Turns Out People Really Like It When The Press Fact Checks, Rather Than Just Reporting What Everyone Said

from the duh dept

This really shouldn't surprise anyone, but hopefully this means that more folks in the press will realize a simple point: their job isn't just to report on what both sides said, but to say directly when someone is lying or being misleading. The AP, which has had some issues in this department in the past, has started aggressively fact checking politicians and now claims that those fact check pieces are the most popular pieces they do. They're the most clicked and the most linked to stories. This is good news. One of the major frustrations with the press is how they seem to just reprint press releases and talking points, rather than challenging questionable claims. If they start to realize that people really do look to the press to tell them who's being truthful, perhaps some of these publications wouldn't be struggling quite so much.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Dementia (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 6:05pm

    Now if they will just start fact checking the RIAA's of the world.......

     

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  2.  
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    AC, May 20th, 2010 @ 6:10pm

    it's a fine line

    Checking verifiable facts is absolutely an important role for the press, but it also becomes an easy path for injecting their own opinion alongside the subject's. Even if it's selection bias in checking one person's words more thoroughly than another's, a reporter has to be very careful to not devolve into just another editorialist looking for places to twist the truth to fit an agenda.

     

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  3.  
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    David T, May 20th, 2010 @ 6:18pm

    But if they start calling politicians on lies, the newspapers would no longer be "independent" and "neutral." They would have to *gasp* offer an analysis... That's work!

     

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  4.  
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    Freedom, May 20th, 2010 @ 6:20pm

    Great - BUT

    This is a great, but just because someone does fact checking doesn't mean the results are ironclad, conclusive or "the truth".

    I've seen plenty of investigative type reporting that ignore key elements, approached the issue from a bias perspective and ended up with promoting falsehoods.

    What we need is a scientific discipline/approach to the news and while this is a nice step forward, it still isn't close to the real cure. I would also argue that the typical reporter isn't 'wired properly' to be a scientist. Most are wired with a European/Socialist view of the world.

    Freedom

    P.S. Where are the politicians that stand up and say, these are my core principles and every decision I make as your representative will be guided by these principles. Where is the honor of those in public service? We blame our representatives, but aren't they just a reflection of us? If we want true change in government, the first job is rebuild our core values and then government will reflect what we have become. Exchanging one set of radical politicians for another is treating the symptom and not the disease.

     

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  5.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 6:54pm

    "The AP... has started aggressively fact checking politicians and now claims that those fact check pieces are the most popular pieces they do"

    Wow. The news media are run by complete idiots. Jon Stewart has been doing exactly that since 1999. Over a fricken decade. And now finally the "mainstream" press is catching on?!

     

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  6.  
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    Designerfx (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Great - BUT

    doesn't matter. some fact checking is still better than just requoting bogus stats from RIAA and MPAA.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2010 @ 7:06pm

    first, i have to wonder: mike, did you check this fact out, or did you just reprint it verbatim? perhaps a little investigation would be order, right?

    second, more and more people are enjoying sites like huffington and the drudge report, which are somewhat light on balance. heck, they love rush limbaugh (and I am sure mikey does too!), and rush is incredibly good at not letting the truth get in the way of a good out of context nugget. its sort of how this place works, i think. would someone care to check for facts?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2010 @ 7:20pm

    Re:

    You suck at trolling.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2010 @ 7:23pm

    Re:

    Remember that one time TAM used facts to advance his points? Or was that a dream?

     

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  10.  
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    AMusingFool (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 7:29pm

    And who said it...

    This is a big, and important, step in the right direction. After all, if they just repeat what the government says (which is what they've been doing for the past ten years), then there is no value added. If there is no value added, then the business has no reason to exist. You'd think they'd have noticed this.

    Another important step, stop using anonymous sourcing, particularly when repeating the government line. If it's a whistleblower, sure, they deserve all the anonymity they can get, but otherwise? We deserve to know from which 'administration official with knowledge of the discussion' we're hearing.

    @freedom... There are plenty of scientists who are both European and Socialist. I'm not sure exactly what dichotomy you're trying to draw there, but that one didn't work.

     

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  11.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 7:30pm

    Re: Great - BUT

    I've seen plenty of investigative type reporting that ignore key elements, approached the issue from a bias perspective and ended up with promoting falsehoods.

    That's most reporting today.

    I stopped being amazed long ago when I see papers and news chock full of one-sided-ness, like anything on copyright or homeschooling.

    It's not even he-said, she-said. It's just he-said.

     

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  12.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 7:34pm

    Re:

    Dude, Mike isn't a reporter, and this isn't a news site.

    That being said, his posts have a much higher rate of accuracy, and the posters don't cover it up when they're wrong. They add an edit so everyone can see what happened.

