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The 2,898th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
11:30am EDT, Friday May 29, 2009 (Vol. Fourteen; No. 104)

 
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1. Nets Push 'Abortion Rights' Advocates' Concerns on Sotomayor
NBC and ABC on Thursday night framed stories around concerns of "abortion rights" advocates who want proof Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is on their side, but both cloaked their pieces around the proposition "both sides" of the debate are equally worried. With "Where Does She Stand?" as the on-screen heading, as if there is genuine belief Obama would have selected the judge without knowing she'd uphold Roe v Wade, NBC anchor Lester Holt set up a story through the prism of pro-abortion activists as he announced that White House "spokesman Robert Gibbs says the President did not specifically ask her about the right to privacy, a key issue in the abortion debate." Reporter Pete Williams proceeded to declare that Sotomayor's stand on abortion is "a mystery" as "both sides on the abortion issue agree...they're eager to know exactly what Sonia Sotomayor thinks about abortion and the constitution." Viewers then heard only from one side, an "abortion rights advocate."

2. NBC's Cowan Glows Over Obama Frosh Photos: 'Humble Beginnings!'
NBC's Lee Cowan, on Thursday's Today show, giddily highlighted new found photos taken of Barack Obama when he was a freshman at Occidental College and even cooed at a shot of him sitting on an old Goodwill couch: "Humble beginnings!" Cowan interviewed Obama's old college classmate Lisa Jack who took the photographs, because she claimed she was told to get pictures of the then freshman because he "definitely had personality," and added: "He was cute. I mean look at him."

3. CBS Urges: Paint Roofs and Roads White to Stop Global Warming
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment on a new way to combat global warming: "Up next, if you could do one thing to fight global warming, would you do it? How about painting your roof white? We'll explain." Fill-in co-host Chris Wragge later introduced the report: "Could painting your roof white be the best defense against global warming? Some very important people think so. So Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman put that idea to the test." Kauffman explained: "In any given city, most rooftops are black. And that's the problem. The darker the surface, the more heat it retains...the lighter the surface, the better it is for the environment." Kauffman talked to Bill Nye, 'The Science Guy,' who further explained: "The building doesn't get as hot so you don't need to run the air conditioner nearly as long."

4. CNN Panel Overwhelmingly Argues in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage
CNN's Roland Martin on Wednesday's "No Bias, No Bull" program featured another panel which leaned overwhelmingly to the left, during a discussion about the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8. Four of the five participants -- CNN correspondent Erica Hill, Lisa Bloom of TruTv, New York Observer columnist Steve Kornacki, and the Reverend Byron Williams of Resurrection Community Church in Oakland, California all sided with advocates of same-sex "marriage."

5. New MRC Web Site, So New Online Location for CyberAlerts
The MRC launched a new Web site last Friday, so for a few days there will be a disconnect between the links in CyberAlerts for the online posting of each CyberAlert and where you can see screen shots and videos that illustrate each CyberAlert item. As always, you can click on the links to the NewsBusters posts to access the pictures and/or video. Individual CyberAlert items are now posted online under the "Daily BiasAlerts" heading. The CyberAlert e-mails will continue, but only the e-mail will be called "CyberAlert." Soon the CyberAlert will begin to deliver a compilation of the newest BiasAlerts posts, usually all those posted during the preceding 24 hours.


 

Nets Push 'Abortion Rights' Advocates'
Concerns on Sotomayor

     NBC and ABC on Thursday night framed stories around concerns of "abortion rights" advocates who want proof Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is on their side, but both cloaked their pieces around the proposition "both sides" of the debate are equally worried.

     With "Where Does She Stand?" as the on-screen heading, as if there is genuine belief Obama would have selected the judge without knowing she'd uphold Roe v Wade, NBC anchor Lester Holt set up a story through the prism of pro-abortion activists as he announced that White House "spokesman Robert Gibbs says the President did not specifically ask her about the right to privacy, a key issue in the abortion debate." Reporter Pete Williams proceeded to declare that Sotomayor's stand on abortion is "a mystery" as "both sides on the abortion issue agree...they're eager to know exactly what Sonia Sotomayor thinks about abortion and the constitution." Viewers then heard only from one side, an "abortion rights advocate."

