Francesca Martinez: My Week in Media

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The Independent Online

Last week I watched...

After turning down the opportunity to carry the Olympic torch as a protest against China's human-rights abuses in Tibet, I found myself glued to my seat watching the torch relay in Paris last Monday. It certainly didn't appear to be a joyful occasion, much less a celebration. The security surrounding the torchbearers had the unfortunate effect of making the bearers seem like criminals. It made me very happy with my decision and I was very relieved that I had turned it down.

My guilty TV pleasure is The Apprentice – possibly the most enjoyable hour of my week (hopefully, my boyfriend won't read this). Where do they find these people? The producers have clearly worked very hard to find the most arrogant businesspeople out there, and the results are hilarious. I also love Curb Your Enthusiasm, which has just ended. I love Larry David, and it ties in with The Apprentice because it's cringe comedy, which I'm quite a fan of.

Last week I read...

Although I haven't been reading the media, I have been reading about it. I'm reading the Noam Chomsky and Edward S Herman classic, Manufacturing Consent, which is now 20 years old. It's an enlightening read, exposing and explaining the inherent bias in the mainstream media, and its unquestioned, almost unnoticed, servility to state and corporate power. It should be required reading for every journalist and journalist-to-be.

I did read in The Independent about the ramifications of the torch relay, and that it might be abandoned after the San Francisco leg. It's fantastic that it has become a front-page story. Last week, eight monks were killed just for having a photo of the Dalai Lama.

Last week I listened to...

BBC Five Live is on all day as I live with big sports fans. I sometimes find the presentation of news is plagued by the tyranny of even-handedness, with interviewers taking the opposing view, whatever the issue. I did lots of interviews on the torch relay, and without fail every interviewer said, "I'm going to play devil's advocate here...".

Last week I surfed...

I often find myself on, but I like to broaden my horizons, so have been looking at It tries to provide a corrective to the distortion and bias sometimes found in the mainstream media.

Francesca Martinez is a comedian. See for tour dates