Yesterday evening, George Neumayr, executive editor of The American Spectator, was an invited guest on PBS’s NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, in a segment entitled “Public Broadcasting Under Fire.” Below we include a sampling of the many letters we received after his appearance:
Your whole organization is a sorry pile of manure in the first place but that crap that Neumayr was spreading on tonight’s “NewsHour” was an embarrassment even for a sorry bunch like you.
Christ on a Ritz, could that sorry bastard possibly be the best you could offer to state your warped and perverted view of PBS. Bill Moyers this, and Bill Moyers that … yadda yadda yadda, “Postcards From Buster” blah blah blah. Your whole organization put together isn’t fit to lick Bill Moyers ass. It just shows how terrific Mr. Moyers actually is when he can screw your whole outfit around so easily by just broadcasting the truth. As he said, it’s the one thing that that makes people like you run for cover like vampires from sunlight.
If there’s one thing that I could fault the people at PBS for, it would be giving a forum to ass—es like Neumayr. Of course when he makes an utter fool of himself on public TV like he did tonight, it just showcases what a screaming bunch of lunatics make up outfits like Spectator and Regnery.
— John Pitt
To my knowledge I have not ever seen your publication. If this fellow from your publication, Neumayr, who was on The Newshour (PBS) tonight, is anyways representative of the quality of your publication, you should be ashamed to be purveyors of such non-factual, non-responsive, non-sense about PBS, NPR and CPB. To protect yourselves, I suggest that you fire Neumayr tonight and make a statement to the American people that he is not representative of your organization. His interview with Geoffrey Brown will undoubtedly be played repeatedly to illustrate how low journalistic/media opinion was on the Right in the 2nd Bush administration.
So sad to see this.
— Mike Rashotte
I just watched your appearance on PBS, during which you lambasted the “liberal bias” of PBS. As countless right-wing Republicans before you, you just hammer away at a nonexistent liberal bias in the media. Do you ever watch CNN? Fox? ABC, CBS, MSNBC, NBC, etc? All of them dominated by Right-Wingers. All of them afraid to have an opinion that differs from the powers that be, namely the fascist administration of George W. Bush.
Enough. ENOUGH! WE ARED NOT TAKING IT ANYMORE! We have had enough lies, deceptions, and derisions from the likes of you, Mr. O’Reilly, Bill Novak and the rest of your unpalatable ilk.
Before I watched you spout your vindictive, I did not really care if PBS survived; it has pandered too much to the conservatives lately; but you just managed to make me an activist to keep CPB viable.
— Sylvia Arcieri
I just finished listening to you on the Newshour’s segment on the CPB with Jeffery Brown.
Sir, you were completely unprepared. Other then mentioning Bill Moyers 5 times — even though after three times Mr. Reed from KCPT noted that Moyers is retired from PBS, you just went on about the liberal bias. What’s up with that?
You did not assert a “liberal” bias on Sesame Street (which my kids grew up on), or Barney, or Nova or Mystery, or Washington Week in Review, or Front Line or any other show.
I occasionally read the Spectator, and I am unable to accept that a journalist and editor of a magazine of that quality can be so unencumbered by the facts. That is not how your magazine works, at least from how I read it.
Moreover, Bill Buckley’s show was on at 1:00 p.m. on Sundays. Actually, his show was one I watched religiously when I emigrated from Israel in 1974. The show was not on at Midnight, as you opined. Among Mr. Buckley’s great qualities was his erudition, knowledge of the subject matter and ability to tear an argument apart was magical. You might consider re-watching some of his shows. I watched his show from September 1974 through at least 1996, in New York City, Austin, New Orleans and now Philadelphia, PA.
I am a conservative and like you live on the “liberal east coast”. But, I have noted throughout my life that when I open my mouth and am not indifferent to facts, I am more effective. Your argument would have more force and validity if you too would follow that creed.
— Itzchak E. Kornfeld
If Geo. Neumayr thinks PBS is liberal biased I would have to include him with the deluded zealots that have taken over our media with propaganda. You may think Bush is popular but that is propaganda also. PBS is the only place we can get news that isn’t zealot biased. I resent being labeled as liberal because I don’t agree with the far right. It’s obvious Geo. Neumayr has jumped on the “not too intelligent bandwagon” of calling everyone that doesn’t have his view as being liberal. Calling Bill Moyers liberal is totally asinine. He gave us the rest of the story, unbiased, intelligent and totally American. We need more like him.