    So they're not only usually right, they're also honest.

     

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  13.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 7:38pm

    Re: Great - BUT

    Where are the politicians that stand up and say, these are my core principles and every decision I make as your representative will be guided by these principles. Where is the honor of those in public service?

    long gone my friend.... long gone.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2010 @ 7:48pm

    Re: Re:

    rose, rush limbaugh is incredibly accurate, but his accuracy comes because he ignores everything that surrounds his chosen fact. so while he has a high accuracy rate, he is also very misleading at times. i think mikey does the same thing. narrowly looking at things can provide an 'honest' look at a topic, but it isnt the whole truth.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2010 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    And then you come along and call Mike out by providing nothing of substance.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2010 @ 7:52pm

    Re: Re:

    Twas a dream

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2010 @ 8:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    hi mike. i point out things in many threads, you just choose to ignore them, or pee down on high and act all smarmy. that is okay, it is up to you. you really should log on as yourself though.

     

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  18.  
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    accuracy ?, May 20th, 2010 @ 8:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "rush limbaugh is incredibly accurate"

    Rush Limbaugh: Oil Spill Was Deliberate Act By Environmentalists

    http://gawker.com/5529289/rush-limbaugh-oil-spill-was-deliberate-act-by-environ mentalists

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2010 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The Masnick Sidekick Strikes Again!!!

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2010 @ 8:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Coming from TAM, who routinely ignores counter-arguments to his flawed points with paranoid conspiracy rhetoric.

    Amusing.

     

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  21.  
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    jjmsan (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 9:05pm

    Re: it's a fine line

     

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  22.  
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    jjmsan (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 9:08pm

    Re: Re: it's a fine line

    Well that was dumb on my part. It is supposed to be the job of the press to check the facts. If it was always done you wouldn't worry about bias

     

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  23.  
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    TheOldProfessor (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 9:10pm

    Re: Calling politicians on lies

    No, David. Having to "offer an analysis" is not the barrier to newspapers calling politicians on lies. Think a moment -- it's pretty obvious. If newspapers called politicians on every lie they speak, the forests of American would be depleted in no more than a couple of years -- five at the most. Greenpeace and all of us who enjoy sitting in the shade of a beautiful tree would be inconsolable. Don't feel bad David. You're probably just still young enough to not have the obvious answer occur to you.

     

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  24.  
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    jjmsan (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 9:17pm

    Re: Great - BUT

    Why would a scientific approach make a difference? It's not like science is never wrong or has a lock on truth.

     

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  25.  
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    bob, May 20th, 2010 @ 9:17pm

    It's not just fact checking

    It's also skew.

    I think skew has much more to do with the reason for much of newspapers failings economically.

     

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  26.  
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    TheOldProfessor (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 9:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Anonymous Coward

    Concerned advice to Anonymous C.: If you think Limbaugh is "incredibly accurate" please have your hearing checked. A hearing loss in the range of RL's voice is a serious health issue. Here's hoping it's just wax buildup caused by all the bombast.

     

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  27.  
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    TheOldProfessor (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Leaking top secret info

    Limbaugh should be jailed. Revealing that environmentalists sabotaged the pipe at the well head 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf will let everyone figure out what the environmentalists have been doing with those trained dolphins that escaped from the Homeland Security folks. They sent them to Somalia for specialized training in deep water suicide missions and fitted them with dolphin-sized explosive vests. I'll bet Limbaugh never thought I could figure out what really happened. I've also discovered that Mitch McConnell was the mastermind who manipulated the environmentalists into thinking they were striking a blow for the environment by causing an automatic shutdown with the blast. There! That ought to keep Rush and the ditto heads busy for a day or two.

     

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  28.  
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    TheOldProfessor (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 9:43pm

    Re: Great - BUT

    "Exchanging one set of radical politicians for another is treating the symptom and not the disease."
    ___________________________________________]

    If we are simply doing an exchange, then it's evidence that the "dumbing" of America so often spoken of is fact rather than theory. We have plenty of good candidates, but we do not work hard enough at locating them and promoting them. As a result, the big money folks (now empowered by the Supreme Court as never before) flood the media for their minions, and the American public cuts its own proverbial throat every two years.

     

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  29.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 9:49pm

    Re: Re: Calling politicians on lies

    You're either missing your sarcmarc or you're too old to realize that the average person doesn't get their news from dead trees.

     

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  30.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 9:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Pathetic troll is pathetic.

     

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  31.  
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    Technopolitical (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 10:23pm

    Re: Re:Dude, Mike isn't a reporter, and this isn't a news site.

    but it could be , and should be. It is mike's free-choice. And I for the life of me can't figure out why he does not work to make techdirt a forum for serious policy discussion. He gets the readship, but the high-end academic and profressional readers do not bother posting, as the threads often just turn into useless drival -- even w/o me helping.

