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Sunday, March 13, 2022
CNS Returns Again To Judicial Watch Stenography
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com has long been a prolific stenographer for the right-wing legal organization Judicial Watch -- it cranked out at least 31 articles touting the group in 2017 and 46 articles in 2018. (Not quite Mark Levin stenography territory, though, who got a whopping 135 articles in 2018.) As Donald Trump's actions grew less defensible and drowned out anti-Democratic talking points, the volume dropped over the next few years. But now, with a Democratic president in the White House and right-wing culture-war issues on the ascendence, CNS and managing editor Michael W. Chapman appear to be taking new interest in being servile Judicial Watch stenographers again.

In June 2021, CNS published an article on how Judicial Watch was demanding "the police and medical examiner records in the case of Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old woman who was shot dead by a Capitol police officer during the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol" -- and who has been the focus of right-wing conspiracy theories. Last fall, we noted that CNS has touted Judicial Watch findings about President Biden's travel expenses, though it didn't similarly hype the group's claims about Trump's travel expenses while president. Similarly, in August, CNS made an issue of alleged lack of transparency regarding the people who visit Biden at his Delaware home, quoting Judicial Watch chief Tom Fitton in the process -- but didn't mention that Judicial Watch also criticized Trump for keeping his White House visitor logs secret (at the beginning of his administration, anyway).

The new year has brought more CNS attention. A Jan. 26 article by Chapman cheered on Judicial Watch court win:

After the conservative group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit challenging a race-based scholarship program established in the City of Ashville, N.C., the city decided to settle the case by removing the race-restrictive language in the program, and asserting that the scholarship "will give preference to applicants" whose parents have a high school education or less and who represent “first generation” college students.

“Our clients, a group of Asheville residents, including high school students, courageously challenged this blatantly discriminatory and illegal scholarship program in federal court," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement.

"Thankfully, the City of Asheville did the right thing in quickly ending these indefensible race-based scholarship programs," he said.

Pretty much everything in Chapman's article comes straight from a Judicial Watch press release -- a dead giveaway that this is all about stenography.

Chapman touted more Judicial Watch work, this time on behalf of Trump, in a Feb. 1 article:

The government watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for communications between then-CIA Director Gina Haspel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley in 2020-21, which reportedly involved the targeting of President Donald Trump. 

As reported in Newsweek, in the days after the 2020 presidential election, Haspel apparently told Milley, "We are on the way to a right-wing coup."

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement said, “It ought to be disturbing to all Americans that the head of the CIA and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs were reportedly conspiring against the President of the United States."

Fitton apparently doesn't believe that Trump's unhinged behavior at the time (and, arguably, continuing to this day) regarding his inability to accept thefact that he lost the election fair and square, is much more disturbing.

Chapman served up another right-wing narrati e via Judicial Watch in a Feb. 15 article:

Two non-profit organizations, CatholicVote and Judicial Watch, recently filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) because they failed to provide requested information about their communications with Catholic-affiliated agencies at the border and the agencies' alleged role in the surge of illegal immigrants over the last year. 

"The Biden administration has refused to provide copies of communications between Catholic-affiliated charities and organizations at the border," said CatholicVote President Brian Burch in a statement.  "Their lack of transparency and obstruction forced us to file these federal lawsuits."

"American Catholics deserve to know the full extent of the U.S. government's role in funding and coordinating with Catholic Church-affiliated agencies at the border, and what role these agencies played in the record surge of illegal immigrants over the past year," said Burch. 

Chapman misleadingly identified both Judicial Watch and CatholicVote only as "non-profit organizations," falsely suggesting they're not acting with partisan political intent. In fact, like Judicial Watch, CatholicVote is a right-wing group. Chapman went on to further obscure that fact by copying-and-pasting from the group's website in writing that "CatholicVote's mission, according to its website, is 'to inspire every Catholic in America to live out the truths of our faith in public life.' The organization is 'a national faith-based advocacy organization, organized by faithful Catholic laity in full communion with the teachings of the Church, yet does not claim to speak for any individual bishop or the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.'"

Chapman did the same bogus whitewash for Judicial Watch: "According to its website, 'Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. ... Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach.'" Never mind, of course, that nearly all of the group's work is done to work for the benefit of Republicans and conservatives.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 PM EST
Saturday, March 12, 2022
MRC Turns Its Bogus Research Into A Bogus Campaign
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center isn't about "media research" -- its sole purpose is to manufacture right-wing narratives. Case in point: Last fall, it asserted taht Republican members of Congress being "censored" much more than Democratic ones, though the more accurate description is that the Republicans violated social media terms of service much more than Democrats did. That finding is because, as we noted, while the MRC is aggressive in finding Republican examples, no evidence was offered that it was similarly aggressive -- or even made any effort at all -- in seeking Democratic examples. The MRC also weirdly revised the ratio upward, from 53-to-1 to 54-to-1, a couple weeks later without explanation -- also something legitimate researchers don't do.

Now, it's trying to use that so-called "research" as the basis for a partisan campaign. Brian Bradley wrote the press release for his employer in a Jan. 19 post:

The Media Research Center today launched a new initiative to stop Big Tech’s election interference. The MRC sent a letter to congressional staff to collect a comprehensive report of lawmakers censored by Big Tech.

MRC Free Speech America in October found that social media companies censored GOP congressional lawmakers at a rate of 54-1 compared to congressional Democrats.

Big Tech censored 18 different members of Congress from July 17, 2020, through Jan. 3, 2022, when the most recent instances of congressional censorship were recorded by CensorTrack Social media platforms censored 17 Republicans and one Democrat, according to CensorTrack data.

Despite Bradley's insistence that this is a "broad" and "comprehensive" effort, no evidence is provided that the MRC is going to try to collect examples of Democratic members of Congress being "censored." Indeed, all of the examples cited in Bradley's piece are of Republicans, including far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom the MRC continues to insist is a victim despite having been shamed into admitting she has gone too far at times.