— Joy Diamond
We watch PBS. We appreciate the fine arts: ballet, opera, symphony, classical and American theatre as well as documentaries on historic subjects and current events.
Your publication, funded by Richard Mellon Scaife, is pure propaganda for the Right. You have your followers and you are entitled to them.
PBS has its viewers and they are entitled to them. We dislike your self-serving motives in suggesting that our tax money ought not be allocated to PBS, you do not speak for the American people anymore than the ultra conservatives do.
If the conservative radio and TV programs were not filled with name-calling and negative rhetoric, we might be inclined to tune in and listen. You might believe you are gaining listeners. It might be a short-term-gain. But, what are you creating? What kind of a society are you fostering? It is certainly not the America most of us wish to live in.
We want PBS fully funded with our tax money. We do not need a Richard Mellon Scaife-funded-publication and its editor-in-chief determining what should be produced and what we ought to view.
If there were more Bill Moyers in the world, we would not be in the mess we find ourselves in — in Iraq. We support to the hilt our U.S. Troops. We do not support the goals and strategies of this administration. Nor do we support its contrived reasons for invading Iraq.
We now learn all we needed to get Saddam Hussein was a bag of Doritos. Imagine that, one of the most “dangerous tyrants” in the world being monitored by two young National Guard men (boys) who were never outside of their home state of Pennsylvania. All we needed was a bag of Doritos to get Saddam out of his spider hole. No, we had to lose 1,717 U.S. Soldiers, 35,060 U.S. wounded soldiers and 112,000 killed Iraqi people. What a shame. What a tragedy.
We are more than tired of the hate-filled Conservative/Republican talking points used over and over by talking heads and hosts on Murdoch-owned-stations and by Roger Ailes’ puppets.
You have overstepped the bounds of free speech this time. If you do not agree with a topic, you want to kill the messenger as the Greeks did centuries ago.
I am amazed to learn that you were a philosophy major. What has happened to your keen mind? How could you permit it to be poisoned by extreme points of view with a goal of silencing differing opinions based on fact — not contrived data as yours is. Remember, this is America not Iraq or Saudi Arabia!
You have some gall in attempting to censor the public airwaves at a time when this administration is attempting to foster democracy around the world. What a sad, sad commentary on the true motives of this administration and its flacks.
We know your game plan. We can tell you if you succeed, it will be reversed as quickly as you attempt to implement it. Along with the reversal of your plan, you will see that we will be voting out of office, members of Congress who voted to cut PBS funding. Wait and see.
We would prefer, night-after-night to view the arts and not your American Spectator propaganda.
We are not only dismayed at your actions and words on PBS tonight, we are disgusted at what you are attempting to do — pretending to speak for our tax dollars while condemning the public airwaves and regulating them so they spew only your conservative rhetoric.
Please review your PBS performance tonight. You will see that you failed miserably in your attempt to win viewers to your point of view.
Wait and see. Time will tell. Enough said!
Just finished watching NPTV tonight and couldn’t help admire how your CPB opposite was able to make you look so foolish. You continued to make allusion to Bill Moyer as if he were still working for public TV, despite being corrected more than once. Hard of hearing, I’ll bet, eh? And the way your opponent used the Republican sponsored poll to show that your assertion concerning the liberal bias was beautiful. I’m a middle of road independent, so I enjoy watching both conservative and liberals make gaffs. Surely the conservatives have a better spokesman than you to toe their line.
— George Williams
Only an ideologue imbecile would accuse, as your spokes-ass—e did on PBS today, a program director of a Kansas City PBS channel of being a coastal elite. It was fascinating to watch your rep use talking points while his more mentally agile opponent ripped him apart. Liberal, liberal, liberal…maybe that s–t will stick to the wall, even if studies show the majority of Americans don’t find a bias.
By the way, I agree with the PBS director– homosexuality isn’t a liberal-conservative issue. Mary Cheney and the Log-Cabin Republicans could’ve told you cheese dicks that (and by the way, Dick Cheney’s use of F— has liberated me from restraining my vitriol in these circumstances, about the only thing that lying, war/death-profiteering canker’s ever done for the rest of us).
