NewsFocus In-depth

A Look at the hidden facts beneath the story

 NewsFocus.org, Op-Ed, 121320  Updated: 013121
 

Here are some very important issues that Americans need to consider when it comes to a foreign entity steering their country's national news system and political direction.

The Erosion of Civility

Politics in the United States has oftentimes been a most sordid and muddy affair, yet through the years our political system has somehow still held onto a tenuous semblance of civility, albeit a quite strained composure, very much akin to professional wrestling. While the fight within the ring is usually heated, extremely contentious, and oftentimes quite flamboyant, riding home in the same cab is not too far from the truth when it comes to the theater of politics and pro wrestling. Somehow, there has always been the vaguest modicum of respect for the opponent, even in the toughest of times, but now, things have changed, for a new political shit-show that is much farther worse.

That previous professional respect now appears to have been cast to the wind, replaced by a foaming-at-the-mouth, manic, off-the-chain, political hatred and vitriolic partisan rancor, unlike any seen in the modern era. What we're witnessing today in the US is something that has not been experienced in this country for well over 150 years, with both Republicans and Democrats beginning to mirror Confederate and Union reflections from a much darker time.

The question many are now asking is, how did we get here?


Ratcheting up the rancor: partisan political tensions have been raised to the extreme in the US since 9/11.

The Birth of Partisan News

I would offer that it was not this way in the 50's, 60's, 70's, or the 80's, however, the 90's brought us something new and quite insidious, the birth of partisan news. Such a concept has always been antithetical to a democracy because truth historically is heralded as the essential key component of a free republic and open democracy. The arrival of FOX News Channel in 1996 changed all of this for the US. The new upstart FOX was politically partisan right from the start - right-leaning and overly combative about the left. When it came to arguing policy against liberal Democrats their position appeared to be, if you can't own the moral high-ground, then sully the discussion by obfuscating the known facts. Muddy the water so that no one can have clarity regarding the issue. Then offer your own talking points, even though they're not facts. FOX News has never been shy about bending the truth, right from their inception.

Parsing the Truth

It's a fact that FOX News has been accused of asking its reporters to do unethical things or to shade their reporting. There have been cases where FOX reporters were asked to water down a story for corporate interests, despite the fact that censorship of such stories might possibly propose a  potential risk to their viewers.

Perhaps most unsettling of all is that FOX literally argued in court that there was no law stating that you had to tell the truth on television - and they actually won.

As a matter of fact, when speaking about FOX News night time host Tucker Carlson, Fox News lawyers argued in court, Carlson is not “stating actual facts” but simply engaging in “non-literal commentary.” All one can really say to that is, it's an extremely diplomatic (bullshit) way of saying that he isn't telling the truth.

Time magazine has said this about FOX, "A network known for new-fashioned provocation and opinion." That's a very gracious descriptor to use for a network that appears to go out of its way to feature as much partisan venom as possible, while also embracing tabloid standards of journalism that continually challenge the truth, whenever it suits the FOX News/Murdoch purpose.

Given this unsettling legal context about FOX News, here is where the perfect storm all comes together - it is a fact that many people actually (gullibly) believe it is illegal to lie on television - when in fact nothing of the sort is even close to the truth. (Again, see the FOX News court victory noted above) As most might suspect, this is obviously an extremely bad mix when good, honest, naive people such as this come in contact with an unscrupulous network such as that of FOX News. Propaganda becomes so much easier to deploy when the subject implicitly trusts the messenger. It literally becomes like shooting fish in a barrel.

Some have gone so far as to call FOX parent company News Corp a “propaganda operation masquerading as a news service.” Arguably, this is not so much a keenly accurate assessment as it is a gross understatement of reality. To that point, there are some actual studies published that have shown FOX News viewers to be among the most uninformed of all. That's not exactly a promising sign for a news organization. That's pretty much like people getting fat from Weight Watchers. It's like a monastery that only graduates thieves or a convent that produces nothing but whores. All in all, it's not exactly what you would expect from a news organization, having the most uninformed viewers. This becomes a telling testament to the way FOX presents news.

Principle and Ethics

It wasn't just the partisan slant that initially defined FOX News early on, but also the fact that reporters were encouraged to "spin" their stories, to fit the Republican message of the day, going against the grain of accepted journalistic standards. They have deliberately rejected traditional US news standards, to adopt tabloid gossip standards instead, something for which the Murdoch publishing empire has much experience with. History shows that the News Corp empire has been rooted in propaganda, from its inception in 1922.

The FOX News apple doesn't fall far from the News Corp tree. FOX News has shown that it will do whatever it can to vilify its political opponents, all the while glossing over the sins of those they seek to glorify within their political universe. Case in point, just look at FOX News' portrayal of the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking of minors scandal. FOX News deliberately edited the pictures of Epstein and cut Trump out of the photo, leaving Melania instead. This is an example of how a so-called "news" organization becomes politically partisan to the point where they are trying to hide news or alter it in a way to unduly influence their audience. This is the clear line between news and propaganda that FOX shamelessly disregards and willfully exploits for political gain.


This video shows how FOX News edited Trump from the photo. The news outlet said later that it "regretted the mistake."

For the record: to be clear, partisan news has nothing to do with good journalism. Once it becomes partisan (with a definitive political slant), it quickly becomes defined as something completely different from truthful news. It immediately changes into disinformation and propaganda because once you start "spinning" a story, you are essentially coordinating the beginning of a lie.

As a student of broadcasting and journalism, I remember distinctly how the value of the truth was preached, over and over, endlessly, ad nauseam. As a matter of fact there are many rules that apply to being a good broadcaster, but one of my favorite instructors summed it up this way - the first two rules were the most important of all. He told us, "If you remember nothing else, remember these first two precepts of journalism. Number one, always follow the truth. The truth is the story. Always find the truth. Number two, never allow yourself any affiliations or entangling alliances that would prevent you from following rule number one."

Simple as that. Truer journalistic advise would be hard to come by, yet at times it seems a far cry from the corporate news machine that currently exists, specifically so for FOX News.

