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Friday, September 1, 2023
Newsmax Continued Trump Defense After (Fourth) Indictment
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's defend-and-attack strategy over Donald Trump's fourth indictment unsurprisingly continued well after the indictment itself. This is what it published in Aug. 16 and 17, a few days after the indictment was announced:

There were a few more articles noting the other side of the story than usual:

Newsmax slowed the pace a bit over the next few days, focusing more on highlighting Trump's whining about the indictment. It did, however, publish a wire article noting that members of the Georgia grand jury that handed up the indictment of Trump and his cronies were facing threats. But it also published an article touting how "A new Newsmax/McLaughlin national survey shows former President Donald Trump maintaining his strong national lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 Republican presidential primary" while failing to disclose that McLaughlin is Trump's campaign pollster -- which would suggest a certain amount of bias in the polling.

As arraignment time arrived -- which coincided with a Republican presidential debate Trump refused to take part in -- defend-and-attack mode returned:

Newsmax also upped the number of more balanced articles it published as well:

On Aug. 24, the day Trump traveled to Georgia to turn himself in and have his mugshot taken, Newsmax did its usual ramping up of attacks (with the occasional smattering of more balanced accounts):

But there was also a dissenting columnist in the midst of all this. Michael Reagan took a break from saying crazy things by spending his Aug. 18 column trying to warn people that Trump is not doing himself any favors as a presidential candidate by continually getting indicted:

But when the indictments keep rolling in — aren’t we up to four now? — it’s time to stop thinking with your heart and start thinking with your head.

In 2024 instead of being on the campaign trail, Trump is going to be spending a great deal of his time in the courtroom trying to stay out of prison.

That’s a DEFCON Level One distraction.

Rallies and news conferences on the courthouse steps do not a campaign make.

Another huge distraction are the legal bills entailed with his effort to stay among the free.

Trump must hire four different legal teams in four different jurisdictions.

That is a Ukraine-summer-offensive-level expense right there.


The best strategy for people who love Trump and/or who feel Trump is being persecuted is to nominate a candidate who can actually convert the 53% anti-Trump voters into pro-GOP voters in 2024.

A viable Republican candidate, without all Trump’s baggage — fair and unfair — has a chance to win undecided voters who will never pull the lever for our naion's 45th commnader in chief.

That victory spares the country four more years of disastrous leftist rule and allows Trump to devote all his attention to this, unprecedented, third world variety legal persecution targeting him.

On the other hand, a Trump nomination means gloom was the correct response.

We all lose. Trump, Republicans, and the United States of America.

Needless to say, the pro-Trump management at Newsmax felt the need to stick an editor's note at the top stating that "The following column does not constitute an endorsement for any political party or political candidate on the part of Newsmax."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:25 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 6, 2023 12:19 AM EDT
WND Pushes Another Baseless Attack On COVID Vaccine
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The COVID vaccine misinformation at WorldNetDaily just doesn't stop. Bob Unruh wrote in a July 15 article:

A health emergency has been declared by officials in Peru over a sudden surge in Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is a potential side effect to the COVID-19 shots used so often around the world.

National File, revealing that the development "has been linked directly to COVID jabs," said the "rare and dangerous neurological disorder" has been sweeping across the country where 84% have been "fully vaccinated."

"There has been a significant increase in recent weeks that forces us to take actions as a state to protect the health and life of the population," according to Peruvian Health Minister Cesar Vasquez, who was quoted in the report.

The report continued, "While Peru’s government and media have indicated that the outbreak of Guillain-Barre cases could be related to COVID-19, they have not acknowledged the elephant in the room; which is the question of whether or not Peru’s widespread adoption of the COVID jabs, and not the disease itself, has led to the outbreak."

In fact, as an actual fact-checker found, no information has been presented to positively link COVID vaccines to Guillain-Barre syndrome. Unruh also censored the fact that Peru has had previous outbreaks of Guillain-Barre in 2018 and 2019 -- neither of which could possibly have been caused by a COVID vaccine since they didn't exist yet -- and some of the patients in this year's cases presented with a bacterial infection that was blamed for the 2019 outbreak.

Unruh also failed to disclose that his source for this story, the right-wing National Wire, has a history of publishing medical misinformation. It's cleaer that Unruh didn't bother to fact-check anything in the article -- he was apparently content to serve as a servile stenographer to feed content into the WND machine.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:22 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Media Research Meatheads
Topic: Media Research Center
Given how obsessively they insist on identifying Rob Reiner as "Meathead" when he offers political opinions, the Media Research Center (and its now-defunct "news" operation CNS) clearly can't separate an actor from a role he hasn't performed in decades. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:01 AM EDT
Thursday, August 31, 2023
Flashback: MRC Started The Year With The Usual Kneejerk Defense Of Guns
Topic: Media Research Center

We know the Media Research Center is all about kneejerk defense of guns despite the carnage they help cause. But it's been a while since we checked in on how it's defending guns, so we'll back the the beginning of the year to examine the record:

  • Alex Christy complained in a Jan. 3 post that "MSNBC’s Ali Velshi kicked off the new year by guest hosting All In on Monday and looking back at 2022 with a segment that called for more gun control by comparing it to simple traffic laws and falsely suggesting that the typical American gun owner is better armed than those who fight in war," going on to huff: "We do have a lot of traffic laws and despite them, people still speed, run red lights, and conduct unsafe lane changes resulting in nasty collisions."
  • Jay Maxson ranted on Jan. 18: "The president, vice-president and members of the Golden State “woke” Warriors met Tuesday at the White House under the guise of making America safer. Which is balderdash; they were taking aim at weakening the constitutional rights of Americans to defend themselves from violent attacks. The administration used popular athletes to help gain attention for its dog and pony show for the Democrat [sic] base."
  • Brad Wilmouth groused in a Jan. 21 post about how a PBS show "devoted a segment to allowing a gun control activist to promote federal laws to control how gun owners store firearms in their own homes, picking up on recent cases of small children gaining access to the guns of their parents."
  • Christy went into comedy-cop mode in a Jan. 24 post: "The Monday edition of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show included a video package of correspondent Roy Wood Jr. in Britain asking foreigners to condemn America, trash the Second Amendment, and wonder, “How do you show people that you've got a big dick, but you don’t have a gun?” He disdainfully added: "Of course, the idea of female gun owners was lost in this idea of genital compensation."
  • In a Jan. 25 post, Mark Finkelstein grumbled that California Gov. Gavin Newsom displayed "megawatt smiles while discussing the recent mass shootings in his state that have claimed 18 lives" during a CNN interview and that "CNN anchors heartily endorsed his view that repeated mass shootings in his state should be blamed on Congress for not passing enough gun-control legislation, not on politicians in California."
  • For his Jan. 27 podcast, Tim Graham huffed: "After two mass shootings in California, ABC's The View crew is back in gun-hating mode, and Joy Behar said America needs to 'grow up' about guns."
  • Wilmouth returned on Jan. 29 to complain that PBS "returned to the energetic use of mass shootings in California to push for more gun control" but "put on gun-banning leftists and facilitate their talking points" and didn't include "conservative voices." Wilmouth didn't explain why he didn't use "right-wing" insetad of "conservative" to match his "leftist" labeling.
  • Wilmouth was at it again two days later, grousing that PBS is "promoting the Democrat party's [sic] agenda on gun control" by airing a "special on survivors of gun-related violence which also squeezed in a liberal agenda." He went on to declare that "The PBS special did not find anything positive to say about guns, like finding examples of the many times guns are used to prevent or fight off violent criminals."
  • In a Feb. 11 post, Clay Waters claimed that a PBS segment "sounded unpleasantly surprised ... by a federal appeals court ruling allowing people under domestic violence restraining orders to have guns, based on the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision in June 2022," giong on to complain that neither commentator " had much sympathy for the “originalist” philosophy of the Constitution."
  • Finkelstein complained in a Feb. 15 post that "Tuesday's Morning Joe predictably jumped on the mass shooting at Michigan State to denounce Republicans. Among many such condemnations during the segment, Joe Scarborough said, 'there's no other way to put it. It's the Republican party that's allowing this to continue to happen.'" The MRC tried to distract from the shooting by blaming it on a prosecutor who had dismissed a prior gun charge against the suspect -- even though the charge involved carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, something the MRC supports.

This kneejerk defense merged with the MRC's weird hatred of Democratic Florida Rep. Maxwell Frost in a Feb. 15 post by Christy:

Twenty-six-year-old Rep. Maxwell Frost travelled over to Comedy Central’s The Daily Show on Tuesday for an interview temp host Sarah Silverman to discuss an assortment of left-wing goals, one of which was gun control with Frost urging people to vote for “morally just leaders who actually give a damn about children’s lives.”

Silverman began by telling Frost just how much she is in awe of him, “You have been, and I find this so impressive and inspiring, especially to people out here, you’ve been a gun reform advocate since you were 15 years-old. Spurred on by Sandy Hook, which was in Connecticut. You’re from Florida and you organized the March For Our Lives.”

Finally, getting around to a question, she then asked, “It’s the five-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting. There was a school shooting just last night at Michigan State. Now that you are in Congress, what do you think can be done? How can we break the cycle?”

For all the talk about Frost’s youth, he continued the old tradition of claiming that the only reason why major gun control legislation fails in Congress is because of the National Rifle Association:

Christy didn't disprove anything Frost said about the NRA, instead grousing that he was "clinging to the idea that it is the NRA’s money and not its membership that would simply find another organization should the NRA cease to exist." He concluded by sneering: "The bad news for Frost and Silverman is that ordinary Second Amendment defenders are not about to entrust their rights to somebody who says they don’t give a damn about children’s lives." However, he didn't dispute the accuracy of that statement.

Nicholas Fondacaro lashed out at more gun statistics he didn't like in a March 14 post:

With President Biden announcing new executive orders on guns Tuesday, CNN Newsroominvited Jennifer Mascia, senior writer for The Trace (an anti-gun rights publication), to share her dubious study. According to Mascia, a CNN contributor, gun manufacturers were directly in control of gun deaths in America as she suggested “when gunmakers ramped up production, gun deaths rose.” Of course, CNN gushed for this purported evidence to back their anti-gun rights agenda.

CNN’s Erica Hill boasted that Mascia had dug through ATF data to find the supposed number of guns in the U.S. “465 million guns have been produced in the last 125 years for the American market. And it's mostly – the vast majority are handguns. Whereas, you know, 30 years ago our gun culture was very much hunting and recreation. Now, it's concealable handguns for self-defense,” Mascia said.

What CNN hid from viewers was the fact that that figure didn’t take into account the number of firearms that were no longer in circulation for various reasons. Mascia did note that in her report but didn’t mention it on the air (by one estimate she noted, it was roughly 352 million).

Fondacaro then asserted that Mascia made an "outrageous accusation that gun makers were driving gun deaths":

In her study, Mascia seemed to suggest that gun makers held the puppet strings when it came to the correlation between guns produced and gun deaths: “When we charted gun manufacturing and imports alongside annual gun deaths going back to 1968, we found that when gunmakers ramped up production, gun deaths rose.”

But what Mascia’s graph (shown above but not the one CNN went with) shows was a correlation between the number of guns produced in a year and the number of deaths that year. But if we were to follow her logic, looking back at the exponential growth in the number of guns in circulation, no correlation exists. Why would gun death go down when the number of guns was increasing every year?

When  it was pointed out that handguns saw a surge in sales starting in the early 1990s, Fondacaro continued to read from the gun lobby's talking points:

But what was going on in America 30 years ago in the late 80s and early 90s? Out-of-control crime in American cities around the country. The correlation then becomes a chicken-and-the-egg scenario: did making guns lead to violence or did violence lead to more people buying guns thus production met demand? There's also the correlation of increased moves for gun control driving sales and demand, which we saw with President Obama and she notes in her report (although she tried to tie it to race).

To prove the latter, let’s look at Mascia’s own research. In 2020 and 2021, gun production and deaths spiked. What was going on at that time? Coast-to-coast riots in cities across America with progressive politicians and prosecutors letting out violent criminals, including ones charged with gun crimes.