And all the while the Lehrer reporter treated you with respect and tolerance…
By the way, I was for civil rights laws and support freedom of speech and religion, believe a 40-hour work week and child labor laws to be good things. All these of course are liberal ideas, opposed by conservatives — unlike slavery, apartheid, Jim Crow, lynching etc.
I know you’d like a Goebbels-like organization to spout your imbecilic, puerile and foul lies, perhaps modern Triumph of the Will-like documentaries to propagandize the public and inspire your base (and possibly your sexual fantasies). That’s not, of course, what PBS is for.
I’m not happy with PBS as I think it lets you people off too lightly when it should expose you as the elitist parasitic vermin you are. But I’m an adult and realize that PBS doesn’t belong to me. Being an adult means realizing that you can’t, indeed shouldn’t always get your way — which is why the world finds W and Cheney so pathetically juvenile.
But I’ve also realized that this is a war and that you will use any weapon at your disposal to win and that unfortunately people like us might have to do the same. It seems a patriotic duty to rescue this country from the hands of fascists.
So, you’re on the radar.
— Francis J. Cratil
I just saw George Neumayr on the PBS program, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer. I take great issue with Mr. Neumayr’s pompous attitude and statements. As he leaned back in his chair, smirking, I found myself wanting to tell him, “It’s time to wake up, pal. Your Republicanism is getting in the way of common sense. George Bush and his cronies are pushing too far. You want to see some backlash? You’ll see it, but instead of striking PBS, it will strike smug conservatives like you. The ‘will of the people’ is not as vengeful as yours.”
My family and I watch and listen to PBS and NPR. We are happy to see our tax dollars spent on public airways. Above and beyond that, we subscribe to local stations. The presence of a saner (and more balanced) view is needed in this country. PBS and NPR make that available to us! It is deeply concerning that Republicans feel so compelled to try to influence and infiltrate public broadcasting. What are they frightened of?
— Suzanne McKinley
I found your argument on the News Hour today fascinating. People who do not like liberal points of view should not have to have their tax dollars spent on them. Would you also agree that those of us who oppose the U.S. occupation of Iraq — and who now constitute a majority of the American people — should not have to have our tax dollar spent on that debacle?
— Hal Gelb
Dear Mr. Neumayr — I had never heard of you, but because I watch the PBS News Hour every night, I caught you there this eve. Good visibility!
You seemed angry, even paranoid. Your statements were all but devoid of
any facts. Plenty of opinions, no facts. Typical of most ‘journalism’ today.
Here’s a few hints: Bill Moyers is retired. FACT: Not on TV anymore. He’s not a threat.
Pres. Bush is no longer a “popular” president. FACT: His national numbers are about 47% approval and DROPPING like a lead balloon, as any liar’s tenure should aptly reflect.
FACT: Tomlinson’s OWN survey reflected that nearly 80% of Americans don’t have a problem with “bias” on PBS or NPR. Now, THAT’s popular.
It’s no wonder I never liked your magazine. With an editor like you, how could anybody trust what they are reading?
With all DUE respect,
— Larry Hoppen
Just watched your Mr. Neumayr on PBS…if he hates it so much and says no one watches it, why does he go on it?
Please tell him that he needs to have his chin tucked. It’s fat and hangs over his collar. He could also benefit from bigger lips. His oral cavity looks more like a hole than a mouth….
Given those physical liabilities, nothing is more disgusting than this man’s brain, heart and most importantly his soul — does he have one? What the hell is wrong with people — don’t you think it is time to grow up, mature, learn to share?
You sicken me.
— Pam Futerer
I need your help on this one. I am an American who has lived overseas for 15 years of my life including in Vietnam during the war, and I have traveled through Afghanistan and Iran before the al Qaeda was even known. I have a very well informed world perspective and I am at a loss to understand some “conservative” view points, in particular some of the things you said on PBS tonight. I didn’t think you had an adequate answer to the point about William Buckley NOT being attacked in the way Mr. Moyers has been recently. As far as I’m concerned , Bill Moyers is one of the most intelligent journalists in this country today and has more integrity than I see in most of main stream media. As a citizen I am outraged by how the American media has treated George Bush so lightly. I believe strongly in moral values and the fact that so many innocent people have been killed in Iraq based on lies that you and your type promulgate, disgusts me. Wake up — you are living in a dream world. We need to protect the likes of Bill Moyers because he stands for truth against self-righteous , uninformed false patriots like you and your American Spectator.