Foreign Reservations

For those who do not know, it needs to be noted that foreign ownership within the US media system has always been very restricted, through the Communications Act of 1934 - with one very good reason - so that foreign entities could not influence our political system, or usurp our fundamental American principles of democracy. It was rational thinking with a national purpose. Section 310 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended ( 47 U.S.C. § 310 [a], [b] )

For those who also do not know, FOX News owner Rupert Murdoch and NewsCorp are from Australia. They are the first foreign entity to be allowed into the US media.

The Public Interest

Along the lines of this same thought process regarding foreign ownership, the domestic co-ownership of mixed media was also frowned upon because it would allow the propagation of only one voice which could dominate a region or local political arena. There was a restriction for anyone to own more than one signal in a market or to sell broadcast stations at random. As a matter of fact, a station owner was actually required to hold on to a property for a specified amount of time, even if that broadcast signal was losing money. In those days, having a broadcast signal was treated as a sacred public trust, stringently bestowed upon by the FCC. The main decree of the FCC back then was all about acting in the public interest.

Under the Reagan era of de-regulation, all of that changed.  As a former broadcaster, Reagan alleged that he wanted to help the industry, but it wasn't the broadcasters or broadcast audiences he helped with de-regulation, it was the broadcast owners who benefited immensely.

So much for acting on behalf of the public interest.

Another notable and significant broadcast rules change that came from the Reagan administration was the dissolution of the Fairness Doctrine, which had previously provided for equal viewpoints on a given subject. It specifically provided for a balanced view politically, as well as provisions for a response from both major parties. It also provided for equal time on a broadcast station if someone was attacked publicly. This law went out the window under Reagan's FCC. Many now feel it is no coincidence that after removing this act, we have seen the rise of politically partisan news.

In regards to this, many at the time made the false argument that the issue was about the technicalities of broadcast vs. cable, however, in reality such an argument  is inconsequential and irrelevant to the overall intent of the act because the overall purpose should be to regulate outlets that provide television and radio content, not necessarily the delivery of said content. This viewpoint would essentially render the broadcast vs. cable argument into an issue of technical semantics, but unfortunately that is not how it played out historically. Broadcast and cable program dissemination were viewed differently, rather than recognizing them as delivery vehicles of the exact same product. In turn, US program content eventually became compromised, because it was now basically regulated by its source. Cable was given a pass by the FCC.

The Arrival of FOX Television

On top of all of this, despite the national reservation on foreign investment of media, Rupert Murdoch was allowed to put FOX television on the US airwaves in 1986, in a move now eerily reminiscent of the mythical Greek Trojan horse. Murdoch accomplished this by skirting the network requirements for air-time required to qualify as a network.  The Fox programming schedule was very limited, as it still is. They had no daytime programming, relying instead on syndicated shows such as Judge Judy. The prime time line-up still only runs until 9pm. Unlike the other television networks, they have never had a formal newscast. It was a look the other way from the Reagan FCC that allowed FOX television to sneak through the backdoor of the US media system, as a fourth option to the big three of ABC, CBS and NBC.

FOX began with a prime-time programming line-up that was controversial and edgy, with shows that were much different from the big three networks.

  • Married With Children

  • Beverly Hills 90210

  • The Simpson's

  • COPS

Eventually, a US audience began to watch and the ratings started to go up. The edgy alternative shows were catching on with young viewers. The other big-three networks began to react to the rise of FOX by altering their own prime-time programming. For the first time since its inception, the foundations of US television were shaken to the core. As their corporate bottom lines eventually became affected, so did the programming direction of FOX competitors. It would only be the beginning of the FOX takeover of US television.

Around the same time, in 1988, another shock hit the US airwaves, only this time it was on the radio as Rush Limbaugh made his national debut. Soon his broadcast became home for the political right as Limbaugh quickly vaulted to the top of US talk-radio. Love him or hate him, the polarizing impact of Rush Limbaugh on US radio audiences and on US politics cannot be overlooked. Limbaugh changed the tenor of political talk-radio.

Along with Rush came another critical piece to the conservative push, the arrival of Newt Gingrich, who featured an in-your-face, dog-eat-dog, mortal enemies to the end mindset when it came to politics. For the first time, Democrats were portrayed not just as just political opponents, but as evil villains to be despised and hated. Gingrich-style politics brought the term anything goes to a new level in US politics. With a new battle cry and a general to lead them, the 1994 Republican Revolution took place with Republicans winning control of the house and senate for the first time since 1952.

Two years later, Rupert Murdoch would capitalize on this new GOP wave with the introduction of America's first partisan news outlet, as conservative leaning FOX News Channel was born in 1996. FOX News captured an audience that felt it was not represented by the major big three networks, or so it was able to convince its new US viewers. FOX News set a tone right from the start by naming longtime GOP consultant Roger Ailes as its head of operations. Ailes gained notoriety from his work on the Reagan and George HW Bush campaigns. He was also noted for the remark, "
If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, "I have a solution to the Middle East problem," and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?" That should have been a red-flare to all on how Ailes would conceptualize the presentation of FOX News.

One of the tools used by FOX to pull in male viewers was the addition of sports programming - both college and pro - specifically the NFL, NBA and MLB, but nothing worked to attract male viewers as well as the FOX dress code for its female anchors and reporters. Tits and ass were as much a part of the resume as previous broadcast experience. The lecherous Ailes was the architect of what soon became "FOX News porn." With shirts cut low and skirts cut high, FOX shamelessly promoted sex as an enticement for male viewership. Despite the fact that sex sells, one would think such a blatant display of sexism would have been a personal affront to its religious-right viewers, but apparently so long as right to life is part of the platform, moral hypocrisy is perhaps easier to swallow and digest for those wishing to espouse piety and virtue. A dedicated right-leaning message was finding a hungry audience.

Once again the major networks work react to FOX, but this time it was the news side. Cable took notice as well, with CNN also making adjustments of its own. Murdoch's young upstart FOX network was having a decisive effect, not only on US viewers, but also on US broadcasting and news presentation as a whole.

Perhaps the most important thing it would definitely influence would be US politics.

The advent of the FOX News Channel and conservative talk-radio was a formidable new addition for Republicans in 1996. Suddenly America was exposed to news and commentary with a defined conservative political skew. With a nation of media-directed lemmings, this was a new concern for liberals. What happened in '96 was a media infrastructure addition so huge, it was immediate newfound media muscle to influence and indoctrinate many non-thinking Americans - and it worked. The byproduct of this investment is now paying political dividends, in more ways than one.