Bradley also quotes his boss, Brent Bozell, declaring, "It's time to stop Big Tech from interfering in our elections!" But the MRC believes that applies only to Republicans like Greene; it has rarely criticized any Democratic politician who was similarly "censored," which is more evidence that this will not be the "comprehensive effort" Bozell wants you to think it is.

The attached letter, signed by MRC VP Dan Gainor, doesn't indicate whether it was sent to all members of Congress or only Republican ones, though it does contain the line "Whether your congressperson is a Democrat, Republican or Independent, we want to track ALL instances of Big Tech censorship." It's a right-wing narrative that private companies have no right to enforce their terms of service and anyone who faces consequences for violating those terms is being "censored" -- and it's a dubious, partisna narrative that Democrats are unlikely to help them perpetuate.

Even if the letter did go to Democratic congresspeople, it's clear the MRC doesn't actually care about them. It only wants their numbers to compare to Repubicans to portray them as the greater victim (read: the ones who violate social media terms of service more often). Also, self-reported data isn't reliable data, since Republicans have an incentive to help the MRC perpetuate its "censorship" victim narrative and Democrats have little incentive to cooperate with a right-wing organization that's more likely to attack them than act in good faith.

In short: A few months from now, look for the MRC to cite this work as evidence that Republican members of Congress are being even more "censored" than Democratic ones. Bogus research begets bogus research.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:16 AM EST
Yet Again, Chuck Norris Turns His Column Into A Paid Gold Commercial
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Chuck Norris has an unethically bad habit of turning his WorldNetDaily column into a commercial for the gold-selling company that hired him as a spokesman -- and he did it again in his Jan. 24 column. He started the column with the discovery of gold in California, then quickly moved to the hard sell with lots of fearmongering about inflation:

But discovery of and investment in precious metals doesn't have to be a point of distant history and another man's treasure trove story. It can be a part of your current events – a building enterprise in your own financial portfolio, especially with the massive increase in inflation and the instabilities in the dollar and other financial markets.

Can you believe how much inflation has increased this past year under a Biden administration? Wow! It truly has skyrocketed!

[...]

When my wife, Gena, and I decided that I would become a spokesperson for GOLDCO, it wasn't a hard decision at all. We've been a big fan of gold and other precious metals for over 40 years. Gold has always been a part of our financial portfolio. Our gold's return has helped us make future investments and even bailed us out of tough economic times.

During the economic recession in the late 2000s, most people were struggling to make ends meet let alone able to make donations to organizations like Kickstart Kids, which is our nonprofit charity that teaches students character through karate in middle schools across Texas. When donations were down, we were able to cash in some of our gold to help support our nonprofit life mission and those employed by it.

When I first surveyed the value of gold through the years, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the universally prized yellow metal was the one commodity that kept soaring in value. In 1973, its average value was $97 an ounce, according to Macrotrends. By 1980, an ounce was valued at $614. Today, an ounce of gold is valued at $1835, climbing 80% of the time since 2000.

[...]

GOLDCO's specialists can also help you roll over or transfer assets from a 401(k), IRA, TSP, or pension account into a gold IRA. They work with mints around the world to source precious metals and ensure that what you're buying is guaranteed to be 100% authentic. And they can even help you take a distribution in cash or gold.

With the beginning of this new year, the time for action and change is now! It's time for you to look beyond the dollar for your ongoing financial security and future. Investing in precious metals is your way through and out of the next three years of inflation under Mr. Biden.

It's your life, family, future and finances. Take action now before it's too late. Contact a Goldco representative ASAP. At very least, go to their website with a single click and ask for the next edition of my FREE Goldco Chuck Norris Special Report and Bonus Newsletter. And tell them Chuck sent you!

It's almost cute how Norris is pretending he's doing all this research when, in fact, he's being paid to pass it along in his column and rope his readers into trying to buy gold because he told them to. Also note that he snuck in a plug for his own charity as well (which he's done before) -- the money-grubbing never ends!


Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, March 12, 2022 12:10 AM EST
Friday, March 11, 2022
MRC Hypocritically Accuses Biden Of Delegitimizing An Election
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has worked arm-in-arm with Donald Trump to delegitimize the 2020 presidential election, and it will never admit that Joe Biden beat Donald Trump fair and square, so it would be utterly hypocritical for the MRC to accuse others of trying to delegitimize an election. But because the MRC is filled with hypocrites, that's exactly what happened.

When President Biden accurately noted that Republicans were changing election laws to help Republicans and disadvantage Democrats, the MRC went into overdrive attacking the president. Brian  Bradley demanded in a Jan. 20 post that Biden be censored:

Facebook and Twitter are doing nothing to curb flagrant disinformation spouted by President Joe Biden. During his press conference yesterday, Biden falsely claimed conservatives are already manipulating the 2022 midterm elections.

Biden on Wednesday said that Republicans are engaging in “unconstitutional” attempts to “stack the election and subvert the outcome.” He was apparently referring to legislative efforts by 19 states to bolster election integrity.

Biden’s communications team posted a video of the president’s press conference to the White House Facebook page Wednesday afternoon. But as of 3:39 p.m. EST on Thursday, Meta still hadn’t flagged the recording for election disinformation, contradicting the company’s recent vows to crack down on “election interference.” Facebook didn’t respond to a request for comment.

[...]

Facebook’s and Twitter’s lack of intervention belies the platforms’ efforts to censor conservatives who questioned the process and results of the 2020 election.

Facebook removed the “Stop the Steal” group in the aftermath of the 2020 election, announced an indefinite suspension of former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and suppressed the distribution of an October 2020 New York Post story outlining alleged corruption between Ukraine and Joe and Hunter Biden.

Bradley didn't mention that, because the 2020 election wasn't stolen, the pro-Trump "Stop the Steal" campaign was fraudulent.

