HuffPo’s “eulogy” for Roger Ailes

Yes, Roger Ailes was “politically challenged” and a sexual harasser to boot, but one senses unsavory glee in HuffPo’s headline announcing his sudden death, probably from a fall in the bathroom combined with other medical ailments. Still, I can’t find it in me to celebrate Ailes’s death the way HuffPo did:

I’m not quite sure why we’re reluctant to speak ill of the just deceased, given that many of them, like Ailes, were vile people; perhaps readers can weigh in with their hypotheses. All I know is that when I hear someone say “I’m glad he’s dead,” I think less of the speaker. My one exception was Christopher Hitchens’s funny and splenetic take on the death of Jerry Falwell.

HuffPo has literally gone insane, and the headline above shows both its frenetic and kneejerk Leftism as well as its total absence of genuine humor

89 Comments

  1. Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I feel the same way as you. I just got in an argument on Facebook over this.

  2. karaktur
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    It’s not classy to speak ill of the dead because it is likely that someone, somewhere lost a loved one.

    • Craw
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Yes. And’s not really just speaking ill, it’s celebrating at the demise.

      • Craw
        Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        I do have another, broader hypothesis. We do in general still think of the dead as part of the community for a while. This is not as irrational as it sounds when you state it as baldly as I just did. An example will clarify my point. Why do we honor wills? He’s dead, what’s the difference? The difference is that it matters to those living how their affairs will be handled after their death, and affects whether they have to take steps now, prematurely. The way we solve this is by honoring the will, and treating the deceased’s desire and intent as still having importance. In short, as treating the dead as still, in some ways, part of the community.

        And it’s rude to attack people who can’t talk back. He may have died just a few minutes ago but if his is still seen as part of the community then it’s rude to insult him when he cannot answer.

        • somer
          Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          Plus as you said earlier I don’t like any celebrating someone’s demise and think of the relatives as karactur said. Personally I thought Ailes was utterly odious but I certainly wouldn’t celebrate his demise at any time or indulge in an orgy of nasty comments just post his death. Re below, Ghosts don’t come into it (for me anyway) either.

          • Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

            Apparently, Ailes had a father who held open his arms and encouraged him to jump from the top bunk bed, then moved back and let him fall. To teach him about life.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

              The fall apparently destroyed the part of his cortex responsible for a conscience.

            • somer
              Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

              If that’s true that’s really sad. Pity he turned out like that also .. Evil old world.

            • Nicholas K.
              Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

              I just read that Ailes had hemophilia, a genetic condition present from birth. If that story is true, his father was risking serious harm to his son. Monstrous.

    • zoolady
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      In my opinion, this old ”don’t speak ill of the dead” rule is the result of our fear of ghosts. If you’ve maligned a dead person, their ghost might come back to haunt you. It’s like ”knocking on wood”…same idea. Ghosts can’t hear you so…you’re safe.

      Like Christopher, I see no reason to restrain comment in the right circumstances. Certainly, he would not have told a small child he was glad her father was dead! But commenting on a broadcast (to which he’d been invited by people who KNEW he wasn’t a Fallwell fan) was perfectly appropriate.

      Wonder what eulogy “Huffnomo” would give Cosby?

      • Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        “In my opinion, this old ”don’t speak ill of the dead” rule is the result of our fear of ghosts.”

        I think that’s a good hypothesis, I wish I’d thought of it.

        • zoolady
          Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          Thanks..some things just ring ”true,” don’t they?

        • Posted May 19, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          What if it was the other way around (or bidirectional)? People didn’t feel comfortable with the “bad speaking” and suggested that the person now gone wasn’t quite really – a ghost. (I’m not wedded to either of these, but it does seem to be two alternatives)

      • Richard C
        Posted May 18, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        I don’t fear ghosts, yet I find celebrating death to be barbaric. Ailes had done awful things to our political environment and sold fake news to many viewers who might otherwise trust a major studio name like “Fox”. And his reported behavior towards women was reprehensible.

        I celebrated when he was fired. There’s no virtue in celebrating now that he’s also dead. It adds nothing, and somewhere a family member or loved one is hurting.

