Speaking of emotionalism and global warming…use of 'Extreme weather' as an emotional motivator is up nearly 1000 percent

Our previous story showcased a study that linked emotionalism and global warming activism. And so it goes with Network News, using the “if it bleeds it leads” strategy to make people afraid of the weather.

Network Coverage Of ‘Extreme Weather’ Up Nearly 1,000 Percent

Sean Long, Media Research Centerscreen-shot-2010-10-23-at-3-06-20-pm[1]

Ten years ago ABC, CBS and NBC barely used the phrase, now they go to extremes despite scientific disagreement.

A “bizarre cold snap” is hitting the U.S. and the media have already begun to draw comparisons to the polar vortex. It is only a matter of time before the networks resume panic over “extreme weather.”

Use of the phrase “extreme weather” in news stories has exploded in recent years. Almost a decade ago, before former Vice President Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” was released, the broadcast news networks rarely used the term. Gore’s 2006 movie and book of the same name used the phrase “extreme weather” and linked the hurricanes, floods, drought and other natural disasters to global warming. The networks have lauded Gore and his film for years.

Between July 2004 and July 2005, a year before Gore’s movie, the three networks only used the phrase “extreme weather” in 18 stories on their morning and evening news shows in that entire year.

Now, it is a favorite phrase of the networks. In the past year (July 2013 through July 2014), the same network news shows talked about it 988 percent more: in a whopping 196 stories. That’s more than enough stories to see one every other day on average.

During that time, extreme weather was frequently used by the networks to describe heat waves, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes and winter storms, and they often included the phrase in onscreen graphics or chyrons during weather stories. ABC even has an “extreme weather team” dedicated to covering such events. Some of those reports explicitly linked the events to climate change, but even when they didn’t the stories fueled the narrative of climate alarmism.

The networks have worked tirelessly to promote the idea that extreme weather events were more common than they actually have been. What used to just be called weather, is now extreme. On May 6, 2014, NBC White House Correspondent Peter Alexander told “Nightly News” viewers to “just think of all the extreme weather headlines in the last months. Floods, tornadoes, record cold and record droughts.”

ABC correspondent Dan Harris announced on Feb. 22, 2014, “Good Morning America” that “much of America [is] dealing with extreme weather right now. A really nasty mix of twisters, high winds and flooding rains.”

But even alarmist scientists who worried about the danger of global warming admitted connecting so-called “extreme weather” to climate change was “controversial” and lacks proof. The United Nations reduced its certainty regarding a connection between heat waves, droughts and tropical cyclones and climate change in 2013.

While discussing extreme weather, including simultaneous “extended periods of cold” and “unprecedented winter warmth,” climate alarmist Michael Mann of Penn State University said that connections to climate change were “a speculative and genuinely controversial area of the science.”

As for claims that storms are becoming more frequent, that hasn’t been the case with hurricanes. Climatologist Dr. John Christy who has looked back to the 1850s told the MRC in 2013 “there is no trend in hurricanes.” He said, “[I]f you look at the last seven years, there has not been single major hurricane hit the United States. This is the longest period of such a dearth of hurricanes in that entire record.”

In early 2014, when the networks hyped a drought in California as the “worst drought on record,” Dr. Martin Hoerling, a federal climate researcher, disagreed and told the MRC it was consistent with previous California droughts.

Full story here

As I keep telling anyone who will listen, it’s a mirage of news reporting enabled by technology:

Why it seems that severe weather is “getting worse” when the data shows otherwise – a historical perspective


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August 6, 2014 4:05 am

“Extreme weather” is redundant. Right now, we have extremely cool weather for August. Lows around 60, highs around 80. 8-10F lower than “normal”.

August 6, 2014 4:15 am

the fact that the talking heads on most media and radio etc are EXTREMELY stupid..might have a part to play
and then the EXTREME profits made in UNprecedented wild claims scaring the crap outta Extremely dumb people is also part n parcel of the whole sorry pathetic mess.