Later that day, Nicholas Fondacaro kept up the hypocritical outrage as he cheered news outlets bashing White House press secretary Jen Psaki for defending her boss:

In addition to making headlines by giving Russia the green light for a “minor incursion” into Ukraine during a press conference on Wednesday, President Biden dropped jaws when he declared the 2022 midterms would be illegitimate if the Senate didn’t pass the federal takeover of elections. And it was a declaration that raised serious concerns on both sides of the aisle as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was relentlessly grilled by both CNN and Fox News Channel on Thursday.

That morning, Psaki took one for the team as she ran into the rhetorical buzz saw that was America’s Newsroom >co-hosts Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino on FNC. “Last night, on the eve of his anniversary in office, those reforms failed. So, I'm curious if he will continue to say that those 2022 elections will be illegitimate,” Perino pointedly asked.

Psaki responded with her usual word salad stating that “the President [had spoken to her] a lot about this and he absolutely is not predicting that the 2022 elections would be illegitimate” and how “the point he was making the former president asked a number of states, seven or more, in fact, to overturn the outcome of the election.”

Fondacaro didn't mention that both his employer and Trump labored mightily to delegitimize the 2020 election.

Alex Christy was similiarly uniroinically outraged in a  Jan. 21 post lashing out at CNN pointing out Republicans' hypocrisy in attacking Biden for making that claim:

Host Alisyn Camerota wondered what the big deal was, after all there are Republicans "who supported Trump's false election claims won elections to serve as local judges and election inspectors. This is what President Biden was referring to, I think."

Politico White House correspondent Laura Barron-Lopez agreed and claimed the entire controversy is simply because Biden gave inartful response: "Yeah, I agree with you, Alisyn. And look, should the president have been more clear and careful in his statement? Yes. Should the press seek clarification and the White House has sought to clarify what he meant, which was to talk about election subversion? Yes. They should do that."

Fonodacaro went misogynistic in another Jan. 21 post, smearing a group of outspoken women -- the hosts of "The View" -- as a "coven":

The unhinged coven on ABC’s The View busted out their tinfoil hats on Friday, as they peppered White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki with crackpot conspiracy theories suggesting the 2022 midterm elections would be illegitimate because Republicans were stealing away voting rights from black people. All of which are false.

Loopy CNNer and co-host Ana Navarro was the most direct in demanding Psaki answer discredit the elections that were 10 months away. She even seemed frustrated that President Biden had walked back his claims at a Wednesday press conference where he asserted the 2022 results should not be trusted:

Again, Fondacaro didn't mention that the MRC tried to delegitimize the 2020 election and that Trump still is -- doing the "dangerous conspiracy theory peddling" that he accuses the "View" hosts of doing, and which the MRC has refused to distance itself from, let alone call out as dangerous.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:42 PM EST
WND Hypes Embalmer's Dubious Story Of COVID Vaccine Blood Clots
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Prolific COVID misinformer Art Moore wrote in a Feb. 13 WorldNetDaily article:

Amid indications from many different sources of a dramatic rise in the sudden onset of serious illnesses following COVID-19 vaccination, a veteran embalmer is reporting that he and more than a dozen colleagues in the industry have been noticing strange blood clots in most of their cases.

Richard Hirschman, with more than 20 years of experience in the funeral industry in Alabama, says that in mid-2021, he began noticing odd blood clots in arteries and lungs he had never seen before.

In an interview with Steve Kirsch, Hirschman said that last month, he found that 65% of his cases exhibited the clots. He told Kirsch that every one of the 15 people in the industry with whom he has spoken has observed the same alarming trend.

Kirsch is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has applied his skills in data analysis to the pandemic, forming a group called the Vaccine Safety Research Foundation, where he serves as executive director.

Hirschman said that with only one exception, he hasn't seen any cases in which the strange clots were seen in an unvaccinated person. The exception was an unvaccinated person who had received a transfusion.

Kirsch is also a prolific COVID misinformer, so what is being passed along here should be considered questionable at best -- and, indeed it is. PolitiFact has noted that Hirschman has been making the rounds of COVID conspiracy operations with his tales, but argued that that the stories shouldn't be treated as anything beyond anecdotal and definitely not authoritative:

The National Funeral Directors Association, a U.S. professional organization, told PolitiFact that embalmers in its network have noticed similar abnormalities in COVID-related deaths, but among both the vaccinated and unvaccinated. 

"It’s only anecdotal evidence, and there’s no scientific evidence to draw any conclusions," said Jessica Koth, director of public relations for the association.

Embalmers typically do not know the vaccination status of those they are embalming, according to the experts PolitiFact spoke to. "It is not on the death certificate," said Dr. Hari P. Close, national president of the National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association.

Politifact went on to explain that actual medical professionals -- which Hirschman is not -- point out that blood clots are linked to COVID itself, but not to most vaccines:

Experts we talked to say there’s something to the claim about a greater incidence of blood clots, but they dismiss the idea that it’s linked to the vaccines. What embalmers are noticing, they say, could well be the effects of COVID-19 infection itself, and those effects are occurring in people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.

More than 900,000 people in the U.S., and nearly 5.8 million worldwide, have died of COVID-19 or related causes. This could explain why funeral home workers are encountering more bodies that show effects of a COVID-19 infection, which include blood vessel inflammation, damage to very small vessels, and blood clots.

Moore knew the PolitiFact fact-check was problematic, so it enlilsted Kirsch's help in trying to shout it down:

Politifact challenged Hirschman's belief that the blood clots are caused by the vaccines. Fact checker Naseem Ferdowsi, who has no medical experience, Kirsch noted, said she was told by an embalmer in Phoenix, Arizona, that "dark clots have been found in COVID victims long before vaccinations were available."

However, the clots Hirschman is observing are white fibrous material.

And Kirsch pointed out that the number of COVID deaths in Houston County, Alabama, where Richard works, is miniscule.

Moore didn't address PolitiFact pointing out that the funeral directors group pointed out that enbalmers typcailly don't know the vaccination status of the person they're enbalming. Further, as a former "Silicon Valley entrepeneur," Kirsch has no medical experience either.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:07 PM EST
MRC Expresses Glee At Alleged Non-Success of Bisexual Superman Comic
Topic: Media Research Center

Last fall, the Media Research Center's resident gay-basher (well, one of them, anyway) Gabriel Hays had a meltdown over a new Superman series in which the son of the Man of Steel failed to be heterosexual. In a Jan. 27 post, Hays took unseemly glee over the series' allegedly lackluster sales:

Look, down in the sewer! It's a rat! It's a turd! No, it's woke Superman sales!