        • GBJames
          Posted May 18, 2017 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          I’m unmoved by your appeal to the grieving family. The actions of the now-dead person should not be their burden, but in any case they have no right to be “protected” from reality. Roger Ailes was an awful person who did bad things to many people. He harmed his country profoundly.

          It is wrong to pretend that facts don’t exist. Our obligation should be firstly to the truth. Everyone grieves when a family member dies. But they will recover from that as we all do. The rest of us need to be clear about disapproving his “life choices”.

          • Richard C
            Posted May 18, 2017 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

            Nobody is advocating whitewashing his life. We’re talking about celebrating death.

            • GBJames
              Posted May 19, 2017 at 7:02 am | Permalink

              I thought the subject at the top of this minor thread was ”don’t speak ill of the dead” because…

              Sure enough.

            • Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

              Cheers to that! (I’ve no doubt Ailes, himself, celebrated the deaths of many, while he was alive.)

  3. Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    “I’m not quite sure why we’re reluctant to speak ill of the just deceased, given that many of them, like Ailes, were vile people; perhaps readers can weigh in with their hypotheses.”

    I’m no more reluctant to speak ill of someone after they’re dead than I was when they were living. That being said I wouldn’t say it to someone who loved the deceased, so maybe our motivation is the knowledge that it would hurt us to hear someone speaking ill of our dead loved ones.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      I’ve no compunction over speaking ill of the recently dead — as long as it’s someone I took equivalent shots at while they were still alive and able to defend themself.

    • Posted May 19, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      I have been devastated by rude remarks about dead loved ones.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I cannot say he did not have impact in his trade, I just did not think much of it. He was a large factor in the degradation of news journalism on Television as others chased his subjective approach down to the bottom. His fair and balanced side kick, O’Reilly followed him closer than most realized. He found his audience and milked it to the end.

  5. Sshort
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Read “Why Does Roger Ailes Hate America?” (2011) at esquire.com

    What Hitchens said about Falwell would apply equally to Ailes: “Give him an enema and you could bury him in a matchbox.”

    • johnw
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      +1

      • Randy schenck
        Posted May 18, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        I would certainly join that as well.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      The book The Loudest Voice in the Room about how Ailes built Fox News was pretty good, too.

  6. sensorrhea
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Without Ailes there would be no Trump. Give us a break if we celebrate his demise. He, more than any other individual, shamelessly broke America.

    • sensorrhea
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      To be clear I mean there would be no President Trump. Trump was already a name when Ailes perfected Fox News.

      • BJ
        Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        And you know this how? And only Ailes had something to do with it? Extreme left BS media artists had nothing to do with it?

        It feels like you’re just searching for reasons why it’s ok to celebrate the death of a human being.

        • sensorrhea
          Posted May 18, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          Out of curiosity, is there any human so awful that even you would celebrate their demise? (Historical figures included!)

          • Craw
            Posted May 18, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

            For me the answer is yes. But my list doesn’t include peaceful people whose “crime” was to differ with my opinions. Does yours?

            • sensorrhea
              Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

              Peaceful? Roger Ailes’ list of awful deeds & attributes is very long. Do some googling if you aren’t familiar with them and decide for yourselves. To me, yes, they rise to the level of being happy he’s dead. If you don’t think he has serious blood on his hands you must not appreciate the power of propaganda or the issues of health care, climate change, sentencing for non-violent drug offenses, unnecessary wars and on and on and on. (His disgusting years of serial sexual harassment, for which he received millions of dollars in severance pay, is only the tip of the iceberg.)

              • BJ
                Posted May 19, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

                “…sentencing for non-violent drug offenses, unnecessary wars and on and on and on.”

                So will you celebrate when Bill and Hillary Clinton die? I mean, Bill Clinton decimated the black community and is a sexual predator, and Hillary has been responsible for thousands of deaths through both her direct and proxy war actions.

              • sensorrhea
                Posted May 19, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

                People who believe those things can celebrate each in their own way and I will not deride them. I’d hate to be a person in the position of defending someone like Ailes, though. It rubs off.

              • BJ
                Posted May 20, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

                I’m not defending him, just as I won’t defend the policies Bill Clinton used against the black community or the wars Hillary got rolling. What I will do is defend his humanity, and theirs.

