A Modest Proposal

It is said that suspended NBC anchorman Brian Williams earns $10 million a year to approve stories for the air on the “NBC Nightly News,” read the script for the program, and introduce pieces by various correspondents during the program.

Obviously $10 million doesn’t get you much in the way of professionalism these days, so I have a modest proposal and a few pledges for the executives now mulling over soft-focus news retreads and vapid chat show hosts to fill the seat of the conflated raconteur:

I’ll do it for half a million a year and 10 million times better. I think I have the necessary qualifications to read the news on television.

I have been reading since before kindergarten. I am comfortable in front of a camera. While it’s true I do not resemble an animatronic mannequin from the men’s department at Macy’s, I am a decent looking guy with enough gray hair that adds the necessary touch of gravitas to such an important program. I am well-versed in current events and once worked for C-SPAN, where openly expressing one’s personal political opinion is grounds for dismissal. I realize that’s not how things currently work at NBC, but perhaps it’s time for hope and change.

I will do the job, which is to say I will read the news. As a bonus just for you, I will do so without affectation, exaggeration, or prejudice.

I will not shill for any presidential administration or congressional majority or minority on or off the air. While I realize this probably disqualifies me, I yet make the promise. Perhaps you may win back, oh, half the viewing population if you stick with me. I certainly will not bow to Barack Obama or his successors.

If I find myself embedded with a military unit, I will report on its activities without self-aggrandizement and without compromising its mission.

I can safely say that the only hurricane victims I have ever seen in New Orleans were stumbling out of Pat O’Brien’s.

My demands are few:

As noted, $500,000 per year in salary will do just fine. Take the remaining savings to perhaps reopen a foreign bureau or two, or distribute it to the producers and camera operators in the field who do most of the work that somehow accrues to newsreaders.

No limousine. Although I’ve never lived in New York, I’m sure I can find my way to work on my own.

I will not “slow jam the news” with Jimmy Fallon or yuk it up with Letterman or Colbert.

I will never appear on MSNBC.

Four box seats anytime the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, or the Purdue University men’s basketball team play in the New York City area.

That’s it. I don’t have an agent Take it or leave it. The news will be delivered objectively by a guy who doesn’t make stuff up, doesn’t care to be on the A-List, and doesn’t think of himself as an amalgam of Patton, Murrow, and Seinfeld.

On second thought, make it a million a year.

Matthew May can be reached at may.matthew.t@gmail.com

It is said that suspended NBC anchorman Brian Williams earns $10 million a year to approve stories for the air on the “NBC Nightly News,” read the script for the program, and introduce pieces by various correspondents during the program.

Obviously $10 million doesn’t get you much in the way of professionalism these days, so I have a modest proposal and a few pledges for the executives now mulling over soft-focus news retreads and vapid chat show hosts to fill the seat of the conflated raconteur:

I’ll do it for half a million a year and 10 million times better. I think I have the necessary qualifications to read the news on television.

I have been reading since before kindergarten. I am comfortable in front of a camera. While it’s true I do not resemble an animatronic mannequin from the men’s department at Macy’s, I am a decent looking guy with enough gray hair that adds the necessary touch of gravitas to such an important program. I am well-versed in current events and once worked for C-SPAN, where openly expressing one’s personal political opinion is grounds for dismissal. I realize that’s not how things currently work at NBC, but perhaps it’s time for hope and change.

I will do the job, which is to say I will read the news. As a bonus just for you, I will do so without affectation, exaggeration, or prejudice.

I will not shill for any presidential administration or congressional majority or minority on or off the air. While I realize this probably disqualifies me, I yet make the promise. Perhaps you may win back, oh, half the viewing population if you stick with me. I certainly will not bow to Barack Obama or his successors.

If I find myself embedded with a military unit, I will report on its activities without self-aggrandizement and without compromising its mission.

I can safely say that the only hurricane victims I have ever seen in New Orleans were stumbling out of Pat O’Brien’s.

My demands are few:

As noted, $500,000 per year in salary will do just fine. Take the remaining savings to perhaps reopen a foreign bureau or two, or distribute it to the producers and camera operators in the field who do most of the work that somehow accrues to newsreaders.

No limousine. Although I’ve never lived in New York, I’m sure I can find my way to work on my own.

I will not “slow jam the news” with Jimmy Fallon or yuk it up with Letterman or Colbert.

I will never appear on MSNBC.

Four box seats anytime the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, or the Purdue University men’s basketball team play in the New York City area.

That’s it. I don’t have an agent Take it or leave it. The news will be delivered objectively by a guy who doesn’t make stuff up, doesn’t care to be on the A-List, and doesn’t think of himself as an amalgam of Patton, Murrow, and Seinfeld.

On second thought, make it a million a year.

Matthew May can be reached at may.matthew.t@gmail.com