Perhaps not all is lost. The decline of woke comic book sales is a hopeful omen that the progressive utopia will not be achieved.

According to nerd culture outlet BoundingIntoComics.com, DC Comics’ recent attempts to turn beloved character Superman into a progressive pansy who’s too ashamed to fight for truth, justice and the American way (it’s now “truth, justice and a better tomorrow”), are flatlining, at least according to 2021 sales comic books sales data. Woke Superman is not a hot ticket item. 

ICv2.com, a comic book sales tracking website, revealed that the new flagship Superman series – in which Kal-el’s bisexual son has taken up the mantle of the caped crusader – didn’t even crack the top five comic book category for last November. It placed sixth.

But if that sounds like a subpar performance for a flagship comic based on the most popular superhero in history, the December sales for Son of Kal-El were so much worse. According to the website, that month’s issue, “Superman: Son of Kal-El 2021 Annual #1,” didn’t even make it into the top 50 comic book range for December 21 in terms of units sold. 

Just to put it into perspective, the new Superman doesn’t even sell as well at Batgirl, Spawn and Moon Knight. Who the heck is Moon Knight?

That is selective reporting on Hays' part. The first five issues of the "Son of Kal-El" series -- including issue #5, in which said lack of heterosexuality was revealed -- got reprints last fall.Hays went on to rant:

Of course, let’s remind ourselves why America’s greatest superhero is quickly becoming irrelevant. Again, they made Kal-El, a hero Americans have loved for decades, step down for his millennial son. Yeah so now we’re privy to stories about Superboy having to leave his avocado toast behind in order to save the day, or perhaps we’ll have to suffer reading about him taking a “self-care” day, while the world burns.

Hey, no one should complain about that. Enough with the mental health stigma, guys!

They also made him bisexual. Within the first five editions of this new “flagship” DC series, the new Superman is dating a male reporter. Zip! Bang! Crash! What an exciting development!

[...]

Get the globalist BS outta here. The only thing gay Superman is fighting for is the deepest, darkest corner of the local used bookstore’s free book bin.

By the way, Hays also didn't mention that Bounding Into Comics is a right-wing comics site (we didn't realize there was such a thing, yet we're not surprised) that is apparently a leader in what has been dubbed Comicsgate, a right-wing movement to shout down liberal themes in superhero comics. We assume Hays is fully on board with this censorship campaign.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 PM EST
CNS Still Loves DINO And Russia Fan Tulsi Gabbard
Topic: CNSNews.com

It seems that CNSNews.com was so inspired by our highlighting how it has embraced Democrat-in-name-only Tulsi Gabbard that it posted two articles about her in the two days after our item appeared. A Jan. 13 article by Craig Bannister gave uncritical space to a Gabbard rant:

President Joe Biden’s vile characterization of Americans who disagree with his agenda is worse than Hillary Clinton’s infamous slur calling them “a basket of deplorables,” Former Democrat [sic] presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard said Wednesday.

While Cinton’s insult was divisive and disgusting, Biden taken insults to a new low by suggesting that dissidents are terrorists, traitors and racists, Gabbard tweeted.

The next day, Bannister served up another anti-Biden rant from Gabbard:

President Joe Biden promised to unite all Americans, but he’s actually tearing the nation apart by smearing and targeting anyone who disagrees with him, former Democrat -sic] presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard says.

In a video posted on her Twitter page, Gabbard says she and millions of others supported Biden’s campaign for president because he vowed to put an end to divisiveness – but, he’s now doing the opposite by “fueling the fires” of discord and animosity:

Bannister was the servile stenographer for Gabbard again -- this time bashing Hillary Clinton -- in a Feb. 15 article:

The White House is dodging questions about allegations, stemming from Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation, that a tech executive exploited access to the White House server to find incriminating evidence against former President Trump – but, former Democrat [sic] presidential candidate and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is speaking up.

“What is being revealed here, Jesse, is the truth: Hillary Clinton and the power elite in this country manufactured this Russian collusion lie actively undermining our democracy and stoking the fires moving us into this new Cold War with Russia,” Gabbard said Monday in a Fox News Channel interview with Host Jesse Watters.

Actually, there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives in 2016.

As Russia invaded Ukraine, CNS found a different way to use Gabbard, a longtime Russia supporter -- to the point that both CNS and its Media Research Center parent felt compelled to defend her against allegations of being too close to Russia -- in pushing the argument that CNS columnists like Pat Buchanan have pushed, that the U.S. should have capituated to Russia's demand that Ukraine be blocked from being admitted to NATO. This appeared in a Feb. 24 article by Patrick Goodenough:

A different take came from Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, a former presidential candidate and member of Congress for Hawaii – and Iraq War veteran – who has been sharply critical of U.S. involvement in foreign wars.

“This war and suffering could have easily been avoided if Biden Admin/NATO had simply acknowledged Russia’s legitimate security concerns regarding Ukraine’s becoming a member of NATO, which would mean US/NATO forces right on Russia’s border,” she tweeted.

Goodenough highlighted Gabbard again in a March 4 article when a spokesman for China's foreign ministry brought her up in a anti-NATO argument:

He then cited the critical views of three Americans – the late diplomat George Kennan, political commentator and author Thomas Friedman, and Democratic former congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard – on the question of NATO expansion and the impact it would have on relations with Russia.

“Those who created the problem should be the ones to undo it,” Wang said. “They should earnestly shoulder due responsibilities and take real actions to ease the situation and resolve the problem instead of shifting the blame to others.”