              • sensorrhea
                Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

                Please consider yourself officially holier than I.

              • Posted May 20, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

                Holier than I, too.
                Even the guy who brought his guns into a D.C. pizza parlour to save child sex slaves in the basement from Hillary Clinton’s side job — which basement, sex slaves, and side job never existed — got fired up to to this thanks to Ailes. “Follow the money.” It will lead to Ailes. There’s Ailes’ humanity.

              • sensorrhea
                Posted May 20, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

                Yep. Just watched “The Brainwashing of My Father” last night and it made me hate that evil sack of lampreys even more.

              • Joseph Lapsley
                Posted May 20, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

                I’m not denying his humanity by pointing out that a public figure like Ailes, who made no positive contributions to society, in fact quite the opposite (unlike the Clintons, who were politicians with pros and cons), should not be given a mealy-mouthed equivalency with others just because he died.

            • sensorrhea
              Posted May 21, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

              Apparently his son, during his eulogy, threatened the Fox women who alleged harassment. “I’m coming after them…and hell is coming with me.”

              Lovely family.

          • BJ
            Posted May 18, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

            Yes, people who commit or incite genocide. I really can’t think of anyone else. As the other commenter said, I certainly don’t celebrate the snuffing of a human life for disagreeing with me and spreading propaganda that does the same.

        • Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

          Have you been here long? Long enough to read Da Roolz? I suggest you read them. The link is in the upper left margin.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

          Fox News wasn’t the “final” cause (in the Aristotelian sense), or perhaps even the “proximate” cause, of Trump, but damned if it don’t bear a share of the blame.

    • Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      “He, more than any other individual, shamelessly broke America.”

      Agreed. Fox News invented alternative facts. Before Fox you had right wing spin, and left wing spin, but we all lived in the same reality where getting the facts straight, and integrity were the cornerstones of journalism.

      • BJ
        Posted May 18, 2017 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        Fox News invented alternative facts? Alternative facts have existed since the beginning of human civilization.

        • Posted May 18, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

          “Fox News invented alternative facts? Alternative facts have existed since the beginning of human civilization.”

          Fair enough, then let’s say they popularized it in the US media to an extent that would make Goebbels proud.

          • Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

            Well done! (You, Mike, and not Ailes.)

          • somer
            Posted May 18, 2017 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

            +1

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          It is, however, the only news channel that makes one dumber: Regular Fox News viewers get more answers wrong on current-events questionnaires than do people who watch no news at all.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            Here’s a link to the Poynter survey, in case you think I’m pulling your leg.

            • BJ
              Posted May 19, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

              Oh, I know. I personlly know a couple of people who only watch Fox News. Their opinions can border on insanity.

  7. Nicholas K.
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t say it to a grieving member of his family, but I am not sorry he’s dead. Nor am I pleased. His impact on the trade was significant but entirely destructive to our democracy. I only hope he is eventually remembered not for his political and media influence, but for the fact that (from NYT): “Mr. Ailes died in disgrace, forced out of his network last summer in the wake of multiple allegations that he preyed upon women who worked for him with offers to bestow advancement and promotion in return for sexual relations..”

  8. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    It was Bill Maher who noted that it was usually wrong to speak ill of the dead but ‘lets face it’ , Jerry Falwell made a hobby out of it.

    Much more cringeworthy is Sean Hannity’s eulogy ending with “But to his enemies know this; I say ADVANTAGE ROGER, In his mind he just has a head start in preparing to kick your ass in the next life. “.

  9. Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like to speak ill of the dead* mostly because some day I will be too. Do unto others, and all that.

    *Critiques that are not of a personal or salacious nature I don’t mind.

  10. Kevin
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I had to Google him. I had only a vague memory of him associated with O’Reilly and some women.

    In any case, he looked unhealthy. If alive, he was (would have been) probably more miserable than dead. Death means he escapes his own physical morbidity and also the vitriol of so many of his detractors.

  11. Stephen Barnard
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    The only joy I get in Ailes’s death is that he was publicly humiliated and fired before it happened.