     Charles Gibson, with "Choosing Sides" as the tag on the screen, teased the lead World News story: "Both sides of the abortion debate demand to know where the President's Supreme Court pick stands on the issue." Like Holt, ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg highlighted what concerns those on the left, how "Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama didn't discuss specific cases with Sotomayor, but was satisfied with her views on individual rights." After a clip of Gibbs' reassurance to pro-abortion supporters -- "He left very comfortable with her interpretation of the constitution being similar to that of his" -- Greenburg concluded by echoing the fears of those who consider Roe v Wade sacrosanct: "But Sotomayor's record on abortion has yet to bear that out."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Thursday's CBS Evening News, after a Wednesday story on how a political label cannot be applied to Sotomayer, didn't mention her. See: www.mrc.org

     Unlike ABC and NBC, the Fox News Channel delivered the concerns of those on the right, as Special Report anchor Bret Baier introduced a story on how Sotomayor's "paper trail has many Second Amendment-boosters worried." Reporter Shannon Bream explained: "The Supreme Court has ruled definitively that the Second Amendment does guarantee gun ownership rights to individuals, but some gun rights advocates worry that Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, may see things differently. Just months after the high court's June 2008 District of Columbia v Heller decision, Sotomayor signed on to one from the 2nd circuit ruling saying that states still maintain the right to regulate gun ownership..."

     The beginning of the story on the Thursday, May 28 NBC Nightly News:

     LESTER HOLT: The White House said today President Obama is very comfortable that Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor shares his interpretation of the constitution. But spokesman Robert Gibbs says the President did not specifically ask her about the right to privacy, a key issue in the abortion debate.

     PETE WILLIAMS: Ever since the Supreme Court decided Roe versus Wade 36 years ago, a nominee's view on abortion has been the dominant issue, but with this nominee, it's a mystery. Both sides on the abortion issue agree on this, they're eager to know exactly what Sonia Sotomayor thinks about abortion and the constitution.
     NANCY NORTHRUP, ABORTION RIGHTS ADVOCATE: It is important that we not have a guessing game when we're talking about a justice who's going to take a seat on a court that was 5-4 in its last abortion decisions.


     ABC's World News:

     JAN CRAWFORD GREENBERG: In this battle over Sotomayor's nomination, there appears to be unusual common ground on one of the nation's most divisive issues. On abortion, both sides in the contentious debate want to know more.

     NANCY NORTHRUP, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: We simply don't know where Judge Sotomayor is on core constitutional protections in Roe versus Wade.
     CHARMAINE YOEST, AMERICANS UNITED FOR LIFE: We need to know what her philosophy is and how she would approach a case if it came before her.
     GREENBURG: In her eleven years as a federal appeals court judge, Sotomayor has never ruled directly on abortion rights. Her cases touched only on side issues in the broader abortion debate. That leaves both sides looking for clues...
     Although her views on abortion are not known, some anti-abortion groups assume she would vote to uphold Roe versus Wade....
     Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama didn't discuss specific cases with Sotomayor, but was satisfied with her views on individual rights.
     GIBBS: He left very comfortable with her interpretation of the constitution being similar to that of his.
     GREENBURG: But Sotomayor's record on abortion has yet to bear that out.

 

NBC's Cowan Glows Over Obama Frosh Photos:
'Humble Beginnings!'

     NBC's Lee Cowan, on Thursday's Today show, giddily highlighted new found photos taken of Barack Obama when he was a freshman at Occidental College and even cooed at a shot of him sitting on an old Goodwill couch: "Humble beginnings!" Cowan interviewed Obama's old college classmate Lisa Jack who took the photographs, because she claimed she was told to get pictures of the then freshman because he "definitely had personality," and added: "He was cute. I mean look at him."