It's not a good look when you're on the same side as China, but Goodenough didn't criticize her. Neither Bannister nor Goodenough mentioned Gabbard's previous fealty to Russia, or that even after the invasion she was blaming Biden for it and defended Russia's "legitimate security concerns"-- and that even Fox News' Sean Hannity was advising her to back off the Putin-love a it.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EST
Thursday, March 10, 2022
MRC Gives A Pass To Book Banners
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Alex Christy complained in a Jan. 27 post that CNN was trying to "portray Republicans as a bunch of dictator-loving book burners" but he didn't really do much to dispel that image.

Christy used his post to complain that "Trumper-turned-Never Trumper Joe Walsh" was calling out Republicans in Florida and elsewhere trying to censor school content purportedly in order to keep children from feeling "discomfort" about issues such as race and the Holocaust. He went on to grumble:

Walsh's reference to the Holocaust was the original premise of the segment. A Tennessee school board voted to remove Maus from its eighth-grade reading list for profanity and nudity, but it is a stretch to say that they even banned it and irresponsibly false to say they banned it because they do not want to educate students about the Holocaust.

Christy then linked to a statement from the school board that banned it -- if you're prohibiting a book from being taught, it's a ban; because it's apparently not a total ban doesn't make it less of a ban -- that complained about the book's purportedly "unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide."

Ironically, a few years earlier, a 2014 MRC post touted the graphic novel edition of right-winger Amity Shlaes' revisionist, anti-FDR retelling of the New Deal years, "The Forgotten Man" as a classic on par with "Maus": "But graphic novels can be very sophisticated. Shlaes mentioned Maus: A Survivor’s Tale which is a critically acclaimed Holocaust narrative that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992."

Kevin Tober used a Feb. 1 post to wonder why students were allowed to read books he didn't llike:

On Tuesday night, NBC Nightly News decided it was a good use of airtime to dedicate an entire segment complaining about how a school district in Katy, Texas has removed sexually inappropriate books from their library. 

Anchor Lester Holt opened the segment by tossing to NBC News correspondent Antonia Hylton who proceeded to interview a young student by the name of Iris Chang who, according to Hylton, "identifies as queer always loved learning about the world from her hometown of Katy, Texas, until this fall when her district started banning books." 

Chang told Hylton that "students of color and queer students are especially taking this hard", referring to the banning of her favorite book The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

Hylton claims "an NBC News investigation found that the Katy Independent School District is one of at least a dozen Texas districts that have removed books about race, gender, and sexual identity after a statewide surge of parent complaints."

But the question remains, why were books about gender and sexual identity allowed in school libraries in the first place?

Tober didn't explain why the books must be censored.

Tober went on to huff that "Katy Texas isn't the first public school to have sexually inappropriate books on its shelves." But it's clear that his definition of "sexually inappropriate" involved anything that didn't promote heterosexuality.

Clay Waters tried to play whataboutism in a Feb. 1 post:

Monday’s front-page New York Times story -- headlined “Politics Fuels Surge in Calls For Book Bans” -- did liberal Democrats a favor, posing them in their flattering former costumes of fierce free-speech advocates. Meanwhile, today’s actual left-wing is a hive of free-speech squelchers and book banners, including the Times’ own reporters, who have an unseemly and anti-journalistic eagerness to “deplatform” voices they don’t like...when they're conservative "bigots."

But that's a false comparison. Public libraries being forbidden from making certain books available to a certain audience is not the same thing as a private business seeking to enforce standards and terms of service on its platform to battle lies and misinformation. Yet the whataboutism continued: "Besides the daily double standards of restrictions on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, Amazon.com pulled a book on transgender issues from its online shelf, and Netflix tried to cancel comedian Dave Chappelle for offensive jokes about transgenders."

We could play whataboutism too, pointing out that the MRC has long raged against "censorship" of social media while tacitly endorsing it at school libraries. Wonder what Waters would say about that?


Posted by Terry K. at 8:54 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, March 10, 2022 8:57 PM EST
WND's Farah Can't Stop Pushing Trump's Big Lie
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah reminds us that he's still a Big Lie dead-ender in his Jan. 25 WorldNetDaily column, headlined "Why do so many believe the 2020 election was stolen?" Instead of offering a truthful answer -- because people have been lied to by Trump, WND and Farah himself -- he went right into the conspiracy-mongering:

Are these Americans nothing but mind-numbed robots? Or are they duly outraged voters deeply suspicious of what happened?

That has affected people's confidence in the electoral system overall, and it hasn't gotten any better as time has gone by.

The previous year has demonstrated what Joe Biden can do as president. It has not been pretty. Trump has not had much to add to the controversy. He's smart enough to know when to get out of Biden's way.

His record includes repression, hundreds of "domestic enemies" rounded up, almost a year of vaccine mandates, threats, the Jan. 6 witch hunt by Democrats in Congress – not to mention the Afghanistan debacle, widespread open illegal immigration, around 2 million strong from over 100 countries without vetting nor vaccines during a pandemic, inflation not seen for 40 years, supply-side snafus and impending war with Russia.

Despite this, the media stand by his side. Even worse, Big Tech stifles coverage of the 2020 election on Google, Facebook and Twitter. WND and other conservative website have been systematically demonetized and get no traffic from Google, which has a virtual monopoly of advertising and ad servers on the internet.

Even Fox News doesn't talk about the 2020 election. The Wall Street Journal doesn't touch it. It just didn't happen – not on their watch.

[...]

Real Americans see hope in Donald Trump, a real election for Congress this year and, frankly, God.

In the meantime, Trump is not going to stop talking about the rigged election – his favorite subject.

Farah then referenced a letter Donald Trump wrote to the Wall Street Journal in October complaining about a story it did that, in Farah's words, "tried to legitimize the election in Pennsylvania by saying there weren't enough votes to swing the election in Trump's favor." The letter was so filled with falsehoods that even the Journal was shamed into fact-checking it after publication. Not only did Farah not mention the fact that the letter's claims have been discredited, he went on to quote some of those discredited claims:

"Actually," wrote Trump, "the election was rigged, which you, unfortunately, still haven't figured out. Here are just a few examples of how determinative the voter fraud in Pennsylvania was:

"* 71,893 mail-in ballots were returned after Nov. 3, 2020, at 8 p.m. … None of these should have been counted, according to the U.S. Constitution.