Conservative Media Expansion

The conservative media expansion was also taking place in radio as well, with the  monopoly-esque takeover of talk-radio. Longtime liberal voices were cast out, as conservatives took hold of the talk-radio airwaves. Conservative leaning broadcast groups such as Clear Channel Communications, Sinclair, Cumulus and Nexstar were all pushing the message of the political right. The takeover of talk-radio was a major component in the effort to steer America more conservative, something that was becoming increasingly more obvious to many US observers.

Persuading a Nation

Let's now look at US politics since the advent of this 1996 conservative media push and see if we can weigh its effect on America.

First off, before the conservative media push, Democrats controlled the Senate from 1955 all the way up to 1994 with Clinton, yet the Gingrich-led Republican Revolution, along with the the arrival of FOX News and conservative talk-radio, ended that dominance by Democrats. The balance of US political power was shifting, and conservative thirst was growing as many US viewers began to drink from the Murdoch Kool-Aid well.

Through 2018, Republicans have held more political power since the US conservative media push began, but with much of their platform built on political divisiveness and disinformation, with all all of it echoed by GOP mouthpiece FOX News.
 
     [ The following are pre-2020 election numbers ]

  • President:   2-1 in favor of Republicans

  • Senate:    7-5 in favor of Republicans

  • House:   9-6 in favor of Republicans

The ultimate in full political control is having charge of the top three political power structures in the US... 1) the Presidency, 2) the Senate and 3) the House. This is undeniably the top prize in US politics. This is how you push change.

Republicans also held full political control again under George W. Bush from 2003-2007 and again under Obama from 2015 to 2016 and again from 2017 to 2019 under Trump. Democrats have held full control only once since 1996. That was under Obama, briefly, from 2009 to 2011.

An argument could be made that without the additions of FOX television and conservative talk-radio, Democrats might have had far more political gains during this time period.

FOX Viewer Loyalty

Because FOX caters almost exclusively to their audience's political ideals, the FOX viewer has become extremely loyal to the network. This creates an omnipotent view of the network which can create inherent problems, such as viewers being overly trusting and very accepting of seemingly any message that comes from its hosts. They no longer use the same discerning eye for what is being presented to them, that they do for the rest of the media. This has the effect of lowering their guard and becoming vulnerable to exploitation, disinformation and propaganda. FOX is well aware of this devotion and political reverence. As such, they willfully and shamelessly exploit and manipulate their core older white audience in this manner, mostly through the wanton use of disinformation and fear.

The fact that the news and opinion being delivered is directly geared to the political mindset of its viewers is an easy sell. FOX viewers seem to have no qualms with the idea of partisan news. They feel it is the only media outlet that expresses their political viewpoint. As a result, FOX soon became like an exclusive club or a private gated-community to its viewers. It has become a rallying point for the right. Only recently has competition risen up. For the left, FOX News has become a volatile, caustic mix of political disinformation and propaganda, one which many feel has a disturbingly familiar and haunting echo of the political rhetoric and fervor from 1933 Germany.

Not only has FOX News understandably become a magnet for conservative Republicans, but it would seem for everything else far right-wing as well. Judging from conservative protests, neo-Nazis, militia groups and even the KKK all seem to find the FOX News message appealing to their base, even though FOX tries desperately - irrationally - to claim that the US Nazi movement is tied to the liberal left. No matter what FOX reporters and their nighttime talking bobbleheads might say, neo-Nazis are not watching MSNBC. Again, judging from the protest crowds, they do appear to be watching FOX, as well as other conservative outlets such as NewsMax and OAN.

The platform of the conservative party definitely became much more far-right under Trump. It became acrid, antagonistic and divisive. It also become exclusionary as well. The current state of the conservative party more resembles the mentality of an angry white mob ready for a lynching than it does a peaceful political party.

Fomenting Division

FOX features voices of anger - from the original line-up of Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter, to the present day line-up of Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham - FOX commentary and opinion very much seems to be about divisiveness. It is not beyond the norm for FOX talking heads to stir up hatred and contempt for those not associated within their political orbit or ideology, such as Mexico, Iran, North Korea and China, and most certainly their # 1 political enemies, liberal Democrats. This is the one thing that FOX seems to excel at, being divisive and pointing the finger of blame at others, whether they are correct or not.

For the record, the net effect of spewing unfounded opinion, as if it were gospel, very much becomes brainwashing, for all intents and purposes because the message is being delivered to a very loyal and overly trusting audience that is highly acceptive of anything from the lips of its network mouthpieces. There is no better audience to deliver disinformation and propaganda to, than one that is trusting of those feeding them the lie. When used in an exploitive manner, it can become inflammatory and dangerous when those receiving it have no real understanding of the facts or the issue at hand. Unfounded political opinion not based in fact is nothing more than unsubstantiated, baseless political hate-speech. It is a far cry from fact-based opinion. The end result of this is, it has had an extremely negative effect on the US.

Some might say that this has been by deliberate purpose and design, to undermine our democracy and our country. Again, just as a reminder to all, for the first time ever, a foreign entity has been allowed to sail freely through our media system for a quarter century now, steering our country in ways that were once prohibited under the Communications Act of 1934. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 has undeniably had a profound effect upon our republic and its democracy - and not for the good.

Ideals that were once hallmark tenants of our country, such as "the invitation to all," are now presented as foreign outdated relics by FOX, yet they used to be the bedrock for what this country has always stood for. The rabid conservative cries of, "This is our country - you don't belong here," have become a clarion call for the right, resulting in an audacious attempt to replicate the Chinese wall on the southern US boarder.

For the record: unless you are of native American descent or Mexican-American heritage, your forefathers were all immigrants to this country. They didn't belong here. They were foreigners. This fact very much seems to be lost on the pundits from FOX.

It is disheartening to see people influenced (propagandized) to reject and disparage a basic foundation of this country, Lady Liberty's offer of hope to all... "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

So, the conservative rhetoric over incoming foreigners is clearly antithetical to the "American Dream." If such thinking had been in place right from the start, most of us would not be here and the US would never have become the great nation that it did.

Leaving FOX

Former employees of FOX tell horror stories about their experiences of working there. One former longtime Fox News analyst calls the network a ‘destructive propaganda machine.’ Others have weighed in as well. CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota, a former Fox News anchor, has said she was, "upset about the blurring of the lines between propaganda and journalism.”