August 6, 2014 4:16 am

Your opening cliché of “if it bleeds it leads” explains it all. If they can shock the audience, they get more buzz and more ratings.
The 2 problems with that is: #1 – if everyone does it, there is no differentiation between one news show and another, so the effect is lost. And #2: eventually people come to expect it so it is tuned out and has no more shock value.
Global cooling was a good scare 40 years ago because it focused on one single thing – freezing to death. But the current scare tries to blame everything on it, so what will be the next one? They are already trying to scare everyone about everything. And as life goes on, people tune it out (it is a self preservation instinct of man). So other than Aliens sucking the atmosphere off the planet, I think the News networks are merely playing their eulogy. This was their last hurrah.

M Courtney
August 6, 2014 4:17 am

24hour news broadcasts are voracious for news.
As most viewers just dip in and out, or merely leave it on as background noise, they can’t cover complicated subjects that require background knowledge.
☺That doesn’t just mean that science is simplified to “gee-whiz wow” and “we’re all going to die”. ☺That also means that foreign affairs is limited to only a few areas.
☺That economics is asserted with a certainty depending on the political bias of the broadcaster. ☺That the arts are purely reported in commercial terms.
So they need subjects that everyone understands and everyone is interested in – preferably with pretty pictures.
The weather is perfect. Except it’s not news (unless someone dies).
So it has to be “extreme”.
“Extreme” means “Newsworthy”.
And that’s all they want.

August 6, 2014 4:45 am

CAGW Weatherman’s creed:
Whether the weather is hot,
Whether the weather is not,
We’ll hype the weather,
whatever the weather,
whether it needs it or not.

(See how I did that?)

August 6, 2014 4:46 am

Almost every time I looked at the weather map in July, I noticed that the area I live in was showing “below average” in the temperature trends. In August, it was announced that July was the warmest July in 72 years. This led to the undereducated pointing at me and saying, “see?”.
July, however, was cooler than average. Here. Whatever report claims that it was warmer than usual is plain wrong. Whether it’s wrong by error or by deception doesn’t matter. The emotions have definitely been ramped up, and I hear the phrase “extreme weather” on the local news channels, repeatedly.
Honestly, our weather this year could hardly BE less extreme..

Frank K.
August 6, 2014 4:55 am

I don’t watch ABCCBSNBCCNNMSNBC “news” (and that includes the awful Weather Channel). It’s this kind of politicization of just about every news item that has turned me off completely.
And it’s a good time to remind folks to PLEASE remove links to these “news” sites (and that includes CAGW weather sites like the Weather Underground) from your computer, ipad, and/or smart phone. These organizations are in trouble with their advertisers and eventually will have to change or become irrelevant. For me, they are already irrelevant…

Mike McMillan
August 6, 2014 5:02 am

M Courtney says: August 6, 2014 at 4:17 am
… require background knowledge. ☺That doesn’t just … going to die”. ☺That also … a few areas. ☺That economics … bias of the broadcaster. ☺That the arts are …

You need to get that keyboard fixed.

August 6, 2014 5:07 am

One word describes it all. Superstition.
Climate change is climate superstition.

August 6, 2014 5:22 am

CodeTech says: August 6, 2014 at 4:46 am
>Almost every time I looked at the weather map in July, I noticed that the area I live in was showing “below average” in the temperature trends.

>Whether it’s wrong by error or by deception doesn’t matter.
Actually, it does matter and through your own observations and critical thinking, you do know why it’s wrong.

August 6, 2014 5:23 am

Much more of this global warming induced extreme cold, and we’ll be back to Little Ice Age conditions.
The funny thing is the more often networks use it, the more desensitised people will become to the phrase.

August 6, 2014 5:27 am

“a speculative and genuinely controversial area of the science.”

Mann is correct about the speculative part. As for the controversial area of science there is no controversy. There is just hysteria over nothing. If the scientific evidence was there for weather becoming more extreme (over at least a 30 year period of climate) AND shown to be caused by global warming they would present it.
Now here is some extreme weather caused by nature. Two year sample. Think if all this happened today?
My compilation on Steven Goddard’s site.
1935 extreme weather events
extreme weather of 1936

ivor ward
August 6, 2014 5:28 am

philjourdan says:
August 6, 2014 at 4:16 am
“”… Aliens sucking the atmosphere off the planet,…..”
Why weren’t we told about this?! What is the Government doing to stop this?!! We need more taxes to pay to save us from these Aliens and a demonstration against them in Times Square. Action Now!!! Send donations. Only Obarmy can save us.