During the pandemic, when there was a rash of attacks on Asian Americans, that demographic exploded in terms of first-time gun owners. CNN even reported on this.

And what was driving that "rash of attacks on Asian Americans"? Irrational right-wing fear -- driven in part by then-President Donald Trump -- that Asians were to blame for the COVID virus. Fondacaro didn't mention that part. He went on to try to dismiss the large number of gun suicides:

Another tripping point in Mascia’s deductions was the fact that suicides have historically made up about two-thirds of all gun deaths in America; it’s something even PolitiFact admits. In fact, Mascia actually tried to discount the correlation. “…[W]e found that the relationship between gun production — particularly handgun production — and suicides is stronger than gun deaths overall. But correlation is not causation,” she reported.

To account for this, Mascia argued that just having a gun in your home increased the likelihood of shooting yourself, either accidentally or committing suicide. And as a surprise to know one, those who get in a car and travel have an increased chance of getting in a car accident. That’s not to discount how the suicide rate is intentionally rolled into the gun deaths rate when they discuss “gun violence.” We also know suicides surged during the pandemic because of the isolation and loneliness people were suffering from, which helps to explain the gun deaths in the last couple of years in her graph.

But most motor vehicle deaths are by accident -- few people use a car intending to kill themselves . By contrast, every gun suicide is a deliberate act, one that might not have happened had there not been ready access to a gun.Which means Fondacaro is the one who's tripping here.

Fondacaro concluded: "Mascia's assertions only work if you look at them in a vacuum and don't take into account what happening in the country at these times." So once again, context is important at the MRC, though it likes to complain when conservatives are called out for not adding it.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:21 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 1, 2023 10:36 AM EDT
WND Loves Jack Cashill's New Book -- And So Does VDARE
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill took a break from obsessing over Barack Obama to write a book on a different subject. Joseph Farah gushed over him and his book in his June 29 column:

Longtime WND columnist and author Jack Cashill is a lot like me. We can reminisce about the Jersey Shore, those "Wildwood Days" growing up, or comparing Newark and Paterson for hours on end. We're kindred spirits, raised by different mothers and fathers in a not-so-different universe at approximately the same time and place.


I've admired Jack much over the years. I wish I had told him that more often. I think I will after just having read his latest exquisite book, "Untenable: The True Story of White Ethnic Flight from America's Cities." This a very serious book – in fact the first of its kind – on the subject of "white flight" written from the perspective of those forced to flee.

Yes, I suppose some white people left cities because of racism – probably a distinct minority. Others, like the Cashill family, left with regret because they loved Newark.

"By the end of the 1960s," Cashill recalls, "the state had razed many of our homes, mine included. A lethal riot had scorched the neighborhood. My friends and their families had scattered to the winds, and a twenty-foot-deep trench as wide as a tennis court forever severed the north end of Pigs (short for Pigtails Alley) from the south. To the degree anyone beyond our world noticed, it was to scold us for our own displacement."


"There is no understanding what really happened to Newark and other troubled cities without knowing a little about the white ethnics who inhabited those cities and their attachment to the neighborhoods they lived in," writes Cashill. "Almost to a person, they or their kin came to America for the very quality now sadly absent into many cities: freedom, security, the rule of law, opportunity."

Again, Cashill points out some timely common sense.

"Of course, too, white ethnics were not the only ones to 'flee,'" hel writes. "Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians left the cities for much the same reasons urban whites did, but only whites were shamed for leaving, thus the word 'white' is in the book's title."

Do you want to read a truthful telling about the continuing epic horror story of our once-great cities? You will get it in Cashill's book, his 17th, by the way.

The page for Cashill's book on the WND superstore page notes that the Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell contributed a blurb: “A startlingly honest and poignant look at ‘white flight’ from the white perspective. A necessary and overdue corrective.” It was published by the Simon & Schuster-distributed right-wing imprint Post Hill Press, which notoriously published a memoir by one of the (white) Louisville police officers who killed (black) Breonna Taylor (which S&S distanced itself from).

Given that Cashill has been obsessed not only with attacking Obama but also in trying to lionize (white) people like George Zimmerman and Derek Chauvin and denigrating the (black) people they killed -- Trayvon Martin and George Floyd, respectively -- it appears that his goal with this book is to try and absolve white people who fled major cities in the 1960s of racism as black people began to assert their rights.

Another indication of Cashill's pro-white focus comes in who else is championing it -- specifically, the white nationalist organization VDARE., which made it the subject of its book club for July, as  James Kirkpatrick explained in a July 7 blog post:

During my time within Conservatism Inc., there were a number of honorable exceptions to the ”movement”’s usual pattern of marking time and making a living while America burns. Jack Cashill is one of those exceptions. And on July 4, Independence Day, he has a new book coming out that will hopefully make a major impact on the debate surrounding race in the United States. 

Untenable: The True Story of White Ethnic Flight from America's Cities tells the story of white flight from the white perspective, explaining why Americans left their communities and the untold wealth and social capital that they had built up over generations in order to escape the ”Great Society.” It's a story that we are all living with today. For those of us who grew up in the suburbs, it's a story that literally shaped our entire lives.

It would be hard for Cashill to escape that kind of endorsement. And Cashill is not escaping it -- rather, he embraced it, taking part in a podcast about the book for VDARE, a snippet of which is here.

We haven't read the book -- Post Hill Press has not seen fit to send us a review copy -- but we may have gotten a preview of its attitude in Cashill's June 7 column, in which he rehashed the canard that the Community Reinvestment Act -- created in the 1970s to spur investment in low-income areas that had been denied it in the past due to discrimination and redlining -- caused the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, weirdly framing the CRA as "reparations.," and complaining: "When the bubble finally burst in 2008, no one wanted to address the moral/cultural factors that contributed to it. There was nary a word about the cultural embrace of credit, the breakdown in the family, the media support for profligates, or the government imposition of race and gender quotas on lenders." In other words, he's implying that black people are not sufficiently moral or capable of maintaining a house and mortgage. In fact, the vast majority of subprime lending was done by mortgage companies and other fnancial institutions that weren't subject to assessments under the CRA.