     [This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Thursday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The following Obama puff piece was aired on the May 28 Today show:

     NATALIE MORALES: Well the President, President Barack Obama is one of the most photographed people in the world but it's never before seen pictures of the President, before he was famous, that are turning heads these days. NBC's Lee Cowan has that story.

     [On screen headline: "'Barry The Freshman,' Early Photos Of Obama Revealed]

     LEE COWAN: It started with Barack Obama's first big win in Iowa.
     BARACK OBAMA: They said this day would never come.
     COWAN: That got Lisa Jack thinking about her former college classmate and a box in the basement.
     LISA JACK, PHOTOGRAPHER: I was like, "Oh my God!" I mean it's really one of those "ah-ha!" moments.
     COWAN: In a battered blue notebook, wrapped in wax paper, were 36 forgotten pictures of a freshman she was told she had to photograph because-
     JACK: He had, definitely had personality. And he was cute. I mean look at him. You gotta admit.
     COWAN: Barry, as she called the future president back in 1980, had just started at Occidental College. It's a two-year part of his life he rarely talks about, and one from which there are few pictures until Lisa found hers.
     JACK: We have essentially an entire roll of film that's good and usable. Which is, he was a natural.
     COWAN: She took the pictures as part of a class project in photography.
     JACK: We have the future President of the United States sitting on a wrinkled blanket, over a decrepit Goodwill couch. And it just doesn't get better than that, does it?
     COWAN: Humble beginnings.
     JACK: Humble beginnings!
     COWAN: There are light-hearted pictures.
     JACK POINTING AT PHOTO: I just, I just love that.
     COWAN: The Panama hat was his, by the way, along with the bomber jacket and a couple of cigarettes. But there were the pensive photos too.
     JACK: Look at those eyes. It shows strength to me. He had presence, even back then.
     COWAN: Lisa decided to keep the pictures in a safe deposit box, until the election was over.
     JACK: I didn't want in any way, shape or form to have an impact on an election, in any way.
     COWAN: Time magazine did use a few in their Person of the Year issue, but the rest have never been seen, until now. History from a class project. By the way Lisa got an "A." For "Today," Lee Cowan, NBC News, Los Angeles.

 

CBS Urges: Paint Roofs and Roads White
to Stop Global Warming

     On Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment on a new way to combat global warming: "Up next, if you could do one thing to fight global warming, would you do it? How about painting your roof white? We'll explain." Fill-in co-host Chris Wragge later introduced the report: "Could painting your roof white be the best defense against global warming? Some very important people think so. So Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman put that idea to the test." Kauffman explained: "In any given city, most rooftops are black. And that's the problem. The darker the surface, the more heat it retains...the lighter the surface, the better it is for the environment." Kauffman talked to Bill Nye, 'The Science Guy,' who further explained: "The building doesn't get as hot so you don't need to run the air conditioner nearly as long."

     [This item, by Kyle Drennen, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Later, Kauffman cited Obama Energy Secretary Steven Chu: "[he] says if all rooftops and roads in the world were made white it could combat global warming." A clip was played of Chu claiming: "That would be the equivalent as if you took off all the automobiles of the world for eleven years." Kauffman added: "Think of it this way, every year you would keep out of the atmosphere 2.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide or the emissions produced by 60 million cars. There'd be even more savings if roads and parking lots were not covered in black asphalt." Nye declared that asphalt was: "...absorbing more heat...squandering billions of tons of carbon dioxide every year."

     Wragge and fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez acknowledged the humor in calling for all roofs and roads in the world to be painted white. Rodriguez remarked: "I hear Benjamin Moore is thrilled with the idea. Thinks it's phenomenal. We should definitely do it." Wragge added: "Home Depot's like, €˜this is going to be great for us!'"

     Here is the full transcript of the segment:

     7:10AM TEASE:
     CHRIS WRAGGE: Plus, we're going to tell you why white may be the new green when it comes to the color of your roof.

     7:19AM TEASE:
     JULIE CHEN: Up next, if you could do one thing to fight global warming, would you do it? How about painting your roof white? We'll explain.