August 6, 2014 5:30 am

Slightly off-thread, in today’s Daily Telegraph there is an article about a team from Holland who have predicted that due to global warming,native trees in Europe will disappear to be replaced with Californian Redwoods and other exotic species.
In a few years time I shall look forward to a glass of wine from my vineyard here in NE England under the shade of a Redwood Tree! At the moment (13:30) it is 18 Celsius with bouts of heavy rain; this is not what Redwoods and vineyards thrive upon!

August 6, 2014 5:44 am

Andrew, I may well join you, ( just remembered i line from a poem: ” Under the spreading Redwood tree —– ” ?????!!!! ) Oh well, please yourself! P.S. It’s s’posed to have been pretty scorching in East Anglia (as it was once called — how I miss that), but where I live i wasn’t breaking out in a muck sweat, mind it’s always been a tad drafty in this town & today it’s been soggier than our famous water feature (not the North Sea the other one!)

M Courtney
August 6, 2014 5:54 am

Mike McMillan says… yep. Sorry about that.
I was trying for bullet points going down not smilies all over the place.
And my right shift key doesn’t work at all.

August 6, 2014 6:16 am

I don’t even have a TV anymore, the only reason for TV was to watch NASCAR races, then my hero Dale died in a wreck, no need for the TV. so they can talk there silly heads off, I won’t see it.

August 6, 2014 6:19 am

Well, this is totally unexpected

August 6, 2014 6:36 am

Just listen to your NWS “Weather Alert” radio! The description of the potential effects of the average thunderstorm sound like they are describing a tornado or hurricane, Again your government at work to HELP you.

August 6, 2014 6:41 am

Here is a small selection of the “extreme” weather reports from 2013.
“Extreme” weather used to be called “severe” weather and it was regarded as just weather instead of being described as a harbinger of man-made climate disaster. Some reports are of snow in February. Snow in February! Who would have thought?
February 2013 Global Weather Extremes Summary
The Most Extreme Weather State of 2013
Extreme Prophetic Weather Events: February 2013
“It’s hard to ignore extreme weather events when thousands of spiders seem to be falling out of the sky, and volcanoes are erupting while large fish are continually being washed upon shores around the world. Even if you watched the news everyday of February, we doubt you would have realized how many apocalyptic weather events occurred throughout the month…”
Most Extreme Weather 2013: Infographic Shows Major Events Throughout The Year
Extreme Weather around the World
February 4, 2013
Extreme Weather: Five Events That Shaped the Summer of 2013
Extreme Weather News
Extreme Weather Shelters open February 19
February 19 2013
Halfway Through 2013, The 5 Worst Extreme Weather Events Show The Damage Is As Bad As Ever
Extreme weather is often the result of climate change, according to scientists in Germany, who say they have found how greenhouse gases are helping to trap the jet stream and the weather patterns it brings.
Feb. 26, 2013
2013 in review: extreme weather – in pictures
2013 was the seventh warmest year on record and saw one of the strongest cyclones, some of the longest heatwaves and the most topsy-turvy weather experienced in decades

Mumbles McGuirck
August 6, 2014 6:46 am

The ‘bots said it better:

“Basmati! Yahhhh!!!”

August 6, 2014 6:52 am

Weepy emotionalism has become a mainstay for liberal propagandists and the general media (same thing). Look at all the weepiness used in commercials.
It’s a cryin’ shame.

August 6, 2014 7:00 am

M Courtney says:
August 6, 2014 at 4:17 am
“we’re all going to die”.

Well, eventually, we are all going to die, that it is true. No news, though.
Anyway, here in Northern Spain we also had a colder than usual July. August is not helping either. Almost no days where the thermometer breaks the 35 Celsius barrier during this summer.

DC Cowboy
August 6, 2014 7:01 am

Of course it is. ‘extreme weather’ is an emotionally laden statement that defies easy refutation. Anyone using it does not have to provide any factual evidence to back up the claim and it leaves those that disagree with the unenviable task of proving a negative “prove that it is NOT extreme”.

Walter Allensworth
August 6, 2014 7:13 am

I’ve noticed lately that the liberal news outlets are more careful about tying in “climate change” or “global warming” to the extreme weather event. They used to do more of that. Perhaps they are being more careful not to p|ss off 50% of their viewership, or perhaps they think they’ve already accomplished the tie-in well enough and no longer need to say it. Perhaps both.