Former FOX anchor Shepard Smith said in a 2017 Time magazine interview that he wasn't bothered by the dichotomy of FOX's daily news and its nightly opinion shows. "We serve different masters. We work for different reporting chains, we have different rules. They don’t really have rules on the opinion side. They can say whatever they want - if it’s their opinion."

In the same interview he also said, "People who maybe aren’t with us all the time who aren’t regular watchers, maybe there is some sort of confusion about what’s opinion and what’s news."

Smith later added, “I get it, that some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining."

In regards to this last comment, my personal critique would be that "entertaining" is the absolute wrong word to use when such opinion is still closely associated as news, just as FOX News presents it. Such a cavalier assessment about political hate speech that has been so destructive to our union is to understate its negative, divisive effect. History has shown us many times over that incendiary political language, steeped with intense anger, more often than not has extreme dire consequences for someone. At some point, you have to realize that such views are not entertaining. They are just the polar opposite. They are hateful and divisive - and that's a far cry from being amusing.

This is the issue with FOX News. It is also something that once again eerily echoes that distant, divisive rhetoric of Nazi Germany, all over again.

In a 2021 post US Capitol attack interview with CNN's Christian Amanpour, Smith actually spoke out with a bit more defiance, saying, "My goal was just to keep the blinders on and do my job to the best of my ability. I am always concerned when people... opine all you like, but if you're going to opine, begin with the truth and opine from there. And it's that... that deviation from that, that has caused me the greatest concern."

He added, "And I believe that when people begin with a false premise and lead people astray that's injurious to society and it's the antithesis of what we should be doing. Those of us who are so honored and grateful to have a platform of influence have to use it for the public good. I slept very well. I don't know how some people sleep at night because I know that there are a lot of people who have propagated the lies and have pushed them forward over and over again - who are smart enough and educated enough to know better. And... I hope that at some point those who have done us harm as a nation - and I might even add, as a world - will look around and realize what they've done, but I'm not holding my breath."

Smith then opined a bit himself, correctly saying, "We as consumers of news, myself included, have to be better at it. Personally, if I read a by-line or I watch a program where the author of the speaker has repeatedly misinformed me, led me astray, or lied to my face, I shut that source off."

In regards to any possible future viewership of FOX News, Smith concluded by saying, "I haven't been watching and I don't plan to."


How much truth is possible when news organizations and journalists try to bend a story to follow a particular political slant?

Walking the Talk

Conservatives often defend the political partisanship of FOX News by myopically claiming that MSNBC does the exact same thing, however, nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, FOX is all conservative all the time, but MSNBC actually splits the ticket, by giving up its most valued day-part in its programming schedule, lucrative morning drive, for a staunchly right-wing conservative talk show featuring Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the latter being the daughter of NWO poster child Zbigniew Brzezinski. If this how liberals spread their alleged message of radical socialism, it's certainly a very confusing message - one that arguably doesn't aid the progressive left. (I'm just trying to point out the obvious here.)

Ask yourself this, would FOX ever give up it's valuable FOX & Friends morning show with Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade, for a Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren show? Bringing lefty Dennis Kucinich on from time to time as an occasional guest, or having Juan Williams served up as liberal fodder for a five-person conservative panel of pundits, is not the same as turning your valuable morning drive programming over to the liberal left. Given this very important distinction, it would seem that by logic, MSNBC should actually be the one using "Fair & Balanced" as their official slogan. FOX News on the other hand because of its narrowcast focus, could arguably be called Unfair & Biased, instead.

To be perfectly fair, neither FOX nor MSNBC are doing journalism news any favors. They are essentially the real "fake" news. They don't give it to you straight up. You get it politically slanted. Given this bias, they do not fit the definition of a true news organization, however, MSNBC is much closer to mainstream news because they will out bad Democrats when needed. To the contrary, it would appear that FOX News does not go after those within their own party, as evidenced by their deliberate editing of photos that depicted Trump's association with a child-sex trafficker, Jeffery Epstein. Given this deliberate obfuscation of the facts, it would appear that Murdoch's FOX is not only very willing to look the other way when it come to the accountability of conservatives, it also appears quite willing to falsify evidence, to mislead its viewers.

Two more perfect examples of FOX News deception would be the the false and repeated claim that the 2020 election was rigged and stolen, as well as their handling of the January 6, 2021 US Capitol invasion by loyal Trump supporters. In spite of the fact that Trump deliberately held an early morning rally to encourage and whip up the crowd, adding that he would also be walking along with them, FOX News once again carried water for Trump and shamelessly spun the attack as being coordinated and organized by Antifa and the liberal left. The claim is ridiculous in lieu of the fact that most Americans had already watched the Trump pep rally in the morning and then later that day saw with their own eyes the number of red MAGA hats and blue Trump flags of those who stormed the building. To try and place the blame on the liberal left, when this was an exclusive Trump rally, is not just stretching the truth as much as it's a total 180-degree distortion of reality. FOX News has been selective about the video it shows, trying to minimalize the sea of red MAGA hats and blue Trump flags it shows on-air. This becomes yet another disturbing hypocritical example of FOX News having a difficult time in telling the truth and calling out their own.

FOX News also appears to have consciously downplayed the riots at the US Capitol, with Tucker Carlson simply describing the attack as a "Protest that got out of hand." That would not be an accurate assessment, in the least. A protest that got out of hand might better describe a civil protest regarding cops killing civilians, but not an assault on the US Capitol, which just happened to hold the Senate and the House which were both coincidentally in the process of trying to certify electoral college votes for the 2020 Presidential election at the time of the attack.

Social media records are now showing that the Capitol event was not just a mob incited to action, but also a deliberately coordinated and well-timed insurrection, likely engineered to disrupt the certification process. The bottom line here is, when you look at the difference in network news coverage, all news networks are focusing on the Capitol attack, except for FOX News, which has decided instead to focus instead on censorship and a non-existent 1st amendment argument, all because Trump was banned from privately owned Twitter, primarily for inciting the riots.

For the record... the UK recognized the danger of FOX' blatantly skewed partisan news to fairness and accuracy and in 2017 actually purged them from their airwaves.

