rarely been out of the news since her paltry 45-day sentence was first announced, and her subsequent early release, recapture and jail experiences have never been far from the front pages.
Mike Tinderbox, a colleague of Miss Brzezinski at MSNBC, said:
"It seems as if Paris is more important than our boys in Iraq. Someone had to say something. But it might have been been better to have burned her script."