Bruce Cobb
August 6, 2014 7:45 am

I have noticed something else with weather hypsters, formerly known as meteorologists, and that is language inflation. Victor Borge came up with the comic idea of “Inflationary Language”, wherein for example, today became “threeday”. But what the weather hypsters do is to take what is completely normal for summer and describe it as “hot”. Not all of them do this, thankfully. Around here, a daytime high of 83F is the average for this time of year. So, the weather hypster will typically describe anything above that as “hot”, perhaps not realizing (or caring) how retarded that sounds.

Henry Bowman
August 6, 2014 7:58 am

This issue was essentially the thesis advanced by Michael Crichton’s novel State of Fear.

August 6, 2014 8:03 am

I have searched and searched for a standard, or any, definition of “extreme weather”. You know the kind of thing you can measure and count. ‘Till that comes rolling down the road we are just talking politics chaps.

john robertson
August 6, 2014 8:08 am

Great comment.
This pathetic meme is certain destruction to the hysteria they attempt to whip up.
Extreme weather? So what is a storm?
This kind of propaganda only sells to people who have never left their air conditioned apartment , people who consider a trip to that climate controlled mall as a trip outside.
I guess once you designate everything as extreme, normal is a frightful place.
It does not work and public cynicism is growing.
Those falling ratings could be the broadcasters first clue.
The weather clown show is useless, they cannot seem to get tomorrows weather right, yet attempt to erase history.
Unprecedented.. Biblical… Extreme… Extreme.. Extremely Normal.
Like we have never had weather.. so our vocabulary lacks words like Hurricane, Storm, Tornado, Sou Easter, Blizzard, Ice Storm…..
Weather has been so non-active that we lack words??
The attempt to promote this nonsense is as old as language…This is the oldest scam.
Give me your wealth and I will keep the Thunder God from blasting you for your sins.
From this fear of weather, religion seems to have evolved.
For nothing can reinforce ones insignificance like a major storm.

August 6, 2014 8:10 am

Its brainwashing.

more soylent green!
August 6, 2014 8:16 am

I gotta start with a small disclaimer — If it bleeds, it leads has been the credo for the media for quite some time now. Hyping disasters is nothing new. Remember the speculation on CNN about ML Flight 370 being transported off-planet by aliens?
However, this does not negate the thesis. The media has a theme of man-made climate disaster due to fossil fuels they want to support and they do their best to support it. They find some known activist or other person with dubious credentials to claim “it’s unprecedented” or it’s “the worst on record” when a simple fact-check easily proves the claim wrong. Somebody who makes obviously wrong factual claims should never be quoted on a news story. There is an obvious agenda here, and I have a greater than 95% confidence level that agenda ain’t selling more newspapers.

Steve P
August 6, 2014 8:32 am

This is an excellent pair of postings by the host, not only as it relates to the CAGW scam and its perpetuation by the media, but also to the related and perhaps larger questions of human gullibility, and the nature of our species.
Can there be any question now about the power of the boob tube? As Richard M. Nixon put it:

The American people don’t believe anything until they see it on television.

The power of the radio had previously been demonstrated on October 30, 1938, when a dramatic broadcast of “War of the Worlds” was taken as factual by apparently large numbers of panicky radio listeners.
For many, the media have become arbiters of reality.
With no global warming in the face of apparently ever-rising levels of the magic gas, the Great Carbon Dioxide Scare has had its wheels blown off, and is now being perpetuated by the sycophant MSM, which continues to flatuate alarmist climate change propaganda, the stench of which should horrify anyone who still believes – at this late date – in a free press.

August 6, 2014 10:25 am

NBC who? I cut the cable cord and never put up a digital antenna. The internet will wipe them and the reality TV programming soon enough.

August 6, 2014 10:26 am

Speaking of extreme sideways weather, I notice that the ENSO meter has drifted back down to an extremely flat zero.
No El Nino probably means another dry winter in California (Anthony can correct me about this). If so, it’s starting to get pretty serious about water out here. Knives will be loosened in their scabbards.