1996 Conservative Media Expansion

It needs to be noted that Reagan was not the only one to affect US broadcasting. The Bill Clinton administration also played a definable role in the takeover of the US media through the Telecommunications Act of 1996, overhauling FDR's Communications Act of 1934.  (Clinton also infamously overturned FDR's Glass-Steagal Act as well.) In all fairness though, it has to be noted that these were all Republican introduced bills that were sponsored and pushed through by a Republican majority in both the House and Senate. Clinton then went along with the Republican majority and signed both bills. The net effect of the new Telecommunications Act were immediate changes to the station ownership rule, making it possible to buy more than one signal in a market.

The new de-regulation made a dramatic change in previous ownership limits, allowing ownership of more than one signal in a market and the re-sale of a station license as easily as selling real estate. This created something this author likes to refer to as "Century 21 Broadcasting" because it suddenly made it possible to sell stations at will and to own more than one broadcast signal in a US market. It overnight made media dominance of a market or region possible to the ultra-wealthy and their corporate interests. Now, it was possible for the wealthy to dominate the media in ways never before possible. (The SCOTUS Citizens United ruling also makes this much easier.)

What becomes very apparent in all of this is that an organized conservative shift was taking place at that time in the US media. The 1996 arrival of the FOX News Channel, coupled with the conservative take over of talk-radio, was clearly no coincidence. The timely Telecommunications Act that year would seem to confirm as much. The impetus in '96 was nothing short of an all out attempt to push this country more conservative. (For the record, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was brought to the Republican led House and Senate by Bob Dole (R) and John McCain (R) who both sponsored the bill, but it was Democrat Bill Clinton who signed it. This may be confusing to some, but truth be told, Clinton has not always worked for the best interests of the Democratic party. Consider his very close affiliation and partnership with George HW Bush after leaving office. A case could be made that, by his own actions, Clinton bows to another authority. Such an entity would be the uber-wealthy who have all the real power in this world and do not cater to left and right causes, per se. Politicians and our political system have long been mere tools for the ultra-wealthy.) With this said, the year 1996 should be noted and remembered for the documented and concerted effort to lay a new conservative foundation for this country, arguably moving the nation much closer to accepting the long sought fascist values and ideals of the super-rich.

Attack From Within

The United States now finds itself in much the same position that Troy found itself in, when the Trojan horse eventually dispatched its secret hidden cargo to seize the city. It needs to be recognized that the 1996 conservative media wave was no accident. It was an organized effort to push the US into embracing a more conservative, right-leaning political ideology. It also needs to be noted that this new ideology is much farther right than the GOP of my youth, instead hailing to a dark predecessor from my parent's era, a much farther right force that we already defeated once in 1945.

The new FOX influenced GOP is much farther right than it is moderate or center-cut, and all of it is dispensed under the guise of red, white and blue, with countless US flags and shining stars to enchant their audience, much like a shiny object to a captivated dog. That analogy is very much closer to reality than many would like to admit. The reality is, the awareness and recognition of an outside foreign entity with no US allegiance, using deliberate patriotic stage props as enticements, has been naively lost on the multitude of ignorant US viewers - just like candy to the gullible young victims of a child predator. Those unsuspecting of the ruse see all the stars and stripes - and they watch - out of an ingrained patriotism, falsely thinking that a foreign owned network is all about preserving US interests.

Again, nothing could be further from the truth. 

An Agenda

The fact of the matter is, there is an agenda at hand. The US is being shifted to a more conservative way of political thinking, one perhaps more willing to embrace fascist undertones of the right, an ideology that has consistently been held as antithetical to a democracy, but worked at earnestly by the uber-rich since the early 1900s. It's an ideology they once financed and fervently tried to push, first through the Bonus Army attempted coup to overthrow FDR, then the later support of Hitler in Nazi Germany. They have since found new ways to push that same fascist agenda at home, although cloaked in a much different light. Since 1996, it can be argued that Americans have been inundated with right-wing propaganda through a meticulously masterminded and carefully orchestrated effort of deliberate intent and clear objective. Sadly enough, it is working. The recent 2020 election should be proof enough of that.

News

News is meant to be informative and enlightening, bringing knowledge and understanding to society about the contemporary events happening around us daily. When the news reporting becomes compromised and is no longer about factual truth, it also becomes an inherent danger and a poison to the society that is consuming it. Thus, an honest news media is an essential core component of a free and open democracy. Some call this the fourth estate, however, if you look closer, given the make-up of today's corporate news, it is nothing more than a wolf in sheep's clothing.

The fourth estate, in its worst iteration, is often accused of steering the nation's news purely for political and economic policy reasons. This would appear to depict the role of today's corporate media accurately enough, although many don't have a proper grasp on the historical background behind our news system. The first dawn of news control occurred in 1915, when JP Morgan associates bought control of the nation's top 25 newspapers. It was an effort by the ultra-wealthy to drive the US into WWI through the Preparedness Movement. The second wave of news control came with the CIA's infiltration of the media through Operation Mockingbird, which was exposed in 1975 by the Church Committee. The third iteration now has media members as part of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Given these numerous instances of entangling alliances, it would seem quite apparent that, by its actions, the fourth estate is indeed about directing policy of state, as well as maintaining the status quo in society. The effort is not to inform as much as it is to steer public thinking in regards to critical issues that have state consequence.

However, in its most altruistic and beneficent form, an honest news media is a necessary and vital, key component for any democracy. Today, this is coming more from free lance journalists and independent media. Together, they have become the fifth estate. There is also much citizen journalism from the internet, but that too often gets sullied by others who do not conduct due diligence and proper research in their reporting, which too often reaches tabloid levels as far as truthfulness. Facebook and Twitter are good examples of bad resources for news because more often than not, they are regurgitated hearsay from unreliable, partisan or unsanctioned sources.

The bottom line is, our press is an essential necessity for holding our elected leaders accountable. Without it, how do we know who the good guys and bad guys are? It has always been said that we need an honest news media as part of our checks and balances, as a caretaker of our republic and our democracy. Without it, we have no watchdog to protect our hallowed and precious rights, liberties and freedoms. A strong, honest and unbiased free press is the only hope of preserving a democracy of "we the people." It is absolutely essential for its survival. The reasons for this should be simple and easy enough for anyone to understand.