Cashill's book doesn't seem to be explicitly racist, but given the company he keeps and his past defense of white people killing black people, we can safely assume that it is very much racist-adjacent.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:09 PM EDT
MRC Thinks PBS 'Wrecked' Independence Day By Pointing Out How Right-Wingers Wrecked It
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center believes that only right-wingers are allowed to portray themselves as true patriots, which is why it's so weirdly hostile over Juneteenth getting elevated to a national holiday (since it's more about full independence for people than the Declaration of Independence was). So when a PBS news segment pointed out how right-wingers have hijacked Independence Day for its own ideologial purposes, Clay Waters spent a July 8 post whining that it somehow "wrecked" the holiday for such inconvenient facts to be noted:

While PBS stations celebrated music and fireworks with A Capitol Fourth from coast to coast on July 4, the tax-funded PBS NewsHour marked the Independence Day holiday in its own inimitable style by trying to tie the patriotic celebration to right-wing extremism and the January 6 Capitol Hill riots. Congressional reporter Lisa Desjardins sat down with two liberal professors to decry the dangers of the right wing on Tuesday evening.

Host Amna Nawaz set the scene for PBS’s attempt to deflate the spirit of the Fourth of July by linking the Founding Fathers to right-wing extremism, while also reminding viewers that many of the Founders were slave-owners, as if that’s shocking news.


Desjardins even chided Republican Sen. Tim Scott, a black Republican running for president, for praising the “genius” of the nation’s founders.

Waters went on to grumble that guest Jim Grossman of the American Historical Association "unleashed pomposity" by pointing out that many of the Founding Fathers owned slaves and that women weren't allowed to have any role in the founding. He complained further:

Later Desjardins asked Grossman: “What in the last 50 years could have led to this?” Grossman blamed grumpy conservative white men for not getting with the liberal program, while ignoring the possibility that left-wing extremism and governmental overreach may have contributed to a right-wing reaction.

Grossman: “….changes in immigration law, feminism of the 1960s, and the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act and civil rights activism….for many Americans, this is not the country that they thought it was or that it should be, because women are not acting the way their wives and daughters and mothers acted a generation before the 1960s….

Cooter blamed the school system, which apparently hasn’t been teaching about slavery or the plight of American Indians, a notion hard to square with most American’s memories of school.

Only at the MRC is the idea of not hating or discriminating against people a "liberal program" and not, you know, a fuller expression of rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:46 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 31, 2023 2:48 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: The Seth Rich Conspiracy Dead-Enders At WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily writers like Jack Cashill are desperate to keep bogus Seth Rich conspiracy theories alive -- and they won't tell readers about the retractions and apologies that have debunked many of them. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:40 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
MRC Dishonestly Cries 'Election Interference!' When RFK Jr.'s Vaccine Lies Are Called Out
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves Robert Kennedy Jr. because he fits into their right-wing victimhood narrative and because he could possibly hurt Joe Biden's re-election chances -- not because it actually wants him to win. LUis Cornelio kept up the victimhood narrative in a June 19 post:

In yet another example of election interference, the leftist media are once again attempting a phony plot to ban The Joe Rogan Experience podcast from Spotify.

Joe Rogan, one of the nation's most popular pro-free speech podcasters, triggered a wave of leftist outrage after an interview with Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The pair discussed several topics, including the potential negative consequences of COVID-19 vaccines. But leftist outlets Vice and The Verge painted the interview as spewing so-called vaccine misinformation and criticized Spotify for airing Rogan’s highly-acclaimed podcast.

Vice published a news article headlined, “Spotify Has Stopped Even Sort of Trying to Stem Joe Rogan’s Vaccine Misinformation.” In the article, Vice accused Spotify of allowing an “orgy of unchecked vaccine misinformation.” The Verge followed suit, dubiously claiming that Spotify has done “nothing” to prevent Rogan from peddling what it claimed to be alleged “vaccine misinformation.”

“The leftist media is at it again,” said MRC Free Speech America Director Michael Morris. “It’s not enough that Big Tech and Big Media silenced Americans during the pandemic in the lead up to and after the 2020 presidential election. Now the leftist media is attempting to silence a Democratic presidential candidate for daring to question the COVID-19 orthodoxy. Whether you agree or disagree with Joe Rogan or RFK Jr., the answer to bad speech is not censorship; it’s more speech.”

But if you're spouting dangerous misinformation about important medical issues, "free speech" isn't the issue, and Cornelio and Morris are dishonestly insisting that lies and misinformation should never be countered -- and that there is no objective definition of misinformation, given its liberal use of qualifiers as "so-called" and "alleged" -- as well as pretending that Kennedy has never been proven to have been a spreader of lies and misinformation. Also note that Cornelio and Morris make no effort to prove anything Kennedy said to be correct or to prove anything Vice and The Verge said to be false.

Cornelio then bought into the manufactured controversy that sprung from this appearance:

Dr. Peter Hotez, one of the nation’s leading pro-vaccine advocates, tweeted Vice’s article and complained that Spotify did not censor Rogan. Hotez wrote in a tweet: “⁩[J]ust awful. And from all the online attacks I’m receiving after this absurd podcast, it’s clear many actually believe this nonsense.”

But Dr. Hotez’s support of leftist Vice’s and The Verge’s tantrums did not appear to go as planned. Rogan offered $100,000 if Dr. Hotez debated RFK Jr. on vaccines. “Peter, if you claim what RFKjr is saying is ‘misinformation’ I am offering you $100,000.00 to the charity of your choice if you’re willing to debate him on my show with no time limit,” Rogan said in a now-viral tweet on Saturday.

Rogan’s offer was supported by other Twitter personalities who pledged to donate more than $2.6 million to charity if the highly controversial doctor agreed to debate RFK Jr. Valuetainment Founder Patrick Bet-David and podcast host Tim Pool were among those who pledged to donate $100,000 to a charity of Hotez’s choice.