"* 10,515 mail-in votes from people who do not exist on the Pennsylvania voter rolls at all.

"* 20,000 excess voters not yet accounted for by the Pennsylvania Department of State – far more votes than voters!

"* Hundreds of thousands of votes unlawfully counted in secret … while GOP poll watchers were thrown out.

"* 39,771 people voted who registered after the Oct. 19 deadline."

As one fact-checker summarized regarding these claims:

  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court permitted the counting of those mail-in ballots because they were postmarked by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the counting of those ballots.
  • There were not "far more votes than voters" in Pennsylvania, nor were there "excess voters" -- there are 9 million registered voters in the state and 7 million who cast votes in 2020.
  • No votes were "unlawfully counted in secret"; only was the vote count fully observed by representatives of both parties, it was livestreamed as well.

Farah didn't tell his readers that Trump's claims have been found to be false and discredited. Nevertheless. he concluded: "Do you still wonder why Americans are clinging to the only hope they have for righting a bogus 2020 election?" No, we don't -- as long as dead-enders like Farah keep repeating Trump's lies, people will continue to be bamboozled.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:43 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC Adds Another Sports Anti-Vaxxer
Topic: Media Research Center
Newly minted Media Research Center sports blogger John Simmons has joined Jay Maxson in lashing out at COVID vaccines and vaccine mandates, as well as defending athletes who hurt their team by refusing to get vaccinated. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 PM EST
CNS Intern Senator-Pestering Season, Spring Semester Edition
Topic: CNSNews.com

It's a new semester, which means that CNSNews.com has a new intern, Emily Robertson of right-wing Liberty University. And as is mandated of every CNS intern, Robertson has been tasked with going to Capitol Hill and pestering members of Congress with loaded and biased questions designed by CNS editors to trap liberal politicians and give conservative ones an opportunity to virtue-signal to the right-wing CNS audience.

Robertson's first question this semester was: "The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2021 was more than $300 billion for the tenth year in a row. Can the United States have free trade with a communist country?"Her targets:

Note that nearly all of Robertson's targets are Repiublicans. That's a lot of virtue-signaling.

Her next question was taken from a Feb. 14 grievance article by editor Terry Jeffrey complaining that federal data showed too many babies (in his view) being born to mothers who are unmarried and poor: “According to the CDC, 42% of the babies born in America in 2020 were born on Medicaid. Is that a good thing?” That came with a follow-up: “40.5% of the babies were born to unmarried mothers. Do you think that’s related to the high number born on Medicaid?” Here's the heavily Republican guest list, with many repeats from the first round:

Inexplicably, Robertson identified Peters as "pro-choice" in her headline and made a point of stating that he "supports abortion."  By contrast, the anti-abortion views of the Republicans she quoted lamenting the birth of babies to poor and unmarried mothers was not mentioned.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EST
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
MRC Tries To Deflect From The Fact That Ex-CNN Chief Created Donald Trump
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's creepily unseemly glee over the demise of CNN chief Jeff Zucker -- filled with anti-Semitic "puppetmaster" labeling and stunning lack of self-awareness given that his downfall is similar to that of Fox News chief Roger Ailes -- didn't end when Curtis Houck stopped dancing on his professional grave after three days. There were other issues to deal with -- like the fact that Zucker essentially created their beloved Donald Trump when "The Apprentice" was developed under his watch at NBC. Scott Whitlock rushed into whataboutism in a Feb. 3 post:

NBC on Thursday discovered the most disgraceful thing that ex-Today show producer Jeff Zucker did, now that he’s resigned from CNN after a sex scandal: Zucker hired Donald Trump back in the ‘90s.

The fact that Zucker also secured the career success of alleged sex abuser Matt Lauer went unmentioned by the Today show.

You know, perhaps Whitlock shouldn't be mentioning Trump in the same breath as Lauer -- unless he's tacitly conceding that Trump is just as much of a creep as Lauer.

P.J. Gladnick didn't play Whitlock-like whataboutism when he complained about the same issue in a Feb. 5 post, but he insisted that anything he did at CNN was much worse:

She doesn't know precisely why CNN boss Jeff Zucker was forced out, but Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote on Friday that "Jeff Zucker’s legacy is defined by his promotion of Donald Trump."  All of CNN's horror-movie coverage was never enough.

[...]

So all of CNN's trashing Trump as a Russian tool, an American Hitler, a journalist-endangering dictator (and later a COVID mass murderer) wasn't enough? It's never enough. 

Jeffrey Lord, meanwhile, devoted a Feb. 5 column to pondering whether CNN was "imploding" -- a think piece we don't recall Lord doing upon Roger Ailes' ignominious departure from Fox News amid a culture f rampant sexual harassment -- claiming that "with the arrival of Jeff Zucker, it seemed that CNN was slowly heading in a different direction altogether. Which is to say, there was more and more opinion, less and less hard news."Lord appears not to have read the MRC's own study finding that Fox News airs even less "news" than CNN or MSNBC.

The MRC also continued to be upset that CNN employees continued to say nice things about Zucker. Kevin Tober whined in a Feb. 6 post:

Need a good laugh? Well we’ve got you covered here at NewsBusters. On CNN’s Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter had on Media Studies Professor David Zurawik who made the preposterous claim that CNN was part of the fire wall that has helped “save democracy.”

[...]

While he was on the topic of misinformation and disinformation, Zurawik decided to gaslight the CNN audience and suck up to Brian Stelter by ludicrously claiming “CNN is one of the stations of all the television broadcast networks and cable channels it pushed harder from 2016 to 2020 against Trump and it was part of the fire wall that I think has saved democracy this far under Jeff Zucker.” 