The Key to Any Takeover

For the record: the way to topple a democracy from within is to fool its people. The way to fool the people is really not that hard - you simply steal their news media.

This is exactly what has happened because the ultra-rich who have been attacking our way of life and our Constitution, also just happen to own our media system. Some might rightfully call this "check and checkmate." They would not be far from the truth. The media rule changes under both Reagan and Clinton have been demonstrably one sided. They have been extremely profitable to broadcast ownership, but disastrous for democracy. It's time for "we the people" to recognize that the watchdog of our democracy has been neutered and removed from duty. There is no longer anyone watching the house while we sleep.

Since the arrival of conservative media we have witnessed political acrimony in this country like we have never seen in the modern era, or ever before. The 2016 and 2020 Presidential campaigns were two of the most controversial on record, with division among Americans at near civil war levels. The animus between CNN and FOX is glaring. This is having a clearly divisive effect on the United States. Those that own the media machine appear to be pushing the lemmings closer to the cliff's edge. It very much feels as if the herd is purposefully being steered to a new civil war. This suits the ultra-wealthy quite well because in war, there are always spoils for the rich.

It is long past time for all of us - Democrats and Republicans - to stand up and demand a return to media integrity and fairness, instead of politically partisan news. Most people agree, they would rather know the real truth, instead of having something that wasn't true forced upon them. To date, the American people have had so much smoke blown up our collective asses by the mainstream corporate media, it's a wonder we're not all farting smoke rings by now. Until we have a national movement by all Americans, demanding an unbiased and rational news media, "we the people" will only become further divided. The current media system has been gamed against us. Many will say we're not being given the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Fake News

Ironically enough, in the midst of all of this, one of the new manufactured buzzwords of the last few years is the term, "Fake News." This negative phrase has a dual use, the first of which is to create a distinction between real news and false news - the latter having a biased slant to it, to support or promote specific goals or ideology. The second usage is a counter-use, to try and discredit real news that is perhaps too revealing or upsetting to those with opposing goals or ideology. It is also aimed at those who actually try to provide real news that the corporate media is not telling or is telling falsely. In short, it can either signify false news or is meant to muddy the water and obfuscate the issue with real news.

This word contrivance isn't really used as much against these partisan news outlets as it should be. Instead, use of this new term has primarily been reserved to confuse the public and act as a political defense against those who do happen to reveal any uncomfortable truths that some might want suppressed or buried.

Fake news is obviously not real news because it is not based in fact or it has its facts horribly skewed. Fake news is essentially just disinformation and propaganda. For lack of a better descriptor, it is poison in the well, an appropriate metaphor regarding its threat to Democracy.

So now, here we are, at the precipice of national destruction - and but for God himself, with no one to save us but ourselves, yet we have been forced into an ugly spiteful division that has us fighting and pointing fingers at each other, further eroding our country. Our vaunted protector of democracy has been taken over, corrupted, defiled and used against us. News has now been split into two versions of political truth. Blue and red. All you have to do is simply pick the one that best suits you from our bought-and-paid-for two-party political system of truths. Just like American fast-food, its all prepackaged and ready to go, with each truth featuring gun rights and abortion rights, in pro or con, however, both parties would very much prefer that you only support one of the two. And thank you for your left-right cooperation in advance.    ;o)

In a recent conversation with CNN host Chris Cuomo, former longtime ABC reporter Sam Donaldson had this to say about the plethora of news and so-called "fake news" outlets now presenting themselves to people over the internet, "Where do we go? Who do we believe? It's sort of up for grabs."

Well, that's a discomforting thought, for sure. That sounds like more chaos coming. Don't be surprised either because the watchdog of our democracy has undeniably been castrated. It won't get any better until "we the people" finally say, no more.

If all of this is new to you, you might be asking yourself right about now, how is any of this possible? It is because people still naively and gullibly believe that it is illegal to lie on television. To be clear, it is not illegal to lie on television. There is no such law.

Case in point: advertising would be much different if lying was not allowed on TV.   :o)

Solution

After the Capitol insurrection, many people are rightly upset about the deaths and chaos caused by the Trump rally - turned insurrection. With this public outrage there have been calls from some to actually do away with FOX News in the US, for helping to perpetuate the 2020 election lie. Some have actually called their local cable and satellite providers asking them to stop carrying FOX News, as well as FOX Business Network, Newsmax and One America News Network (OAN).

The Washington Post's Max Boot has gone so far as to say, "large cable companies such as Comcast and Charter Spectrum, which carry Fox News and provide much of its revenue in the form of user fees, need to step in and kick Fox News off. And if smaller competitors such as One America News and Newsmax continue to incite viewers, they, too, should be booted off."

New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof is on record as saying "I’d like to see pressure on advertisers to withdraw from Fox News so long as it functions as an extremist madrasa, and cable providers should be asked why they distribute channels that peddle lies."

MSNBC’s Anand Giridharadas questioned on-air whether Fox News "is a thing that should exist in America." As extreme as such a suggestion might sound to some, to others it does have punitive merit, given FOX's history of shading the truth - and in light of the dire ramifications caused by propagating the 2020 election lie.

One would think FOX News could see the writing on the wall and would come clean about the  false election claims, but then again the gravity of their own actions in furthering the lie has to play a role in their reluctance to come clean about the election ruse. Perhaps this is why they are trying to detract from what happened at the capitol, by shamelessly saying it was "just a protest that got out of hand" or that others from the liberal left were responsible for the capitol attack. They appear unwilling to accept what we all saw for ourselves, with our own eyes - that FOX furthered the unfounded lie to its audience about a stolen election. As a result of their complicity in the election farce, they are clearly culpable in regards to the division that has risen after the fact and for helping to foment what happened at the capitol.

Setting the harshest of these suggestions aside, at the very least, if our democracy and republic are to survive, we very much need an impartial regulatory commission that monitors our news organizations 24/7, much like in the UK with Ofcom, which scrutinizes for impartiality and news accuracy on all news broadcasts.  Such a system would monitor the news and then be able to censure and/or fine broadcasters for straying from honest delivery of the news. It would be one way to hold those accountable who disseminate false news, specifically disinformation and divisive propaganda. There should be penalties and monetary fines for those issuing information that is patently false or skewed in a manner as to bend its understanding by the general public. Partisan news should be specifically targeted, if not banned altogether.