Rather than debating his point, Dr. Hotez took to MSNBC’S Mehdi Hasan Show to complain about the so-called misinformation. During the interview, leftist host Mehdi Hasan whined about Rogan’s offer, claiming, “I don’t know if you’d agree to debate or not. My advice is not to, and people might find that surprising because I wrote a book about debate, but I just think there is a time and a place for a debate.”

Hasan, in the spirit of Vice and The Verge, compared those who oppose vaccine mandates to Holocaust deniers, adding, “I don’t think a historian of World War II should debate a Holocaust denier. [Indiscernible.] That’s … that’s my analogy here. Like, I don’t think these debates between experts and cranks do anything other than elevate the cranks.”

Cornelio didn't explain how Vice and The Verge pointing out Kennedy's history of spreading medical misinformation makes the "leftist."He also doesn't seem to understand that scientific facts are adjudicated by a public debate; they are proven or disproven by research. Also, there's no evidence Kennedy would be an honest debater.

Intern Bethany Kawalec complained that Kennedy's misinformation was held to account elsewhere in a June 20 post:

No strangers to controversy, Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and podcaster Dr. Jordan Peterson again face the blast of YouTube’s ire.

YouTube once again meddled in the 2024 election when it removed yet another interview of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (D) Saturday. In an interview with world-renowned psychologist Peterson, the pair discussed a range of topics including Kennedy’s presidential campaign, vaccines and the alleged dominance of pharmaceutical companies. YouTube told MRC Free Speech America in a statement that it "removed a video from the Jordan Peterson channel for violating YouTube’s general vaccine misinformation policy, which prohibits content that alleges that vaccines cause chronic side effects, outside of rare side effects that are recognized by health authorities." 

It appears that YouTube may have censored the interview due to Kennedy’s comments on a since retracted Rolling Stone article in which he wrote about “the links between autism and vaccines.”


Peterson, whose account was directly affected by the censorship, was having none of it. “Now @YouTube has taken upon itself to actively interfere with a presidential election campaign @RobertKennedyJr,” Peterson tweeted.

Kennedy, however, used the censorship to start a discussion on Twitter, a platform that owner Elon Musk has said should promote free speech. “What do you think ... Should social media platforms censor presidential candidates?” Kennedy asked. “My conversation with @JordanBPeterson was deleted by @YouTube. Luckily you can watch it here on @Twitter (thank you @elonmusk). #Kennedy24.” Kennedy also posted the full video of the interview.

This attack on free speech and America’s electoral process is just the most recent battle in a barrage of YouTube censorship.

Kawalec is being dishonest about the vaccine-autism link, suggesting it dates back to a 2005 Rolling Stone article and ignoring that Kennedy has continued to promote the false link ever since.And like Cornelio, Kawalec refuses to acknowledge that Kennedy's medical misinformation has been repeatedly discredited. She also failed to note that Peterson is a right-wing darling or explain why she and Peterson care so much about a Democratic candidate.

Both Cornelio and Kawalec showed the dishonest why the MRC plans to approach the 2024 presidential election: by framing any attempt to fact-check a Republican candidate (or one convenient to Republican narratives like Kennedy) as "election interference." It doesn't matter if the candidate is lying through his (or her) teeth -- it's wrong to point that out. Expect to see a lot more of this highly dishonest talking point over the next year and a half.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:03 PM EDT
Hirsen's Split On Hollywood Strikes: AI An Issue, But He Hopes They Make Hollywood More Right-Wing
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen loves to write about about how much he hates the entertainment industry for not being right-wing enough, so it's unsurprising that he's hoping the strikes by writers and actors will push Hollywood ideology to the right, as he expressed in his July 18 Newsmax column:

Like every other aspect of our lives, things presently appear to be out of whack.

The brand of Hollywood itself is in tatters, in large part because of the cultural and political agendas that permeate every nook and cranny of the town.

What has particularly outraged the public, though, are the productions that have been coming from major studios, chock-full of vile and inappropriate imagery, content, and messaging aimed straight at our kids and teens.

Could the Hollywood shutdown created by the two entertainment unions be a blessing in disguise?

A lot of consumers of entertainment fare are viewing it this way, as if maybe a wrench in the works was exactly what was needed to stop the madness.

Note that Hirsen is not opposed to political agendas in the media -- he just wants it to be his political agenda.

On the other hand, Hirsen does seem sympathetic elsewhere in the column to one of the key issues that led to the strikes: the use of artificial intelligence. He noted the issue in his June 6 column, and he railed against AI-generated music in his June 28 column, though as a musician he has a personal interest in that.

Hirsen spent his Aug. 1 column also raising questions about AIwhile also cheering the strikes are"largely unseen":

Almost unnoticeably, the Hollywood strike drags on. 

That's a problem for the members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA). Their plight is largely unseen.

Yes, the picket lines continue to be manned and the press conferences rage on.

But something very different is going on behind the scenes, and that "something," may not bode well for human actors.  

The current strikes were initially prompted by the usual compensation-related concerns.

However, this time the central issue revolves around the role that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to play in the future creation, production, and marketing of entertainment content.

In terms of the negotiations between labor and management, the situation is truly unprecedented, due to that technological elephant in the room.

And, being Hirsen, he tried to tie the AI issue into his culture war:

From ancient past to present day, new inventions have historically caused labor displacement.

Again, though, something very different is going on.

And it probably has to do with the philosophical, political, societal, cultural, and ethical transformations that are occurring simultaneously in our country and globally.

The Hollywood strikes are likely to last a long time and may not bring a satisfactory outcome to the unions’ memberships.

So goes Hollywood, so goes the world?

Hirsen seems OK with whatever happens with the AI issue as long as it makes Hollywood more right-wing.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:20 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 30, 2023 9:55 PM EDT
WND Promotes Sob Story Portraying Capitol Rioters As Victims
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily loves to portray Capitol rioters as victims just because they're being held accountable for their behavior. It took the lazy way out for one attempt, republishing an pathos-laden July 16 article by the notoriously unreliable Gateway Pundit written by onetime WND reporter Alicia Powe:

J6 defendants Casey Cusick, his elderly father James Cusick, and David Lesperance, a family friend who is also elderly, are facing up to three years in prison for walking into the Capitol building on January 6 for nine minutes to use the bathroom.

