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February 08, 2002: Is it really too much to ask?

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Dear NBC,

The Olympics are here again, and this means that, despite my unwillingness to have to deal with them, I am forced to endure your "News Personalities" on a daily basis. If I want to watch the opening ceremonies, I must listen to their inane babbling. If I want to watch figure skating I must strain to hear the music over their useless chatter. There seems to be absolutely no escape from them.

So I have a request. Could you please, maybe for just ten minutes each hour, show the Olympic sports completely silent? Let the music play, display the name of the athlete on the screen, and pretend for just one second that the intellect of the American public isn't really on par with your average avocado and can actually figure out that when the skater falls it's a bad thing and she's probably not happy about it. Don't explain to me what the production is about because by golly I might just be able to figure it out myself. Don't babble endlessly in the background and make your viewers wish they could just chuck the remote through the screen and bean your "News Personalities" in the head, if only to make them SHUT UP, just SHUT UP for even a few seconds of precious quiet.

And then, would you please publish that ten minute time slot, so we can all tune in without having to wade through your endless dramatic renditions of all the trials and tribulations the Olympic athletes are going through. Let us pretend for just a few minutes each hour that we can actually afford to be there at the Olympics, on site, and have the luxury of watching the performances without having the pain and agony of people babbling idiotically in the background telling us things we already know.

Give it a try. I'll bet you'll have more people watching during that ten-minute no-talking zone than at any other time during the hour. Although if it makes your "News Personalities" happy, they can keep on yammering; just turn off their microphones so the rest of us simply don't have to hear them.

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