For those who might have reservations about constitutional free speech concerns, this is not an attack on the 1st amendment. To the contrary, it's a safeguard to help protect against those who willfully misuse it and abuse it. It's never been okay to yell fire in a crowded movie theater, just as it should never be okay to publicly broadcast divisive disinformation and dangerous propaganda to incite the public, much as FOX News has done since its inception. Knowing the importance of news to the general public, along with a newfound firsthand experience of what partisan news can actually do to divide a nation, a commission such as this should be viewed with the reverence of a judicial authority. It's long past time to hold news organizations accountable for spreading false/partisan news. An honest news system is necessary and profoundly integral for a flourishing democracy. A news overseer can only help strengthen our democracy, as well as establish needed safeguards for our 1st amendment rights. And with any luck FOX News will shape up and fly right - or ship out - abandoning the US to save itself from fines and liability, as it did in the UK.

The mention of a regulatory agency may cause some to squirm. The reservations are certainly not lost on this author. We do NOT need censorship of free speech. What we need are safeguards to protect it. For those that blatantly misuse and abuse free speech, we do need repercussions to help deter others from doing the same. There have to be consequences for telling a false truth that brings serious harm to others.

If not a broadcast regulatory commission, at the very least, the FCC should demand an on-air disclaimer before any news broadcast that is politically oriented, saying...

"Important: The following is not a news program. It is an opinion-based program that gives a one-sided view of the news. It is not news fact. It is partisan political opinion about the news. All viewers should take note and be aware."

Such a mandatory public disclaimer before each program would go a long way towards helping prevent naive viewers from giving any immediate serious gravitas to what these partisan talking heads have to say. At least they might possibly think about the veracity of the information, instead of just accepting it as gospel truth.

The bottom line is, we can no longer allow a news system that acts irresponsibly and divisively. We need to learn from the division that partisan news has brought to the US.

Summary

To all those who have fallen for the Murdoch ruse, it's really not your fault. Shit happens when evil deliberately goes out of its way to fool good honest trusting people. People truly do (naively) believe that it is unethical and illegal to lie on television. That is how many are influenced and subdued into believing they are hearing truth, when in reality it is all disinformation and propaganda. This in turn slants their opinion.

As the old saying goes, "garbage in, garbage out."    :o(

So when it comes to the US news, don't trust a foreigner and definitely don't trust a Murdoch. After all, what can you possibly expect from an admittedly partisan news outlet that claims it is "fair & balanced" - and doing so with a moniker such as "FOX?"

Perhaps this knowledge just might also shed some light on the right's effort to demonize the liberal left and progressive democrats, all the while the left appears woefully hapless in keeping pace with the attack efforts of the right. In the end, there is an agenda at hand. So please, don't trust politically partisan news because it is not giving any of us the real truth. It's not news. It is strictly opinion. Partisan news is simply a way of steering people's political opinions. To the public, it's undue influence.

Please, don't fall for the left-right partisan political news bullshit or the divisiveness coming from the corporate news media, whether it be FOX News or MSNBC. News should never be a partisan endeavor. As such, these organizations do not work for the best interests of us all, but for the monetary interests of the ultra-wealthy instead. To be fair, not much can be said for ABC, CBS or NBC giving us the whole truth either, but at least they don't work from a left or right perspective, to divide the nation.

The bottom line here is this... know and understand that our two political parties are nowhere close to the end-all when it comes to power and real authority in this world. They are wholly dependent and beholden upon donations from the uber-rich to support them. Case in point... just look at how easy it was for a paper-billionaire to take over the Republican party.

As a result, the party of Lincoln is now in turmoil, however, the fact of the matter is, the Grand Old Party already had a branding issue prior to 2016 because its core base is growing much older. The dawn of Trump & company has now caused the GOP some major headaches that it perhaps did not see coming, because it got them into a blue-collar base they had no access to before. This is the issue now for Republicans, how to keep in touch with this hyperactive base without Trump and without admitting to them that they were lied to about the 2020 election. The confrontation for the GOP now becomes a choice between two things, either continue the Trump election lie to keep this new base or tell them the honest truth and risk losing it.

The irony in all of this is - much like the GOP, FOX is also now facing their own new challenges as a result of the Trump-effect. The Republican party has become divided and challenged by those from the extreme far-right. The backlash over FOX News' calling of longtime Republican stronghold Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden during the 2020 election has had serious repercussions, as loyal viewers for the first time ever have lashed out en masse at the network. As a result, rival wannabe's such as NewsMax and OAN have now found traction with a ravenous and increasingly farther-right audience that -  since the 2020 election defeat of Trump - appears perfectly primed for fresh new partisan venom and anger to feed off and suckle from. To be fair, this is not true of all conservatives. The GOP has been splintering since the advent of Trump. Two factions on the right are at odds  - those of the Grand Old Party and those who worship Trump. FOX News now finds itself having to fight for its brand, however, with a history of high ratings during Democratic administrations, the FOX ship could right itself once again under a Biden tenure, unless of course they suffer backlash for deliberately misleading their viewers regarding the 2020 election, which eventually led to the Capitol assault.

Don't think that the recent split in the Republican party will diminish any of their collective avarice for liberals. In both of these conservative camps the hatred has built to the point where Democrats are now being referred to in adversarial war terminology, as if they were a fierce foreign enemy that is the single greatest threat to all those living in the US. This level of anger and political division never used to exist in the US, until the arrival of FOX News.

The bitter irony that this domestic division is being pushed by a foreign-owned news organization cannot be overstated, nor overlooked. (This specific scenario was guarded against under the Communications Act of 1934.) The allowance of foreign ownership in the US media has indeed had the adverse effect that the FDR administration once feared. It should be noted that the fatal move away from the Communications Act of 1934 was led by House and Senate controlled Republicans, as well as signed by Democrat President Bill Clinton. The blame goes both ways.

As a result, we now have partisan news here in the US. With its arrival, the current divisiveness throughout the country has been ratcheted up to an all-time high in the modern era, literally to pre-civil war levels, as many conservatives in the US are now being pushed even further to the far right, to dangerous extremes that have never turned out well for those who might have dared to foolishly embrace them in the past. (IE: The Third Reich fell far short of lasting the thousand years they said it would.)