When they entered the Capitol building, a cop told them how to get to the bathroom while other surrounding law enforcement officials waved the massive crowd of peaceful demonstrators into the building as lawmakers certified the stolen 2020 election results.


Casey, a father of three, James, a 74-year-old pastor and purple heart recipient and David, a 70-year old grandfather, are charged with four federal felonies for stopping to use the bathroom in the Capitol building, including Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority, Disorderly or Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building, and Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct on Capitol Grounds, according to the Department of Justice.

To everyday Americans, the government’s charges against Casey, James and David are bogus, absurd and preposterous. But the litigation will not be an open and shut case.

The odds are stacked against J6 defendants on trial in the District of Columbia, where the pool of potential jurors has a 92 percent rate of voting for Joe Biden in the District of Columbia. District federal judges have almost resoundingly sided with the government against so-called insurrectionists, resulting in an overwhelming, unprecedently high conviction rate for J6 defendants.

That two of the defendants are "elderly" is irrelevant to the case, and it's something Powe apparently added to up the perceived victimhood quotient.While the Cusicks and Lesperance appear to have not to have committed any violence, ther eis much evidence that they were inside the Capitol when they weren't supposed to be. Powe also neglected to mention that, as a real journalism organization did, that the Cusicks' church "presented a blend of Christian theology and patriotism to its audience," but appears to be currently inactive.

Powe also complained that "The Justice Department’s U.S. Attorney’s offices have secured a 99.8% conviction rate on at least one charge in each case, including half through guilty pleas," but didn't mention that this is in no small part due the fact that many of the defendants documented their behavior and posted it on social media, and there was plenty of other video available to document what people did. Indeed, the charging document for the Cusicks and Lesperance point out that CCTV inside the Capitol and Capitol Police body cameras captured them, and geolocation data from Lesperance's phone placed him inside the Capitol; photos taken by Lesperance show the Cusicks (which Lesperance tried to delete but were recovered from his iCloud account).

Powe went on to state that "When Casey, James and John left Washington, DC, they had no inclination that they had committed any crime on January 6" -- never mind the fact that it should have been obvious that entering a restricted public building as part of a mob was a crime.

Powe also hyped claims of innocence by thte trio's lawyer, John Pierce:

Despite the tainted jury pool and corrupt judges, Pierce is confident the Cusicks and Lesperance will be acquitted.

“This is by far, might be the best chance anybody has to get a full-on jury verdict acquittal of all charges because the facts are probably the best of any facts that we have in the case,” he said. “These defendants are pretty much the most credible and sympathetic defendants in any case. Our plan is to win this — I mean, every defendant, every charge, not guilty.”

In fact, by the time WND published this story, the Cusicks and Lesperance had been found guilty on all charges, and sentencing was set for October. WND didn't see fit to report this development to its readers.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:26 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- The MRC Flips Over Elon Musk, Part 13: Burying Bad News
Topic: Media Research Center
As loyal Musk shills, The Media Research Center didn't want to talk about how his dismantling of Twitter's blue-check system resulted in chaos, or how "Twitter files" writer Matt Taibbi acrimoniously split with Musk. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:59 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
MRC's DeSantis Defense Brigade Watch, Casey DeSantis Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has spent the past few decades heaping attacks and scorn on Hillary Clinton, so it's more than a little hypocritical for it to suddenly get the vapors over the spouse of a Republican presidential candidate getting what might be called the Hillary treatment. Tim Graham called up the DeSantis Defense Brigade in a May 21 post:

Everyone should remember upfront before the Republican primaries really begin that Politico is a Democrat outlet. Look no further than Michael Kruse's nasty piece on "The Casey DeSantis Problem." Just read this and think of Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, and know how much liberals would freak out: 

She is and always has been by far his most important adviser, they say, because she is hesitant to cede that space to nearly anybody else. The DeSantis inner circle is too small and remains so, they say, not only because he constitutionally doesn’t trust people but because she doesn’t either.

Especially forthright are the people who are granted anonymity on account of their fear of retribution given their power — not just his but hers. “She’s the power behind the throne,” a Republican lobbyist told me. “The tip of the spear,” said a Republican consultant.

This is one of the most irresponsible uses of anonymous sources, just to make catty comments with no idea of the vicious anonymous source's motivations. Then Kruse turned to Trump stone-throwers: 

“Have you ever noticed,” Roger Stone, the notorious political mischief-maker who is both a DeSantis antagonist and a many-decades-long Trump loyalist, remarked in a Telegram post last fall, “how much Ron DeSantis’ wife Casey is like Lady Macbeth?” — an agent, in other words, of her husband’s undoing.

As reporters like Fox's oseph Wulfsohnreminded, just last year Politico derided "The return of the Lady Macbeth trope" during the 2022 midterms when it was used against First Lady Jill Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Gisele Fetterman.

We don't recall Graham complaining about those attacks -- in fact, Graham and the rest of the MRC appear to have a case of Jill Biden Derangement Syndrome.Graham went on to tout how "Conservatives slammed the piece on Twitter," continuing to be oblivious to the hypocrisy.

When another piece critical of Casey DeSantis appeared, it was Curtis Houck to go into defense moce in a June 5 post:

Daily Beast executive editor Katie Baker took to her supposedly serious journalistic outfit Sunday with a Mean Girls hit piece on Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis that bordered on infantile in its imbecilic language and proof that, if the person at the top feels this way, it’s a farce for the liberal media to view them as a sober purveyor of real journalism.

Baker’s piece consisted of throwing a conniption over Mrs. DeSantis’s decision to wear “a ghastly black leather jacket” — with an alligator and the phrase “Where Woke Goes to Die” on the back — to Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) Roast and Ride on Saturday as something you’d find in “the racks of a Red State big-bin store where it would be retailing for $24.99.”

Baker argued it was snugly tied into her husband Ron’s 2024 presidential campaign: “Crude. Grasping. Saying the ugly part out loud.”