— Joan R. Hasselbach
I have just heard this George Neumayr person attacking PBS and asking why the American people would want to be giving millions of dollars to such a “liberal-biased” broadcast channel. First, PBS is not biased to the left. In fact, I get really annoyed at how the Lehrer Hour has mostly conservative views. Bill Moyers, when he was on, had conservatives often. What is maddening to people like Neumayr is that Mr. Moyers sometimes, while telling the truth, had to present what would looked like criticism to Neumayr of some conservative figures such as GW Bush. I am angered by the fact that since Moyers is gone, NOW, my top favorite program has been cut to a lousy 20 minutes. Regarding whether Americans should be paying for having PBS on the air, you see, a lot of people like me cannot afford to buy cable TV. So I rely on PBS for the only quality programming affordable to me. It seems to me that the neocons should be satisfied with what they’ve got since they’ve got it all — domination of the media, control of the 3 branches of government, and corporations at their beck and call. Now they want to take away the little smidgeon allowed to the rest of us — quality TV programming on PBS.
— Janice Robin
Great job on a very coy and disrespectful performance on The News Hour tonight. perhaps a little more research before you complain about such nonsense as a lesbian couple on a children’s show. Oh, that’s right, NOT everybody in America is equal, how soon us uneducated liberals forget that conservatives try to make it difficult for total equality to exist. Well, ta-ta.
— Evan Gleason
You should discourage Mr. Neumayr from seeking the camera — he just comes across as the typical twitchy repressed gay Catholic weirdo. Basically, he’s a repulsive pile of pixels on our digital screens. The fact that the cartoon didn’t show the Klan lynching the queer mommies clearly has his goat — and judging by some of the confessions on talk shows recently, conservatives are likely to be jealous of their farm animals.
Just a helpful hint.
— William Smith
I’m watching you on PBS right now & you seem clueless — do you not understand that ‘liberal” is not to thinking people a bad word? Rather, it is political descriptor for people who tend to be slightly left of center. Plenty of Americans would like to see really balanced reporting — reporting that shows the real spectrum of opinion in the country. George Bush is not conservative, but rather right revolutionary, in the sense of changing the political discourse in this country AND COMPLETELY BREAKING the budget. So, why don’t you argue for PBS to be really balanced and include voices that are as far left as the Bush administration is to the right?
And, why should I have to pick up the tab for the war in Iraq, which is costing billions of dollars, which I consider illegal and immoral, if you’re concerned about other people picking up the tab for PBS?
— Nancy MW Dosanjh
Just saw your smug little face on PBS — stick it in your [bleep].
— Lane Webb
Doesn’t Mr. Neumayr realize the only good conservative is a dead conservative?
— Andrew Breska
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Insult in Jury:
The very sad part of this is there will be plenty of mothers that will be throwing their sons at Michael. Maybe some of them should be charged with abuse, they are as guilty as he is.
— Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas
Mr. Homnick suggests a horrifyingly subjective standard of justice. If a policeman or prosecutor somehow intuitively “knows” that the suspect is guilty of something, it’s grounds for official intimidation. Never mind that the suspect’s life may be ruined.
I’ll grant that Michael Jackson is weird and even creepy. I’m no fan of his effect on our culture. Still, he was acquitted by a jury that in no sense could be considered the equivalent of the OJ jury. From my own consideration of the testimony in the news, I couldn’t have voted for his conviction, and I doubt that Mr. Homnick found the allegations against him any more abhorrent than I do.
How many rape victims have bravely faced “sneering” defense lawyers and positively identified their attackers only to later find that DNA evidence proved them mistaken? Should the freed defendants be subjected to official intimidation later? After all, many convicted rapists have been guilty of other crimes, and even more of them, perhaps, just aren’t very nice fellows. Under some proposals, they’d all be eligible to vote for Hilary in the next election.
In a nation which now allows the police to stop any motorist for disregarding the nanny state injunction to wear a seat belt, who is truly innocent? Given the propensity of the courts to believe that thousands upon thousands of convicts were so foolish as to leave their instruments of crime or bags of cocaine “in plain view” in their cars when subjected to a routine traffic stop, I have to suspect that we either have incredibly stupid criminals running around, or that the police are already deeply engaged in efforts to remove from our midst persons about whom they just have a bad feeling.