Paul Drahn
August 6, 2014 11:09 am

I guess I will be the only one defending the TV news. Actually, lawyers and lawsuits are the cause of all the extreme reporting of everything that may affect the viewer. If they leave out even the slightest detail about the weather, or fail to emphasize it’s harmful potential, someone will sue them because of the lack of being warned.
We saw the same on the local TV news warning people about the normal Central Oregon desert summer weather. They spent 10 minutes or so each evening warning people about using sunscreen and staying hydrated. My wife and I are almost 75 years old and have never used sunscreen and spend hours every week in the hot sun doing gardening. When we are thirsty, we get a drink of water. We don’t carry a bottle with us and drink every 10 minutes. I know the TV station is just protecting their butt, but it makes me turn it off.

more soylent green!
August 6, 2014 11:27 am

Paul Drahn says:
August 6, 2014 at 11:09 am
I guess I will be the only one defending the TV news. Actually, lawyers and lawsuits are the cause of all the extreme reporting of everything that may affect the viewer. If they leave out even the slightest detail about the weather, or fail to emphasize it’s harmful potential, someone will sue them because of the lack of being warned.
We saw the same on the local TV news warning people about the normal Central Oregon desert summer weather. They spent 10 minutes or so each evening warning people about using sunscreen and staying hydrated. My wife and I are almost 75 years old and have never used sunscreen and spend hours every week in the hot sun doing gardening. When we are thirsty, we get a drink of water. We don’t carry a bottle with us and drink every 10 minutes. I know the TV station is just protecting their butt, but it makes me turn it off.

Why does the national news hype “extreme weather” stories after the events happen then? How about when the events happen in other countries?

August 6, 2014 11:49 am

Just waiting a hit of extreme normal weather.

Jaakko Kateenkorva
August 6, 2014 12:18 pm

While alarmist claims approach infinity, their extremes approach infinitesimal.

Joel O'Bryan
August 6, 2014 12:43 pm

This thread opens up the issue of information censorship that the Global Warmists desparately want imposed. We see vivid evidence of that in their attempts to lay silencing labels on climate change skeptics. The current Administration tries to silence or marginalize valid criticism on policiy failures as racist. For the Progressives, it is about who co trols information the public receives, and all their approaches are found in George Orwell’s novel 1984.
The Legacy Media channels all very much understand how the internet is crumbling their control of information and destroying how they profit from that. Mainstream journalism has, since WW2, been under the majority control by Left leaning journalists.
But regardless of ideology, they need sensationalism (epic extreme wethaer claims), and disasters (airplane disappearance/crash) to drive viwership. Blathering shots of the Obama’s eating shaved ice on Martha’s Vineyard is now turning off half the TVs in America. 40% stay on FNC, 10% stay on Comedy Central and/or MSNBC.
Last winter, the Obama Administration announced plans to turn the internet root domain control over to the UN. They quickly had to reverse course because of valid strong criticism it would lead to UN bureacrats being able to impose World Wide censorship on the internet to content it didn’t like. In actuality, that WAS Obama’s intent. The Progressives in this country cannot control internet content from blogs like WUWT because of that “pesky” 1st Amendment. And they do not like that at all.
The Progressive’s in this country despise the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution precisely because it puts strong limits on the US federal government. For evidence, look no further than 2 recent Senate Democrat proposals. Sen Harry Reid introducied a proposed constitutional amendment to the 1st amendment to restrict groups of individuals having free speech rights, or their legislation under the disguised title, “Media Shield Law” which would allow the government to define who is a protected journalist.
The Obama Administration’s desire to move internet root domain control from the Commerce Department’s ICAAN to the UN’s ITU, which would allow censorship of politically disfavored news site, blogs, and other outlets at a global level is again rooted in his disdain for the 1st Amendment which blocks US overnment censorship of the media. Of course countries like China, Iran, and Turkey do that to their citizens, but that doesn’t mean Youtube videos blocked in Iran cant still be viewed by Iranians in Europe or other Mideast countries. Obama was quite taken aback in 2012 when he asked Youtube and Google to remove the Mohammed parody globally, and they refused. Obama had no recourse with Youtube because of the 1st Amendment. Under UN control though, Youtube could be forced to Globally take down content a UN bureaucra disliked under threat of losing root domain name access. Just like the UN IPCC process, what the Progressive’s want but can’t get through the Federal level, they turn to the UN. Imagine Anthony Watts receiving a letter, cc’d to WordPress, to take down content or face global internet domain name death. That should worry everyone here, as it is not a far-fetched scenario.
Meanwhile ABC, NBC, CBS, and the NY Times journalist staffs are willfully silent.