It's time for all Americans to recognize and understand the inherent dangers and pitfalls that partisan news brings to a society. The spread and further bifurcation of such a malignant news system is not in our country's best interest. It is without doubt a clear and undeniable cancer upon our democracy, as we have known it. It is not news. It is disinformation and propaganda and those are a deadly toxin for any democracy.

Perhaps the most important distinction to note, once again - this has not come from an American enterprise, but from a foreign owned broadcast outlet.

Don't let partisan news further divide us as a nation because that has been their plan all along, as the uber-wealthy seek a one-world government. In order to obtain that, they need to topple the US first and take away our guns, along with our ability to defend ourselves. It's time to say no to this fomented dissension and to stay united. (At least it would be a much fairer fight in defending our country and our constitution.)

It's time to recognize partisan left-right news for what it is, a danger to our democracy. It is also time to realize that we are all being played, no matter which side of the political fence you are on. Those that have the wealth to influence political parties and to own such broadcast networks are the people we seriously need to worry about. They are the real problem in our society. It is time to reason and think for yourself. Don't let our bought-and-paid-for political parties or our partisan news media do it for you. There is no left or right thinking involved in common sense. Human issues that affect us all are always much easier to solve together, as opposed to being divided.

It's interesting that we can like someone because they share the same interests or hobbies - like the same sports teams or music and entertainment - but the minute there is an R or a D associated politically, it can change everything.

That's bent. It's wrong and just plain flat out bassackwards for an intelligent society.

For the record... we're all in this together. United we stand or divided we fall.

The fact is, we are all now gravely threatened because the vanguard of our republic and democracy - our news press - has been seriously compromised with biased, partisan viewpoints that are exclusionary to half the population. We are being deliberately divided in a way not seen for 150 years. By design or by accident, this isn't good for anyone in this country. If you are not seeing this same scenario, you might not be paying close enough attention or perhaps are simply watching too much partisan news.

We are now living with the consequences and ramifications of Reagan and Clinton broadcast deregulation. In hindsight it's clear to many now that going against the intent of the 1934 Communications Act, allowing a foreign owner into our US media system for the first time ever, was indeed a very bad thing for the unity of the United States.

A question that everyone needs to ask is this... would an American owner, one with deeply passioned US ties, have better presented conservative US viewpoints, rather than a foreigner, one who at best has only monetary interests at heart? Would a US ownership group have made FOX News as acrimonious as the Murdoch family did?

So here we are now, as politically and racially divided as 1862. Like lemmings, we are all now being steered to a very dangerous precipice. The country has become intensely divided along political and racial lines. Partisan news has been used to drive a wedge between us, to divide us and to conquer us, yet in all honesty, there are power$ far greater than Democrat or Republican at work here. Outside monetary interests have always had their eye on the US. No one should really be surprised that we've been strategically divided in half because quite frankly, this is the way you conquer a nation.

One way to stop this division and to push toward US unity would be for Americans to regain trust in our news. One step toward that would be to eradicate that which divided us - partisan news. This might sound like heresy to some, but to readily dismiss such a notion would be to dismiss recognition of the issue that has pushed us to the edge of the cliff in the first place.

Something so vital to our nation's democracy as honest news has to become a mandate in order to promote and ensure civil order within the nation. If we are indeed all working together to bring back unity, then the number one priority should be to squelch the bitter and partisan presentation of news in the United States. Once again, as suggested, the creation of an impartial nonpartisan regulatory overseer to monitor for false news would go a long way towards achieving this. They would have the power to fine and censure, as well as ensure that the facts were truthful and provable.

More than anything else, it would behoove us as a nation to return to that which protected us before, the principle that foreign broadcast ownership within the US is indeed a threat to the stability of our nation. We have now see firsthand the consequences of such a miscalculation. Again, the question we all need to ask is, would an American ownership group have steered FOX News in the same divisive manner that the Murdoch's have, knowing our country was teetering on the edge? Many would now agree, foreign ownership needs to once again be banned in the US. It's time for the Murdoch family and tabloid based NewsCorp to leave, once and for all.

All of this would go a long way toward bringing back respect for the US news media.

Perhaps the best advice of all, please don't get your news from only one source, most especially from partisan sources such as FOX News or MSNBC. Look to other sources, such as the Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, to balance your perspective. It's impossible to make an informed decision without having a foundation of the facts.

With the latter in mind - please - be on guard the next time someone yells "fake news." Again, look to other sources and get the facts on your own from reliable news sources. For the record: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram do not qualify as credible news sources. Unsubstantiated rumors are what got us to this precipice in the first place.

In closing, those who do not trust government or the media should know full well that those who work against "we the people" more often than not use Hegelian principles to deceive us, in order to get what they want. Just know and be aware that it is in the interest of some to see all of us fight. Only a very select few in this world have the means to influence and foster such problems, while also profiting from them. Once again, these are the people we truly need to be worried about, the unscrupulous ultra-wealthy. Republicans and Democrats need to know their real enemy in this world.

Make no mistake about it, as our early forefathers warned, divided, we will indeed fall. So please be on guard America because partisan news is clearly dividing us all.

 



"We the People" Do Not Want, Nor Need This, Again


The only people who suffer in a war are the people. The super-rich who push the wars are protected and they always profit.

 



Read more about FOX on MediaDeceit.com

FCC Broadcast Ownership Rules

See Also:

Fox News

Fox Corporation

News Corp (2013–present)

List of assets owned by News Corp

30 reasons why Fox News is not legit

A Rigorous Scientific Look Into the 'Fox News Effect'

Poll Reveals Fox News as the Winner of ‘Fake News Trophy’

Fox News Busted for Altering Protest Images and Video Again

FOX Argues in Court, It's Not Illegal to Lie on TV -  and Wins!

News Corp’s Tabloid Troubles: The Downside of Competition

Analysis Shows 60-Percent of FOX News 'Facts' Are Really Lies

Australia's Murdoch moment: has News Corp finally gone too far?

Mounting evidence the tide is turning on News Corp, and its owner

Why you won't find Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson on British TV

The Secret History of News Corp: a Media Empire Built on Spreading Propaganda

Fox News Edits Video to Remove Police With Guns Drawn, Cuffing Innocent Black People

The pro-Trump media world peddled the lies that fueled the Capitol mob. Fox News led the way.
 

 
 

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