How many Jews gave rise to bad feelings among the SA in Nazi Germany? How many of them survived to carry on their depredations after the war? How many blacks and civil rights workers gave rise to bad feelings among southern sheriffs in the south before a murder of civil rights workers gave momentum to the federal civil rights movement?
I’d be willing to bet that the killers of those workers gave rise to good and happy feelings among many southern sheriffs of the time. Could that have anything to do with the fact that it’s taken over forty years to bring one of the alleged killers to trial? Could those sheriffs’ bad feelings towards the victims, in the absence of any identifiable crimes by them, have had anything to do with their ambush and murder by good old boys in an uproar over the assault on their own feelings and beliefs?
Mr. Homnick’s essay is appalling. For years I’ve labored under the notion that conservativism is based upon a respect for the rule of law, whether or not we always agree with the results of its application. The endorsement of a subjective standard for the deployment of official oppression is so contrary to our founding principles as to shock the conscience, or, at least mine.
To find such tripe published and implicitly endorsed by TAS is even worse. It’s an everyday event for the left to level the charge of fascism against conservatives and to refer to us as Nazis. In this case, they are well justified.
Conservatives often ridicule the left for its reliance on “feelings” to justify its actions and beliefs. Conservatives also malign the left for tearing down the rule of law. Mr. Homnick is guilty, in my opinion, of both of these faults. He has himself all in a lather because of the Jackson verdict, with which he disagrees. In response, he goes over to the dark side.
Reasonable people can disagree about the verdict. I suggest that his proposal to remedy the situation is out of bounds, at least for such principled conservatives as generally populate your site.
— Mark Fallert
Jay D. Homnick replies:
No one is advocating the abuse of the justice system as a tool for guilty-until-proven-innocent presumption by prosecutors. Still, just as a jury of amateurs can render an objective judgment, so can an office full of highly intelligent prosecuting attorneys.
Ironically, I trust a prosecutor’s judgment less on what he takes to trial, which is often based on his assessment of what twelve amateurs would think, than when he reaches an objective clarity in his heart that he has clear evidence of guilt that will not fly in court.
CHOICE WITHOUT GUIDANCE
Re: James Bowman’s My Summer:
James Bowman highlights one possible source of characteristics in the direction of borderline personality: today’s infinity of choices without guidance. Robert Jay Lifton highlighted the Protean Humans produced in places like Communist China (and the Soviet Union) where no one really believed in Communism anymore but had to pretend to, and where people could be like Chauncey Gardiner and at least seem to take on and put off the qualities of the people in whose presence they were. Salman Rushdie seems to be an exemplar of this uncoalesced personality often found in expatriates. Paul Tillich’s home between East and West, Communism and capitalism was said by one biography to have given him a kind of “on the borders” personality. Europeans, especially the French, who have renounced their Christian roots and any public role for Christianity, now find themselves torn between wanting a public square naked of religion (cf. Neuhaus) and wanting to show a tolerance for public Muslim presence even if in one way it goes against their professed secularism and even if adopting that course might destroy them. The dilemmas may be caused by what Pope Benedict XVI called moral relativism or Lifton might call moral Proteanism. A different way of dealing with the unhinged experience is to recognize it as a religious experience (George Worgul) inviting one to new integrations, as expatriate Pawel Pawlikowski may be doing.
— R.L.A. Schaefer
Re: Jed Babbin’s Enemy of the State:
Will the Republican Senate ever condemn Senator Richard Durbin for his verbal excrement regarding Gitmo? From what I have heard the past few days, they can’t seem to get past the disclaimers (“Senator Durbin is a friend of mine…, the Senator is a fine man…, I have worked with Senator Durbin closely before…”), to criticize him — let alone condemn him. The senators, who ran as members of the Republican Party, get to Washington and become members of what should be called the Senator Club. This club seems to require that members be as bland and as milquetoast as possible. No strong language or beliefs are allowed. Quaint decorum in action and speech are to be maintained at all costs – on and off the floor. The opposition needs to be regarded as “colleagues”. The problem is the Republican senators are the only members of this genteel club. The Democrat senators don’t belong to this club or even want to join. They are free to criticize in over-the-top language, go for the jugular, and gouge out the eyes of their opponents. Both the press and the Senate Republicans seem to like this arrangement. The rest of us are left to watch and grind our teeth. Just once in a while, the Republican rank and file would like a little red meat from our senators. Yet, all we are served is watery cream of wheat. It’s all so disheartening and demoralizing.