August 6, 2014 12:48 pm

I stopped watching “network coverage” about 7 years ago.
I apparently asked the wrong question in a google search about Arctic ice, and ended up at WUWT.
The free education since then has mostly been wasted on me, but I have learned some things 🙂

August 6, 2014 1:31 pm

Funny how the alarmists are always slagging the Koch brothers, and yet they (through the “Billionaires Club”) are funnelling money (including we poor [or soon to be poor] taxpayers’ money) surreptitiously to their, er, pet causes…
A report came out last week, titled:
“The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA”
The link is:
There’s also an article at:
(There are probably other outlets covering this too, but I haven’t seen anything in the Main-Scream-Media so far….)

August 6, 2014 3:16 pm

the solution to the MSM….a $10 HDMI cable.

Eamon Butler
August 6, 2014 4:10 pm

We don’t get Weather reports any more. They’re now called Weather Alerts, and they come colour coded for extra impact.

August 6, 2014 4:13 pm

Personally, whenever I hear the weather people on TV go on about ‘extreme’ weather, I see them practicing for a street luge competetion going down Telegraph Hill, while doing the forecast…

August 6, 2014 9:30 pm

Joel O’Bryan says:
“… Imagine Anthony Watts receiving a letter, cc’d to WordPress, to take down content or face global internet domain name death. That should worry everyone here, as it is not a far-fetched scenario. …”
And because it is not a far-fetched idea, it is time that an alternate internet be put in place over which only the common people hold sway.

King of Cool
August 6, 2014 10:29 pm

There is no doubting who the Queen of Extreme is down under.
All you have to do is to Google Green’s leader Christine Milne and extreme weather and you will find page after page of hysteria and vitriol against the “Devil incarnate” himself Tony Abbott for unleashing a fury of weather from hell upon the nation by ridding us of the carbon tax.
Do you think that one day Christine will ever realise that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens? That as well as a time to uproot there is a time to plant? And as well as a time to weep there is a time to laugh? And as well as a time to mourn there is a time to dance?
Does Christine really believe that storms, floods and droughts signal the end of the world? Or that they are just a PART of the world – like gentle summer rain and glorious sunsets and the splendour of a spring dawn? And that whatever is has already been and what will be has been before? And that nothing that she says or Tony Abbott does can change one jot?

August 7, 2014 4:44 am

Jennifer, if you want to sit under an apple tree with a 50/50 chance of needing an umbrella and drink a wine from Morrison’s, you are more than welcome to come up to Newcastle. The weather here is no more extreme than anywhere else. The problem with those who advocate global warming is that they approach it with the same zealous ardour that religious and political fanatics do with their beliefs. We are talking about science, where bigotry has no place whatsoever; this is one of the reasons why I don’t believe climate change is occurring due to CO2..

Eamon Butler
August 9, 2014 6:52 am

Ah! I like the ”Like” Btw.

August 12, 2014 12:41 pm

EU has been trying to do its bit for the cause, but- unsurprisingly – it has not been going down well with non-EU States. US has long been opposed as well, but is rarely mentioned in the MSM coverage:
8 Aug: Reuters: Ben Garside: EU governments chase up unpaid airline emission
Airlines balk at fines despite scaled-down EU emission rules
Chinese, Indian carriers told to boycott
Both have all along opposed the scheme, arguing their inclusion in the EU’s
Emissions Trading System breached sovereignty rules.
“We oppose unilateral measures in this regard,” a spokeswoman from China’s
representation to the EU told Reuters by email, adding Beijing wanted a
global approach to regulating emissions led by the United Nations.
Germany, one of the main governments chasing up unpaid fines, in April
issued 2.7 million euros ($3.62 million) in penalties to 61 carriers.
Russia’s Aeroflot has also balked at paying a 215,600 euro fine to
***Required by EU law to enforce the penalties, like Germany, Britain, France
and the Netherlands as the bloc’s main air transport hubs also lead the
search for payments…

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