     7:22AM SEGMENT:
     CHRIS WRAGGE: Could painting your roof white be the best defense against global warming? Some very important people think so. So Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman put that idea to the test.
     HATTIE KAUFFMAN: In any given city, most rooftops are black. And that's the problem. The darker the surface, the more heat it retains. So here we are, on the roof of CBS Television City. Bill Nye, 'The Science Guy,' used a meter to demonstrate the lighter the surface, the better it is for the environment.
     BILL NYE: This goes up nearly to 50 over this silver surface.
     KAUFFMAN: Okay.
     NYE: Then if we -- if we look at the other side of this-
     KAUFFMAN: Black, which many rooftops are.
     NYE: And streets, asphalt, then it goes down below 5.
     KAUFFMAN: Whoa. Why does that matter?
     NYE: The building doesn't get as hot so you don't need to run the air conditioner nearly as long. So if you do that-
     KAUFFMAN: If it's white.
     NYE: -everywhere. If it's light.
     KAUFFMAN: Here's a shining example, the white-painted villages in Greece. Turns out they were ahead of their time. Energy Secretary Steven Chu says if all rooftops and roads in the world were made white it could combat global warming.
     STEVEN CHU: That would be the equivalent as if you took off all the automobiles of the world for eleven years.
     KAUFFMAN: Think of it this way, every year you would keep out of the atmosphere 2.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide or the emissions produced by 60 million cars. There'd be even more savings if roads and parking lots were not covered in black asphalt.
     NYE: So the same needle says just 2 1/2.
     KAUFFMAN: Which means what?
     NYE: Which means it's absorbing more heat, keeping the city warmer. It's squandering billions of tons of carbon dioxide every year.
     KAUFFMAN: Hattie Kauffman, CBS News, Los Angeles.
     WRAGGE: In theory, sounds like a great idea.
     MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Yeah.
     WRAGGE: You need a lot of white paint.
     RODRIGUEZ: I hear Benjamin Moore is thrilled with the idea. Thinks it's phenomenal. We should definitely do it.
     WRAGGE: Home Depot's like, €˜this is going to be great for us!'
     RODRIGUEZ: I know.

 

CNN Panel Overwhelmingly Argues in Favor
of Same-Sex Marriage

     CNN's Roland Martin on Wednesday's "No Bias, No Bull" program featured another panel which leaned overwhelmingly to the left, during a discussion about the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8. Four of the five participants -- CNN correspondent Erica Hill, Lisa Bloom of TruTv, New York Observer columnist Steve Kornacki, and the Reverend Byron Williams of Resurrection Community Church in Oakland, California all sided with advocates of same-sex "marriage."

     Rev. Williams, who is affiliated with the liberal People for the American Way, argued that the decision "seems to go against our democratic values." Hill asked the pastor, "Should that decision on marriage be left up to different religions, different faiths to make, and leave this to be more of a civil matter? And if that's the case, why should God enter it at all?" Kornacki argued that there was an "inevitability" to the legalization of same-sex "marriage," explaining that "you've got four states legalizing it. You've got people under 35 supporting it overwhelmingly. I mean, isn't this just really a question of time, and we shouldn't be that exercised about it?" Bloom thought that it was a "huge civil rights issue, and this is the first court ruling that I'm aware of that says that a majority vote -- a bare majority vote, can take away the constitutional rights of a protected minority group."

     [This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     As the segment began, the network played a clip from "Love is a Battlefield" by '80s pop star Pat Benatar. Martin, who is in his last week as anchor of the program, introduced his media colleagues on the panel, and gave a brief bio of Reverend Williams. The anchor did refreshingly include how the pastor is "a member of a group called African-American Ministers in Action, which is a product of the liberal-leaning organization People for the American Way." Before going to the rest of the panel, he asked correspondent Jessica Yellin for an update on the litigation involving Proposition 8. He then turned to Rev. Williams and asked, "Prop 8 passed by a majority, in part, because of support from some minority groups, especially African-American [unintelligible] in California. Do you think there's a divide between the gay community and other minority groups?"