— D.C. Norman
Durham, North Carolina
We cannot know yet whether Senator Durbin will be held accountable by his fellow politicians for his outrageous comments likening and accusing American Military forces of behaving like Nazis and other mass murderers. But selected military people with legal standing, their relatives and other veterans could file a lawsuit against Senator Durbin for defamation and compensation for damages and pain and suffering. While politicians generally have immunity from prosecution while speaking in their political venue, Senator Durbin apparently released his remarks to the Congressional Record and other public media outlets for republication. And he may have repeated his remarks in other public venues. Sometimes it is necessary that folks act on their own. Reliance on politicians seldom brings a satisfactory response.
— Howard Lohmuller
I believe that we should close the detention facility at Guantanamo immediately, because it never should have been opened, nor needed in the first place. Recently Dr. Thomas Sowell noted that, during WW II, when we captured Germans, (Nazis) fighting against us who were not wearing uniforms, fighting from prohibited places (hospitals, schools, etc.,) and not following the provisions of the Geneva Convention nor the Laws of Land Warfare, we executed them on the spot. In fact, Dr. Sowell stated that we filmed these legal summary executions. We should have done the same in Afghanistan and Iraq. That we did not do so in the past does not mean that we cannot start now.
The enemy combatants detained, in conditions that are luxurious compared to the countries from which they came, do not abide by the Geneva Convention, nor the Laws of Land Warfare, or any laws whatsoever. Thus, the provisions of those documents do not apply to them. Furthermore, they have absolutely no rights under the Constitution of the United States, none at all. They don’t have a right to lawyers, trials, nor anything but execution.
Thus I propose that we execute those terrorist murderers forthwith, and send film of the executions to Al Jazeera, to ensure that as many terrorist murderers as possible understand exactly what will happen to them if they are captured in the future. No free Korans, no free prayer rugs, no free prayer oil (!!???), no three meals a day that follow Islamic dietary laws, just a free bullet through the head. That might dampen the zeal of a lot of them.
Do you think my plan would be acceptable to Dickie Durbin, that loathsome little twerp Jimmy Carter, or any of the other America haters of the Democratic Party? After all, the facility at Guantanamo would be out of business, would it not? That should also please the likes of such ego-driven fools such as Little Johnny McCain.
Oh, and don’t tell me that by doing this we would put our troops in more peril. We already know what the terrorist murderers we have to eliminate, totally, do with people they capture, which includes sawing off their heads. They target non-combatants, including their own countrymen and co-religionists, they fly plane into buildings killing thousands of innocent civilians, so don’t tell me that adopting a policy of executing them would make them behave any worse, they can’t.
— W. B. Heffernan, Jr.
CLOSE THE SENATE
Re: Michael Tobias’s letter (under “Done Deal”) in Reader Mail’s Victory at Home and Sea:
Michael Tobias of Florida is once again right on with his insightful comments as to the deleterious effects Durbin, Kennedy, Reid, et al., are having on the global war on terrorism. They piously exonerate themselves from the negative effects of their “rants,” as the ripples of their venom spread worldwide. They are so lost in their “club senate” (another great term from your other readers) echo chamber, that just hearing themselves talk is justification alone for their irresponsible comments. If their comments have the added benefit of invigorating their base, so much the better. But don’t ever point out the cause and effect of their words worldwide. Oh no, that’s right wing personal destruction stuff. But this inanity is not just limited to the far left democrats. Take McCain’s recent tepid and cautious comments about Durbin on Meet the Press last Sunday. McCain’s first comment was that IF an apology was necessary it was owed to the SENATE. Ah, excuse me senator, I don’t mean to step on your presidential ambitions, but don’t you think the apology is owed to our troops and the American people? What egos these people have! What self-absorption! We need more than term limits to put an end to this senate circus. Forget closing Gitmo, close the Senate.
— A. DiPentima
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