  12. Whitt Staircase
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Here’s
    another one.

  13. GBJames
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I don’t get pleasure in his death but neither do I feel any inkling of grief. He was a person who did great damage to his country and the world. We are not diminished by his exit and in an alternate universe where he departed even earlier, things are probably better for it.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

  14. jwthomas
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    A recent tweet reports that all skirts in the Fox newsroom were lowered to half mast. I like that one.

  15. Andy
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Ok, I’ve got 3 (some already mentioned):
    1. Fear of ghosts/ superstition.
    2. An appearance of unsportsmanlike behavior. Similar to kicking someone when they’re down, as in this case, they probably won’t get back up. (If they do, see point 1.)
    3. Remember the bit in the Lord of the rings where Gandalf gets the hobbits to spare Gollum, with an admonition something about not being too quick to take a life, when it’s so hard to restore? Well, I don’t know if I can express it on my phone, but wishing ill on anyone doesn’t usually do much good, especially for the wisher. 🙂

  16. harrync
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    What one thinks about another’s death is not something a person can control. So if you are glad a person is dead (or sorry a person is dead), there is nothing wrong with that. But I would not say out loud that I am glad a person is dead, any more than I would tell someone that the shirt they were wearing is atrocious. On the other hand, if a person has done really horrible things, like Ailes has, I see nothing wrong in pointing this out, and weather that person is alive or (recently) dead is irrelevant.

    • harrync
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Can a psychologist explain why I never spot my stupid mistypes until after posted? Whether/weather. And I suspect I have once again been the victim of auto-correct. Worst thing to ever happen to word processing.

      • Posted May 19, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        In my case (I’m no psychologist) I suspect my difficulty in finding mistakes when proofreading my own work is that I have memory of what I wanted to write.

  17. BobTerrace
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I “spoke ill” of the man before he died and see no reason to change that because he is dead. I don’t feel joy at his demise, but I do feel relief that there is no longer any way for him to practice vile things any longer.

    • sshort
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      To paraphrase Max Planck, progress advances one funeral at a time.

  18. Les Faby
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the Matchbox Falwell video.

  19. Merilee
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic rant by Hitch!!!

  20. Posted May 18, 2017 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Moors murderer Ian Brady died this week. He and his partner sexually assaulted and killed five kids. One of them has never been found. Can’t say I’d judge anyone harshly for ‘speaking ill’ of him.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moors_murders

  21. E.A. Blair
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    I go by a quote attributed to Clarence Darrow:

    “I have never killed anyone, but I have read some obituaries with great satisfaction.”

    There is a certain satisfaction in having people one considers reprehensible predecease you, and Ailes is one of them. I do not celebrate his death, but I do consider that the world is just a tad better with him not in it. As it turns out, most of the names on my “Clarence Darrow Memorial Reading List” are Republican politicians, but they’re all lined up behind my sister.

  22. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    “We should always speak good of the dead. Joan Crawford is dead. Good.”

    — Bette Davis

  23. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Since you featured a quote from H.L. Mencken yesterday, we should recall that the Bard of Baltimore had no compunction about speaking ill of the dead.

    Another classic of the genre, one that seems condignly timely now, is Hunter Thompson’s obit for Richard Nixon.

  24. Posted May 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Other than the recent activities for which Ailes was relieved from his position at Fox News, which I also find reprehensible, I know little about him. I would like to believe that no person is so vile that he/she has no redeeming qualities. If his father taught him about life in the manner mentioned above, no
    wonder Ailes turned out as he did (determinism and free will aside).

  25. Posted May 18, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I only know how relieved and happy I was when I heard of the death of that one woman most responsible for blocking passage of the Equal Rights Amendment — may her name be ever forgotten.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Can’t say I was heartbroken when the doyen of the Eagle Forum flew, either.

    • Sshort
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 12:05 am | Permalink

      But her “work” lives on in conservepedia.com, among other things, thanks to her evil spawn Andrew Schlafly. He started it because of “liberal bias” (or, “facts”)in wikipedia.