She added that DeSantis was “even more explicit [than Trump] about who he intends to target” (i.e. minorities, in the fictitious world of liberals) with Florida being where not only “woke go[es] to [die],” but “a lot of other people die as well.”

Not having to fear fact-checkers, Baker provided no evidence other than the liberal media’s talking point (echoed by the Trump campaign) that “Florida under DeSantis has had one of the highest COVID death rates in the nation”.

Houck couldn't be bothered to a fact-check either, so we will. Wait, we already did: Florida's COVID death rate is the 18th highest in the country. And, of course, the MRC has no problem going all Mean Girls on women it hates for being insufficiently right-wing, like Alyssa Farah Griffin.

Houck went on to whine that Baker "needs to go outside and touch some grass instead of whine about how Republican women use fashion “to stick it to political enemies” and “a bored, nihilistic shrug,” concluding:

Baker’s puerile bile (dressed up as a supposedly edgy takedown) ended with her lament claiming Mrs. DeSantis’s jacket proved “she is cheering on a spouse who gets his kicks off targeting his fellow Americans,” “down with his message of division and dehumanization,”and “ready for far more power.”

All the while, Baker seethes, the DeSantis are “seething with hate.”

Houck might have a compelling argument if he and his MRC co-workers didn't have a record of doing to women they don't like what he accuses Baker of doing.

Alex Christy spent a July 7 post complaining that Casey DeSantis got fact-checked:

CNN Tonight host Alisyn Camerota tried and failed to fact-check an ad featuring Casey DeSantis where she touted her husband Ron’s record of banning “child mutilation.” As Camerota tells it, DeSantis’s team admits they have no proof of such events ever happening, but that is not true.


After the clip, Camerota singled out one issue in particular. Addressing The Atlantic’s James Surowiecki, she claimed, “Okay. James? Child mutilation, illegal? It's illegal everywhere, by the way. I mean, obviously, they're referring to, you know, reassignment surgery, but that, it was fact checked by PolitiFact that actually, the governor's office could not provide PolitiFact any examples of this happening to a child.”

The PolitiFact article in question came out in August 2022. In that article, author Yacob Reyes wrote, “The governor's office sent PolitiFact two examples of people who received transition-related surgeries in their mid to late teenage years  — one at 15 and one at 17.”

However, to justify a “mostly false,” rating Reyes got hyperliteral, “DeSantis' Florida Department of Health differentiates between children (under 10) and adolescents (10-18).”

By speaking of children, Casey DeSantis was clearly using “children” as a synonym for “minors” and Reyes notes that such operations do exist:

When one commentator pointed out that such gender-reassignment surgeries are rate, Christy huffed that the post "has an agenda to push, but even if that is accurate, 'not common' is not 'never.'" Talk about being hyperliteral.

Mark Finkelstein took on more criticism of Casey DeSantis the next day:

This could be the ugliest liberal-media attack on a candidate's wife in recent memory. On Jonathan Capehart's MSNBC show on Saturday two guests competed to see which one could smear the wife of a Republican candidate with the ugliest epithet.

The two contestants in the mudslinging match were Tara Setmayer of the disgraced Lincoln Project, and ex-Republican David Jolly. Their target was Casey DeSantis, wife of Ron.

Jolly described Casey as "America's Karen." That led a hooting Capehart to tell Setmayer, "Tara, I think David's beaten you in terms of taking my breath away during a segment." Capehart virtually congratulated Jolly on his insult, saying, "'America's Karen:' David Jolly, you went for it!"

But Setmayer was not to be bested in the slander stakes. She promptly riposted, seeking to demonstrate that she could be even nastier than Jolly: "Well, I called her a Serena Waterford wannabe."

Waterford is the character from The Handmaid's Tale who has been described, in a website about screen villains, as "the cruel, fanatically religious wife of Fred Waterford, the dictator of Gilead."


Try to imagine how the MSNBC regulars would get the vapors if you called Jill Biden or Kamala Harris or Michelle Obama "America's Karen."

Finkelstein might want to look through the MRC archives to see exactly how it treated those women before he goes any farther with that defense.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 PM EDT
WND Tries To Condense Election Conspiracy Theories Into A Bumper Sticker
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bumper stickers really aren't much of a thing these days, and it's telling of of just how out of step WorldNetDaily is with reality that it seems to think it is. Joseph Farah spent his June 30 column touting how WND condensed election-fraud conspiracy theories into a bumper sticker, rehashing them all in the process in his June 30 column:

It's the hottest bumper sticker on the planet! And you can get your very own – starting today – from WND exclusively. We think it says it all.

"Thou Shalt Not Steal Elections."

We're calling the bluff on "Election Integrity!" Here, in a nutshell, is what we know:

  • Joe Biden didn't get 81 million "votes" in the 2020 election. No way! Impossible! He couldn't have received the biggest number of "votes" in American electoral history. It's a sick joke. Donald Trump got the most votes of any sitting American president in history – at least 74 million, probably far more. We'll probably never know for sure.
  • We all saw "2000 Mules," probably the most heavily censored film of all time.
  • We all know about Hunter Biden's "laptop from hell," the pre-election suppression of which constituted the worst case of election fraud ever. Fifty-one former "intelligence agents" claimed it was "Russian disinformation." Remember?
  • In 2020, Joe Biden didn't even show up. He spent the campaign is his basement.
  • Right now, the hottest song on the charts in the nation featuring Kari Lake commemorates the 2020 election farce.
  • And we think we've coined the absolute hottest bumper sticker.

A few years ago, we realized that our elections were being stolen. When we tried to alert the nation to the horror of it, the government came after us and accused us of lying. Then they accused Trump supporters of formulating an "insurrection." They started arresting people, so far about 2,000. They locked many up in solitary confinement – some for years.

It was never really an "insurrection," however. It was a "Fed-surrection." And the nightmare continues today.

Now there's a way for everyone to protest this atrocity – with dignity.

You can get the perfect bumper sticker for our time – which expresses the undeniable truth, commemorates the reality we all lived through and will never forget, and boldly points the only way forward.