Nicholas Fondacaro similarly ranted in a Feb. 7 post:

Jeff Zucker was the venomous boss behind all of CNN’s toxic content poisoning American discourse but he was also everything to primetime host Don Lemon. He made that perfectly clear during Friday’s Don Lemon Tonight when he was so overwhelmed with emotion that he almost broke down crying on-air.

[...]

“Jeff Zucker may not have launched this network but he revived it, he made it relevant again. He steadied it for the last decade. He left us with a very good blueprint going forward,” he reassured them.

Ironically, under Zucker, CNN is experiencing their ratings bottom-out across the board; plus, their credibility has been left in tatters because of the extreme liberal bent obvious to any honest observer and their abdication (bordering on contempt) of journalistic ethics.

Houck returned in a Feb. 8 post to attack CNN host Alisyn Camerota for saying Zucker's ouster was affecting her mental health, sneering: "In other words, they're a cult." The next day, Houck yet again hung the "puppetmaster" slur on Zucker:

Monday on his eponymous NewsNation show, longtime TV news personality and legal expert Dan Abrams hammered CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter over his behavior regarding the ouster of now-ex-CNN boss and puppetmaster Jeff Zucker, calling Stelter “dishonest” for his defense of CNN as a legitimate news network and “reckless” for targeting John Malone, the top share in CNN’s future parent company Discovery.

We don't recall anyone at the MRC complaining about just how little Fox News covered the scandals of its founder and boss, Roger Ailes.

Fondacaro cheered that "Zucker's lover" -- i.e., the subordinate with whom Zucker was having an undisclosed relationship that was the stated cause of Zucker's departure -- had also left CNN in a Feb. 16 post, going on to hype gossip about Zucker's relationship with Chris Cuomo, who departed CNN a few months before. When Zucker's replacement -- former CBS "Late Show" showrunner Chris Licht -- was named, Fondacaro returned to hurl more darts at CNN in a Feb. 26 post:

In an interesting “scoop” published Saturday, Axios reported that CBS’s EVP of Special Programming Chris Licht, who was tapped to replace ousted CNN boss Jeff Zucker to lead the third-place cable network, wants to get back to CNN being a straight news outlet and cut back on the liberal screeds that dominate prime time and their newscasts in general.

The Axios headline said it all: “CNN to dull its liberal edge.” “Under new chief Chris Licht, CNN will dial down the prime-time partisanship and double down on the network's news-gathering muscle,” reported Mike Allen and Sara Fischer.

According to Axios, Licht was picked by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav because “[r]atings are secondary to credibility[.]”

Both of which are foreign concepts to CNN currently.

Of course, Fondacaro is perfectly happy to see Fox News throw away credibility for the sake of ratings, and he has never demanded that Fox News "dull its conservative edge." As a loyal MRC apparatchik, he does not want "middle of the road" coverage, since he has bought into the MRC party line that anything even slightly less right-wing than Fox News is irredeemably "liberal."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:57 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2022 10:06 PM EST
CNS-Mark Levin Stenography Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

After a slow year of Mark Levin stenography in 2021, CNSNews.com is starting the new year just as slowly. In the first two months of 2022, there were just six Levin stenography articles:

As has become CNS tradition, four of these six articles were written by its new spring intern, Emily Robertson. The year's first was published on Jan. 10 -- the first since Nov. 12, a surprising gap of nearly two months.

Oh, and regarding that Feb. 7 item of Levin complaining that "the left-wing activists who invaded the Capitol during then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing" weren't "rounded up": Unlike the Capitol insurrectionists, those protesters obtained tickets for the hearing, entered peacefully and protested without causing millions of dollars in property damage. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters who occupied a Senate office building -- not the Capitol itself -- were indeed "rounded up" -- that is, arrested for unlawfully demonstrating, and even then there was no massive property damage akin to what was seen in the Capitol.

Robertson didn't report those facts to her readers -- but then, facts aren't the point of Levin stenography at CNS.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:28 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, March 13, 2022 4:29 PM EST
Newsmax Still Bashing Fox's Carlson For Supporting Russia -- But Airs Its Own Pro-Russia Rhetoric
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has continued to lash out at Fox News' Tucker Carlson for effectively taking Russia's side in the Ukraine conflict -- but it has also forwarded some pro-Russia, anti-Ukraine rhetoric of its own.

Dick Morris has been Newsmax's chief Tucker-basher, and he did that again in a Jan. 21 article by Charlie McCarthy:

Former presidential adviser Dick Morris ripped Fox News host Tucker Carlson Friday for "helping to join the Putin people" who are trying to scare Americans into believing that defending Ukraine against Russia will lead to a long, costly war.

Carlson on Tuesday tweeted, "America is moving towards war with Russia, and the media is encouraging it." On his program Thursday night, he told viewers that the U.S. defending Ukraine "serves no American interest."

Morris slammed Carlson's hyperbole and told Newsmax a war between the U.S. and Russia will not happen.

"He should know better, that economic sanctions can accomplish [stopping Russian aggression]," said Morris, a former adviser to then-Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.

"I can't believe that Tucker Carlson is so willing to throw away the entire legacy and work of President Ronald Reagan," he said, noting Reagan's success is liberating Eastern Europe from communist subjugation.

McCarthy followed up in a Feb. 3 article:

Republican senators say they are not moved by Fox News host Tucker Carlson's recent rants in favor of Russia's Vladimir Putin while deriding support of Ukraine.

Carlson has been on a tirade rationalizing Russia's aggression toward Ukraine and downplaying its relevance to U.S. national security.

But major Republican figures are not afraid of taking on Fox's top-rated host for what they believe is dangerous thinking, if not outright propaganda.

[...]

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said lawmakers' actions are more important than TV hosts' opinions.

"Our allies around the world — obviously after Afghanistan — are doubting our credibility, our reliability," Cornyn said.

Dick Morris, a veteran political strategist and Newsmax analyst, has worked on Ukrainian elections and believes Carlson is deceiving the public.

Morris bashed Carlson again on Newsmax TV on Feb. 22:

Those who have been apologists for Russia and Vladimir Putin – like Fox News' Tucker Carlson – are woefully "short-sighted" about this "takeaway" by the "expansionist" regime, starting a "de facto world war," according to political strategist Dick Morris on Newsmax.