    There are very few good forums to address the many interesting Mike does raise in his postings. Mike should look to find a way to have more high-end academic and professional readers join the threads , without always being called a Moron -- or worse -, but some high school kid on LSD

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2010 @ 10:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:Dude, Mike isn't a reporter, and this isn't a news site.

    Yeah, why doesn't Mike make Techdirt boring? I will never figure it out.

     

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  33.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), May 20th, 2010 @ 11:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Calling politicians on lies

    More newspaper sales = greater deforestation?

     

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  34.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), May 21st, 2010 @ 12:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    He's surrounded by mikes!

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2010 @ 1:46am

    Re: Re: Re:Dude, Mike isn't a reporter, and this isn't a news site.

    And I for the life of me can't figure out why he does not work to make techdirt a forum for serious policy discussion.

    For the life of most of us, we can't figure out why various industry individuals do not work to find other avenues for increasing revenue than government welfare, mass litigation and instantly calling everyone a thief. Never stopped them.

    He gets the readship, but the high-end academic and profressional readers do not bother posting

    Why would they need to bother with trolls insistent that Mike is always wrong?

    the threads often just turn into useless drival -- even w/o me helping

    Are you conceding that your helping is contributory to useless [sic] drival?

    There are very few good forums to address the many interesting Mike does raise in his postings.

    If you are aware that few good forums exist, then it would help if you suggested some.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2010 @ 1:58am

    You're all lost. Have fun.

     

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  37.  
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    Hank Hill, May 21st, 2010 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Calling politicians on lies

    Thats just asinine.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2010 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Did someone make infinite Mike copies? Does that mean all Mikes are now free?

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2010 @ 6:54am

    Re:

    I was. Until you told me I was lost! Where the f*** am I?

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2010 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Anonymous Coward

    you miss the point. limbaugh is incredibly accurate on the very small facts he works from. his theories and concepts are wrong, but they all trace back to a grain of truth. he is very accurate. if he says "omaba said this", the quote is true, but taken incredibly out of context. the bp oil spill thing probably tracks back to a claim made by a group, a statement, whatever. it all tracks back to being truthful at it's root. it is my point about mikey, he does the same thing. he starts with a grain of truth, and builds a mountain on top of it. the mountain is made of poo most of the time, but under it all is a grain of truth that cannot be argued. thus, he plays the truth card and everyone swallows the mountain.

     

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  41.  
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    chris (profile), May 21st, 2010 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Calling politicians on lies

    If newspapers called politicians on every lie they speak, the forests of American would be depleted in no more than a couple of years -- five at the most. Greenpeace and all of us who enjoy sitting in the shade of a beautiful tree would be inconsolable.

    if only there was a way to take printed news paper and print to it again, like a way to RE-peat the CYCLE of printing using less new paper than the time before.

     

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  42.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), May 21st, 2010 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    ... so everytime a politician speaks we have to be told how he or she telling a lie. I thought we knew that already.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2010 @ 10:21am

    No fact checking is one of the reasons I refuse to pay for news anymore. Why should I pay to listen/read news from a shill? Lack of disclosure is another huge problem.

     

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  44.  
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    Spanky, May 21st, 2010 @ 11:44am

    re

    Good to see that the news media is rediscovering journalism. Next thing you know, they'll start requiring degrees to work there.

     

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  45.  
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    Chargone (profile), May 21st, 2010 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Calling politicians on lies

    indeed. it should be 'more newspaper sales = more newspapers printed = more paper required = deforestation'.

    the stripy one missed some steps :)

    (please note: i'm half joking here, but the insult was uncalled for unless it was a joke i failed to understand :) )

     

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  46.  
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    Chargone (profile), May 21st, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re:

    'twas nought but misty memory
    of hazy delusion and fantasy
    a dream
    divorced from all reality.

     

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  47.  
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    Chargone (profile), May 21st, 2010 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ... why not? it's no worse than what most politicians come out with, and they regularly get surrounded by mikes...

    also cameras.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Mr Big Content, May 21st, 2010 @ 9:11pm

    But Facts Are Not “Fair And Balanced”

    Trouble is, the facts on their own do not provide “fair and balanced” coverage of an issue. You need someone selecting the right facts and presenting them in the right way, so people know what to think. Otherwise how are people supposed to make up their own minds?

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    BBT, May 24th, 2010 @ 5:24am

    Media corporations have known for ages that people like this sort of thing, it's kind of obvious. But why would corporations question politicians from the two corporate political parties? It's just not in their self-interest to bite the hand that feeds them. Although perhaps it would be more apt to say to punish the dog that they feed?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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