Of course, "2000 Mules" has been roundly discredited, and the only person who's on record trying to steal an election is Donald Trump. Also, claiming to be "the hottest bumper sticker on the planet" is a meaningless boast when few poeple care about bumper stickers (and he offers no metrics to back up his boast). And there is no such thing as dignity when you're promoting discredited conspracy theories. Speaking of lack of dignity, Farah continued by defending Trump:

Even as we speak today, the Deep State is persecuting President Donald J. Trump. He's been indicted in two different jurisdictions with more reportedly coming. The Justice Department – or Injustice Department under Merrick Garland – wants to lock him up for 400 years under the charges, a simple paper chase over "classified documents," papers that only the president could declassify.

America has never encountered anything like this, and it's never before suffered a catastrophe like the Joe Biden administration.

They are trying to bury Trump with phony charges – just as they spent four years trying to destroy him while he was our president: impeaching him twice, spying on his campaign, lying about him for spreading "Russian disinformation," etc., etc., etc.

This, too, is nothing but "election interference" of the worst kind. Every waking hour they commit election interference against the Trump campaign, but he just gets stronger and stronger. Can he beat Joe Biden in another campaign? Yes, he can. That's why the Democrats are freaking out.

And it wouldn't be complete without a sales pitch: "You can get one "Thou Shalt Not Steal Elections" bumper sticker for $5.95, two for $10.95, five for $25 or 10 for $49." Farah concluded by stating, "We answer to a Higher Authority." Never mind, of course, that he and WND repeatedly violate that Higher Authority's admonition about bearing false witness.

An anonymously written July 4 article promoted the bumper sticker again while peddling more election-fraud conspiracytheories:

The theft of elections in America by Democrats has a long history.

In fact, WND reported two decades ago how a lawyer who worked for Democrats described his history of stealing elections that dated back two MORE decades.


Whether it was "stealing" or not during the 2020 election can be left to semantics.

But the facts are that Mark Zuckerberg handed out some $400-plus million like candy to local elections officials who often used it to recruit voters specifically from Democrat districts.

Further, the FBI influenced the election by telling media organizations – falsely – that the details about the Biden family schemes and scandals found on Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop likely were Russian disinformation.

It knew at the time the details were accurate and the schemes were real.

But its campaign against the truth convinced media outlets to suppress that information, depriving American voters of key information about one candidate.

A Media Research Center poll after the election found that many Democrats would have dropped their support for Joe Biden had they known of his actual involvement in Hunter Biden's various operations. And Joe Biden likely would have lost the election.

As we documented, those MRC polls were bought from Trump's own 2020 pollster and a company founded by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, so there's good reason to suspect they're more than a little biased.

The anonymous writer went on to repeat a good chunk of Farah's column while plugging the bumper sticker. It's another sign of WND's increasing lack of grip on reality that it seems to believe that a bumper sticker will save it.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:42 PM EDT
Newsmax Defends Trump Yet Again After (Fourth) Indictment
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax spent the days after Donald Trump's third indictment preparing for his fourth indictment, this one out of Georgia. The foreshadowing began as early as Aug. 9:

But when a draft indictment document was posted on the Georgia court's website (then quickly taken down), that opened up the floodgates for complaining. Eric Mack parroted the Trump camp's whining in an Aug. 14 article:

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump fired back at Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' office for leaking the charges being put before the grand jury targeting Trump this week.

"The Fulton County District Attorney's Office has once again shown that they have no respect for the integrity of the grand jury process," attorneys Drew Findling and Jennifer Little wrote in a statement to Newsmax.

The statement came just hours after reporters picked up a grand jury court docket outlining the case and charges against Trump. The document was on the court's website briefly – apparently mistakenly – before it was deleted.


"This was not a simple administrative mistake," the Trump attorneys' statement continued. "A proposed indictment should only be in the hands of the District Attorney's Office, yet it somehow made its way to the clerk's office and was assigned a case number and a judge before the grand jury even deliberated.

"This is emblematic of the pervasive and glaring constitutional violations which have plagued this case from its very inception."

Newsmax's focus on the Georgia happenings intensified after that:

When Trump's indictment was made official later on Aug. 14, Newsmax began with a wire article on the charges, then quickly moved to its usual defend-and-attack mode throughout the rest of the day:

Just a single article of non-Trump rah-rah appeared in that time: "Hillary Clinton: Ga. Indictments 'Terrible Moment' for US."

Unsurprisngly, Newsmax ramped things up the next day, Aug. 15:

As usual, there was only a small smattering of articles that told a fuller story:

In the midst of all this apparent criminality, an Aug. 14 column by Larry Bell argued that it was somehoe worth it for people to donate money to Trump:

Democrats are bound and determined to bury their leading political adversary, Donald Trump, in debt through publicly funded lawsuits to redirect money, media attention, and surging momentum away from his 2024 election campaign.

John Lauro, a Trump attorney, said on Fox News within minutes of a third indictment being made public, that the former president is "being forced to spend money on legal defense, which should be spent on the discussion of critical ideas and critical issues."

Recent financial reports gleefully released by a gloating New York Times analysis of federal records show that about 30 cents of every dollar raised by Trump’s various political committees and super PAC this year have been spent on legal-related costs.


Any good news in this it is that the strategy to bleed Donald Trump’s campaign and personal finances dry with transparently political legal charges energizes his online donor support at a rate that dwarfs all rivals: nearly $46 million in the first half of the year, with an average donation of under $35.

Trump spokesman Steven Cheung accused President Biden and the Justice Department’s special counsel, Jack Smith, of using the government’s "unlimited resources" to try "to force the Trump campaign to spend, spend, spend to defend innocent Americans who have been targeted."

Nevertheless, Cheung added, "As President Trump has said, he will spend whatever it takes to defeat the Deep State and Crooked Joe Biden."

I’ll add that whatever this cost, it will be money well spent.

Bell did not raise the question of why a self-proclaimed billionaire is not spending his own money to defend himself but instead begging for money from others.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 30, 2023 6:24 PM EDT
The Media Research Center fully turned its back on journalism by quietly blowing up its "news" operation (and firing several longtime employees) to turn into a right-wing blog not bound by journalistic standards. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:19 AM EDT

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