"Tucker Carlson, amazingly, on Fox News, said that he would choose Russia over Ukraine – I mean, how short-sighted could you be?" Morris told Tuesday's "America Agenda."

After Russia invaded Ukraine, Morris used his Feb. 24 column to beat up on Carlson some more:

But as war now rages in Europe with Russia’s reckless and unwarranted invasion of Ukraine, everything we feared about Vladimir Putin is coming true.

Still Fox’s top host is doubling down on his own support of the Russian dictator and even claims he would back Russia over innocent Ukraine.

Carlson is making claims which are patently false.

As I have written before, he's smarter than this.

I don’t know what his motive is, but I do know it’s a problem that he's seeking to win over normally sane rational Fox News viewers, and by osmosis, some Newsmax viewers.

[...]

We are watching pure 1930s-style appeasement in action on Fox News and in Carlson’s show. It’s not an invasion. It’s an incursion. It’s not important. Ukraine is not a vital ally. It’s none of our business. It’s Europe’s problem. They’re corrupt.

Such talking points must be dear to Putin’s heart as they split the conservative freedom-loving Republicans in America and sap the very limited reservoir of courage and resolve in Joe Biden’s heart.

Offering a coward a way out is like buying a drunk a drink.

Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy even issued a company statement bashing Carlson's support for Putin:

Newsmax believes Russia has made a major transgression and this should be condemned strongly by all people. I think we are seeing for conservatives a clarity moment where Fox News’ main host is stating categorically he is siding with Putin and Russia in support of the invasion. Newsmax supports President Biden’s efforts to stop this invasion, if anything we think he is not being strong enough. We believe there is a bipartisan consensus in opposition to this dangerous aggression.

But as Mediaite noted, "Ruddy’s statement raised eyebrows across the media world, however, as Newsmax’s content in the past week and even 24 hours has been both highly critical of Biden and dismissive of the severity of Putin’s invasion," adding:

The conservative news network released the statement some twelve hours after Michael Savage appeared on Newsmax and condemned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a “puppet of George Soros” who “provoked” Putin. Earlier on Thursday night, host Greg Kelly excused Putin’s invasion of Ukraine by comparing it to the U.S. invasion of Iraq under George W. Bush and went on to claim the U.S. should get rid of term limits, arguing Putin’s lengthy reign has benefitted Russia.

Meanwhile, another Newsmax TV host, Rob Schmitt, got a dressing down by none other than John Bolton for giving too much credit to Donald Trump for containing Russia, as Mediaite also reported:

Former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton corrected and scolded Newsmax host Rob Schmitt on Monday evening over the assertion that Vladimir Putin didn’t invade Ukraine while Donald Trump was president because his administration was “very tough” on Russia.

[...]

“In almost every case the sanctions were imposed with Trump complaining about it, saying we were being too hard,” said Bolton. “The fact is he barely knew where Ukraine was.”

“He once asked John Kelly, the second chief of staff, if Finland were part of Russia,” Bolton continued. “It’s just not accurate to say that Trump’s behavior somehow deterred the Russians.”

[...]

Toward the end of the interview, Schmitt said that credit is nevertheless due, and claimed Trump was the first to warn Europe about the dangers of relying on Russian gas and oil.

“You’re absolutely wrong,” yelled Bolton. “You’re absolutely wrong!”

“The first person to tell the Europeans not to rely on Russian oil and gas was Ronald Reagan,” said Bolton, which elicited a “Fair enough,” from Schmitt.

Newsmax needs to work a bit on unifying its messaging.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:25 PM EST
Updated: Friday, May 27, 2022 10:15 PM EDT
WND Interviews Fringe COVID Doc -- And Tries To Cash In On Him
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The only bit of original "reporting" that WorldNetDaily has done in recent months is a series of video interviews reporter Art Moore has done with prominent COVID misinformers like Robert Malone. But Moore has been adding some less prominent misinformers to his interview slate -- and one with a money-grubbing twist.

For a Feb. 8 article, Moore interviewed Viadimir Zelenko, an early proponent of the questionable drug hydroxychloroquine whom WND enthusiastically promoted early in the pandemic despite a lack of proper documentation for his claims. Moore touted how Zelenko "has developed an over-the-counter formulation to treat COVID-19 called Z-Stack that contains zinc, quercetin, vitamin D and vitamin C," adding, that "Zelenko has explained that the key virus killer is zinc, which has a known antiviral effect, and it's drugs like hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin and quercetin that  "open the door to the cell and let the zinc in." In fact, there's little evidence that zinc works against COVID, and there's little evidence that Zelenko's supplement works as advertised.

But it's not until the end of the article that it's revealed the whole thing is a cross-promotional deal:

IMPORTANT NOTE: WND IS NOW OFFERING DR. ZELENKO’S FAMED over-the-counter treatment Z-STACK: An early champion of hydroxychloroquine for combatting COVID, even advising President Trump about its use, Dr. Zelenko saved hundreds of lives even during the earliest months of the pandemic. As his reward, he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, vilified by the media, and New York’s governor blocked his patients’ access to hydroxychloroquine.

But Zelenko didn’t stop. He kept researching and working – and discovered a way to help people with an over-the-counter solution he calls Z-Stack.

[...]

If you’d like to try Z-Stack, Dr. Zelenko has made available a special link for WND readers. By purchasing through this link, you’ll also be supporting and benefiting WND.

Order Z-Stack today for immune system support – and use code WND for a discount!

In other words, there's a reason Moore didn't ask Zelenko any challenging questions -- the're both trying to sell you something.

Note to Moore and WND: If you're effectively running press releases as a fund-raiser to keep your website alive, you've stopped being a "news" operation.That fact that it has taken sides on the COVID debate for money means its "journalism" cannot be trusted (though, frankly, it hasn't been trustworthy for years before this).


Posted by Terry K. at 1:11 AM EST

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