Matt Drudge's Idiotic, Uninformed War Against The Chevy Volt

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2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

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Recently named by Gizmodo as the second most viral person on the Internet (ahead of Ashton Kutcher!), Matt Drudge is the go-to guy for headlines guaranteed to feed red meat to the right-hand side of the U.S. political spectrum.

And he hates electric cars. Boy, does that man hate anything with a plug.

And if it's the "failed" Chevy Volt, from the bailed-out "Government Motors," that goes double.


UPDATE: The article you're reading was originally published Monday, December 20. Neatly proving our point, a day later, Drudge posted not one but two new anti-Volt headlines.

Amusingly, one is a video clip of Neil Cavuto of the Fox "News" Channel "interviewing" an "expert" from the notorious National Legal and Policy Center, which produces "studies" and "reports" with a bias against GM in general and the Volt specifically.


With a graphic design that smacks of 1998 and a great deal of bold-faced and underlined type, CAPITAL LETTERS, exclamation points !!!, and bright red copy, his eponymous Drudge Report is hard on the eyes but undeniably successful in propounding a very specific world view.

Also see:  Chevy Volt Owner Goes Head-To-Head With Fox News, Survives

 Closet secrets

Unfortunately, one of the several skeletons hiding deep in the Drudge closet is that his Volt headlines are monumentally flawed jeremiads that don't come close to qualifying as journalism.

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

Enlarge Photo

Often using a single fact, conspicuously free of context--whether it concerns the global auto industry, consumer car-buying behavior, technology rollouts, or just plain old accuracy--most of them are meant to do only one thing: tear down the Volt to an audience that believes it's a failure and an example of everything that's wrong with the world today.

Oh, and it's all Obama's fault, by the way.

A simple topic search shows that Drudge has published a total of 12 headlines about the Volt, comprising links to 10 stories (the last two stories were repeated a day or two later). So let's go through them.

Ancient news

The most recent pair feel the most desperate, and by far the most laughable. Under the banner headline, "AUDI Chief on Chevy Volt: 'A car for idiots'," Drudge links to a story covering Audi chief Johan de Nysschen's comment about people who buy Volts.

Johan de Nysschen

Johan de Nysschen

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There's just one problem: That comment was made more than two years ago, well before journalists had driven the production car, any actual Volts had gone on sale, and any cars had been purchased by real live--and very eager--human beings.

That's called grasping at straws.

"Gov't Motors," so very 2009

Then there are a pair of links to an Associated Press story discussing the potential failure mechanism that allowed a battery pack to catch fire--three weeks after the fact--after it and the Volt that contained it were destroyed in an NHTSA crash test.

2011 Chevrolet Volt during IIHS crash testing

2011 Chevrolet Volt during IIHS crash testing

Enlarge Photo

Drudge's headline there? "BAILOUT: Gov't Motors offers to buy back Chevy Volts".

That's technically accurate (the "Government Motors" slur aside), though you would have to read fully nine paragraphs down to find the news that CEO Dan Akerson said GM would buy back Volts from any nervous owner.

Since then, GM says, "a few dozen" owners have requested loaner cars or asked GM to repurchase their Volts. Hardly a rush for the exits.

Good heavens, an accurate headline

Following that are two comparatively accurate headlines (though again with the "Govt' Motors" thing--isn't that just a little 2009, Matt?).

They cover GM's loaner-car offer to Volt owners and the news of a second battery pack fire, though you'd never know that fire was in a battery pack that had deliberately been wrecked. In a lab. By government employees.

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Comments (70)
  1. Well done. Now if we can get Drudge to link to this article.

  2. If journalistic slander was a crime Drudge and Murdoch and their confederates would all be in jail right now.

    Journalistic Slander: intentionally disseminating misinformation or false information as if it were factual to the public. (or information one knew or should have known to be wrong [meaning, did a minimum of homework])

  3. The unfortunate thing is electric cars are now becoming a political football and are liked or disliked not because of their virtues or deficiencies, but based on what side of the political spectrum you fall on. Disgusting.

  4. This is one of the reasons I stopped voting and do not associate myself with either party. If one party likes something the other will hate it for no other reason then to oppose the other side. I like electric cars because I've read all about them and the alternatives looked at the pros and cons and made up my own mind. I didn't check to see what my political party thinks and then start spewing hatred. It's always best to approach everything with an open mind, political parties tell people what to think.

  5. I feel exactly the same as you about this. However I do still vote. What really pisses me off is that you don't even know what the candidates true feelings are on a subject because they hold the party line. Obama has been a proponent of electric cars so now every Republican candidate has to say how they are a failure and Obama was wrong. I don't get why anyone would thin electric cars are bad for the country. You can argue about the subsidies if you want, but how is using less oil bad for us? I don't think they realize how many people that would have voted republican will vote for Obama in this election because he supports EV's. There are EV driving republicans too you know.

  6. The coming landslide can afford to lose 10 or 20 votes.

  7. Tom, to your point, the ATVM loans that underpin most of the EVs on the market now are from an energy bill signed by President Bush.