     The pastor minimized any divide between the two groups: "Prop 8 was defeated in practically every county in California except for those on the coast. So there's no large black population in the inland valley per, so I think it's overstated. With that said, I would also say that homophobia definitely exists within the black church. There's a lot of work -- like the group I'm working with, People for the American Way -- that we have to do to sort of debunk that, so to change some of those existing feelings."

     Hill then posed her "should God enter it at all" question to Rev. Williams, who replied, "I think you make a great point...we're talking about civil rights. So we're not talking about a religious issue. And so then, we're talking -- if we're talking about civil rights, now we have to go back to the equal protection under the law clause, which I think clearly this denies....It seems to go against our democratic values." Kornacki subsequently followed up by asking, among other things, "In the big picture, isn't there sort of inevitability to all of this?"

     As you might expect, the pastor agreed: "Oh, I think you're absolutely right. The trajectory, regardless of what side of the issue you're on, is definitely headed toward full marriage equality for [the] gay, lesbian, transgender community."

     The segment concluded with Bloom voicing her opinion on the issue: "I think it's a huge civil rights issue, and this is the first court ruling that I'm aware of that says that a majority vote -- a bare majority vote, can take away the constitutional rights of a protected minority group. You know, Brown versus Board of Education was very unpopular at the time. It wasn't up for a majority vote, and not -- neither have any of the civil rights of American minorities ever been up for a popular vote. That's the beauty of our constitutional system."

     The full transcript of the segment, which began 43 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of Wednesday's "No Bias, No Bull" program:

     ROLAND MARTIN: The California Supreme Court may have upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriage, but that's certainly not the end of the story. Today, supporters of gay marriage are fighting back with a new lawsuit and talk of going back to the voters. But could a divide between the gay community and other minority groups doom the effort? Erica [Hill], Jessica [Yellin], Lisa [Bloom], and Steve [Kornacki of The New York Observer] are here, along with Reverend Byron Williams, pastor of Resurrection Community Church in Oakland [California] -- in Oakland. Reverend Williams is a member of a group called African-American Ministers in Action, which is a product of the liberal-leaning organization People for the American Way.
     All right. Jessica, some new developments here?
     YELLIN: Yeah. Quickly, just the news today is that first of all, this effort -- the ruling has fired up supporters of gay marriage, who have started a massive fundraising effort to get gay marriage legalized on the 2010 ballot -- so on the political front, another vote. But then in the courts today, a very odd couple got behind the push to get judges to overturn the recent ruling on Prop 8. Lawyers who argued on the opposite sides of the 2000 Bush-Gore recount -- they've teamed up to challenge the California ruling. So David Boies, who argued for Al Gore, and Ted Olsen, who was a Bush attorney, say they're joining forces to show that gay marriage is a bipartisan issue. They think the courts made a wrong decision yesterday.
     LISA BLOOM: You got to love that. (laughs)
     YELLIN: It's an odd couple.
     BLOOM: You just do. Just because lawyers are on the opposite side of the case don't [sic] mean that they hate each other.
     MARTIN: All right -- good point. All right. Now Byron, Prop 8 passed by a majority, in part, because of support from some minority groups, especially African-American [unintelligible] in California. Do you think there's a divide between the gay community and other minority groups?
     REVEREND WILLIAMS: Well, first of all, the first thing I would say is that the attention given to the African-American community's vote in Prop 8, I think, is a little overstated. African-Americans made up less than 10% of the -- of the voting electorate in the last election. Prop 8 was defeated in practically every county in California except for those on the coast. So there's no large black population in the inland valley per, so I think it's overstated. With that said, I would also say that homophobia definitely exists within the black church. There's a lot of work -- like the group I'm working with, People for the American Way -- that we have to do to sort of debunk that, so to change some of those existing feelings.
     MARTIN: And, of course, Reverend Williams, part of that was because of initial report said that 70% of African-Americans voted against [it]. But later, the folks came back and said, no, about 58%. So that's probably one of the reasons why that came out there. Erica?
     ERICA HILL: Well, just -- just in terms of religion, because there's been so much talk about the role of religion in the -- in the votes here, and how it played out with Proposition 8. Should this be -- you're a pastor, but should religion really come into play here, or should that decision on marriage be left up to different religions, different faiths to make, and leave this to be more of a civil matter? And if that's the case, why should God enter it at all?
     WILLIAMS: Well, I think you -- I think you make a great point, because in addition to being a pastor -- I still believe that I'm the only syndicated columnist in the country -- and I've been writing about this for a number of years, and I don't think -- this is not -- it's a civil -- we're talking about civil rights. So we're not talking about a religious issue. And so then, we're talking -- if we're talking about civil rights, now we have to go back to the equal protection under the law clause, which I think clearly this denies. In California right now, as a result of the court's ruling, we have three class distinctions of people. We have one group who can get married, get divorced, and get remarried -- another group who can get married, get divorced, and cannot remarry -- then we got another group who can't do either one of those things. So I don't see how you can -- how the state can hold equal protection under the law, and these conflicting results at the same time. It seems to go against our democratic values.
     STEVE KORNACKI: Reverend Williams, let me tell you -- I've been hearing from a lot of gay marriage supporters in the last couple days, especially in the wake of the California ruling yesterday -- a lot of just dismay and a lot of, you know, just overheated rhetoric about how, you know, awful this is. But in the big picture, isn't there sort of inevitability to all of this? I mean, there was a similar ballot measure in California -- what, eight years ago? And it passed with 64%. Now, you're down to 52%. Now, you've got four states legalizing it. You've got people under 35 supporting it overwhelmingly. I mean, isn't this just really a question of time, and we shouldn't be that exercised about it?
     WILLIAMS: Oh, I think you're absolutely right. The trajectory, regardless of what side of the issue you're on, is definitely headed toward full marriage equality for [the] gay, lesbian, transgender community. That's the direction, and I've seen polling, even recently, that has a percentage of people that -- has the majority favoring same-sex marriage now. So, this is inevitable. It is --
     YELLIN: Wait -- let me interrupt for a minute and ask you, Lisa, because you're a civil rights attorney in New York and California. What do you make of this decision? Do you think this is a civil rights issue?
     BLOOM: I think it's a huge civil rights issue, and this is the first court ruling that I'm aware of that says that a majority vote -- a bare majority vote, can take away the constitutional rights of a protected minority group. You know, Brown versus Board of Education was very unpopular at the time. It wasn't up for a majority vote, and not -- neither have any of the civil rights of American minorities ever been up for a popular vote. That's the beauty of our constitutional system. So this is -- that's why it doesn't surprise me that Ted Olson and David Boies have joined together now to make a federal civil rights case out of it.
     MARTIN: All right -- the panel, the whole table- [unintelligible]. Reverend Williams, we certainly appreciate it. Thank you very much for joining us.
     WILLIAMS: Thank you.

 

New MRC Web Site, So New Online Location
for CyberAlerts

     The MRC launched a new Web site last Friday, so for a few days there will be a disconnect between the links in CyberAlerts for the online posting of each CyberAlert and where you can see screen shots and videos that illustrate each CyberAlert item. As always, you can click on the links to the NewsBusters posts to access the pictures and/or video.

     Individual CyberAlert items are now posted online under the "Daily BiasAlerts" heading. The CyberAlert e-mails will continue, but only the e-mail will be called "CyberAlert." Soon the CyberAlert will begin to deliver a compilation of the newest BiasAlerts posts, usually all those posted during the preceding 24 hours.

     The HTML version of the "new" CyberAlert will feature all the content previously available only online: Pictures/screen shots, images which will link you directly to online video playback, and embedded links. Don't worry, we will continue to have a plain text version sans anything but the text. Whichever version you now receive is the one you will continue to receive.

     To read online any of the items in today's CyberAlert, go to the "BiasAlert" page on our new site which is populated with the latest posts: www.mrc.org

     And to check out the new Media Research Center Web site: www.mrc.org

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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