      This gem is from the article on Evolution:
      “In 2012, the science news website Livescience.com published a news article entitled Belief in Evolution Boils Down to a Gut Feeling which indicated that research suggests that gut feelings trumped facts when it comes to evolutionists believing in evolution.[28] In January of 2012, the Journal of Research in Science Teaching published a study indicating that evolutionary belief is significantly based on gut feelings.”

      • Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        That BS sure is enough to churn my gut.

  26. E.A. Blair
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    There are definitely people this world is better off without, but in most of those cases it would have been better had they never existed. Such speculations fuel the subgenre of science fiction known as “alternate histories”. Whatever we feel concerning the deaths of people like Ailes, we can feel relieved that they are no longer doing harm. I recently came face to face with a situation where someone in my community of friends and associates with whom I had had an adversarial relationship – even to the point where, when he tried to “make nice” with me, I told him that the only way he could make me happy was to leave me alone – died of a heart attack at age 45. I won’t miss him, and I am not happy he’s dead, but I am feeling a bit of relief that I won’t have to deal with his presence any further.

    • GBJames
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      I don’t think I knew that person. 😉

    • Posted May 19, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      And for most of us, such is celebration enough: the relief that the unworthy individual is permanently gone.

  27. Mark R.
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    I was only disturbed by Chris Cornell’s death. His suicide sucks…Ailes? Just didn’t do a positive thing so no bother.

  28. mrclaw69
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    My personal take on Ailes’ death has been this: In life I thought he was a blight on the US media who’s done tremendous damage to US politics – and, to top it off, he was a sexual predator. As such I didn’t like him at all.

    In death my opinion of him has not changed and his death hasn’t changed anything for which he’s been responsible. However, like most people, he probably had friends and family. He may have been a ‘nice’ or generous guy (to them at least). They will likely mourn him.

    Plus, as Jerry said, it’s unseemly to loudly cheer the death of a person (unless that person was Hitler – which Ailes, bad as he was, wasn’t).

    In summary: “Bye Roger Ailes. I didn’t like you and I won’t miss you, but I’m not going to be a d*ck about it”.

  29. Joseph Lapsley
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    My take: perhaps in some (many) cases one should not “speak ill of the dead”. But pulling punches about a public figure as destructive as Ailes is a disservice to the truth. Mealy-mouthed, over-generous evaluations of such figures only clouds an important issue which needs all the clarity it can get.

  30. revelator60
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    During his life Ailes contributed nothing of value to the world and made it a worse place, so his death in that respect is a relief. Furthermore, he did far more damage than Falwell, so if Hitchens were alive I have no doubt that he would have been even more gloriously rude about Ailes’s bucket-kicking.

  31. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    For the 2nd time ever, I have to disagree with Dr. Coyne. The following posting expresses my feelings about the long overdue demise of the entirely reprehensible Mr. Ailes perfectly:

    News And Guts
    Yesterday at 16:15 ·

    “Never speak ill of the dead” is the old expression. Because, as much as I may not have liked someone during their time on earth, it’s nicer, more accepted, to say nothing rather than criticize the departed. And we adhere to that principle, normally. Roger Ailes was not normal. Never before have I heard of someone’s passing and felt a sense of relief. Finally, he could do no more harm. No person in my lifetime has done more to divide this country than the madman of Fox “News”. And it was all about money. That’s it. And he made bucketloads off the charade of “fair and balanced”. What’s sad is that so many good-hearted Americans bought it—the lies, the obfuscations, the hatred, and paranoia. Families were divided. Fathers stopped speaking to daughters. Sons to their mothers. All because of Roger Ailes’ bullshit. There’s no polite way to say it. America was brainwashed by this man. And of course we learned late in his life that there was another side to Ailes, a secret side known only to the women he allegedly harassed and assaulted. We were a better country before Roger Ailes. We will never be the same now that he’s gone.

    –Wayne Nelson
    News & Guts

  32. Stephen Barnard
    Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    There’s a vast difference between “celebrating” someone’s death and having no sympathy, or even relief about it.

    • Posted May 20, 2017 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      Relief = cause for celebration.

      In stark contrast, when Christopher Hitchens died, I did my best to celebrate, but it was not a celebration of his death. It was a celebration of his life and all he gave us of his wit and wisdom, insight and knowledge.


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