  8. Completely agree with you Tom. It is disgusting because it should be an apolitical issue. It's win-win-win technology, to quote both Michael Scott and Michele Bachmann.

  9. How is spending untold millions in subsidies to build something almost no one wants then spening $7500.00 tax payer dollars as an incentive in order to sell a few hundred cars "win-win-win".
    It looks more like a total waste of money that results in so few sales it will have virtually zero impact on oil imports "green house gases" or anything else.

  10. @Stephen: You may be new to this site, but we have written numerous articles pointing out that the Volt is far from a car "no one wants." GM's decision to roll it out to all 50 states at the same time they shut down the plant for retooling (which had nothing to do with the Volt) means they're production-constrained, not demand-constrained.

    Next year at this time, when U.S. volume is up to 45,000 cars, and at least some of the demand from California retail buyers, the General Electric fleet order, etc., has been satisfied, then let's revisit the issue. Right now, there are waiting lists for the Volt in at least some regions.

  11. Not true John...there is a huge surplus of unsold VOLTs...the car is a failure.

  12. @Ow: Data, please? Sources? An assertion like "huge surplus of unsold Volts" would normally be backed up by multiple sources of data and respected industry analysts moaning and bewailing GM's tens of thousands of unsold Volts parked in lots all over Detroit, right?

    I haven't seen those, mind you, and I cover the field fairly carefully. But I'm sure you have, so do please enlighten us by providing links to some of them ...

    Failing that, I reiterate: It's far too early to call the Volt a failure. Three thousand unsold of 12,000 built is called "inventory". Don't believe everything you hear.

  13. GM and other automakers are convinced that as more EVs are produced they will be able to reduce costs of battery production. Oil imports have a tendency to put money and weapons into the hands of countires that are indifferent to our principles of democracy. Gasoline will likely hit $5/gal. in the next year or two, making this option even more practical.

  14. It's becoming a political football because the Gaulieters of Wichita (the Koch Brothers) are fabulously wealthy, through petroleum, and pretty much fund most of the radical side of the far right wing.

  15. Until Gizmodo published that list, I hadn't heard Drudge's name in years, especially in political circles. Like that study done on Fox News, I am sure you will find that reading his site makes you quantifiably less informed about the world.

  16. Alright! I agreed with every lie Drudge said right up until he said it was Obama's fault, and actually it is Obama's, the best president since Kennedy, fault. If Obama didn't bail GM out, GM wouldn't exist today...maybe. I don't really agree with him though when he said that the Volt is for idiots, even though I've used that phrase, quoting Green Car quoting Drudge. It the Volt could get 150 MPC, it would be a fantastic car. Cont.

  17. What ticked me off about GM is that... I know GM has car designs and technology that will put the Volt to shame, and I think that the only reason GM didn't bring out one of these super cars that would be affordable to the common worker is because of the color of Obama's skin and the fact that he is a democrat. I think that GM's CEO is still rooting for the south to win the Civil War.

  18. Of course the EV is a political football. It was when it started taking Seventy-Five Hundred bucks a pop.
    Reading this story it looks like Drudge had inflamatory titles in all the posts, yet had accurate facts. OK. Spin sucks, but facts are facts. In the last story, the garage fires, they jumped to a conclusion in a story, which real journalists never do. While I'm not defending Drudge, I am trying to understand what the point of this is. A right leaning news site published accurate stories with inflamatory titles against a vehicle that gets $7,500 tax dollars and is built by a "bailed out" automaker? Again, I'm not taking sides just want to understand where the non-political issue is.

  19. "monumentally flawed jeremiads that don't come close to qualifying as journalism"....I suppose pun was intended here John, because Jeremy Clarkson did come to mind immediately!

  20. here, here. my greatest concern is the lack of context provided with breathless headlines. i sure hope to see this critical analysis provided for not only drudge, fox, etc but also for huffpo, talking points, msnbc and the like. think there are plenty of context-lacking "aggregated headlines" going on both sides of the political spectrum

  21. Hard to tell which side has the most biased arguments. A dead heat, in my opinion.

  22. Although Drudge's "anti-Volt" bias may be quite visible, the fact remains that it is a hugely expensive and stupid idea that can only be sold in miniscule numbers at a huge loss on each vehicle.(Even then it is only sold at all with a $7500.00 tax credit being paid by everyone else).

  23. I'll come clean: I'm the resident right-wing-wacko and card-carrying NRA member, and I love the Chevy Volt. I drove one from NYC to Detroit, and was utterly amazed at the car's comfort and refinement. The first mass-market series hybrid (think diesel-electric submarine or locomotive) automobile, I'd go so far as to call the Volt one of the most significant automobiles in history.

    GM's biggest failing with the Volt was not explaining just how different it is from a conventional automobile.

  24. Kurt, Perhaps the Volt should have come with a gun rack.

  25. GM placed the batteries central to the car, giving it a low center of gravity with superior handling, not to mention the torque you get off the line with electric motors. My guess is they'll come out with a two seat sport version in a few years. I look for the technology to make its way into all non urban cars with urbanites using all electrics.

  26. True, electric motors are very efficient at getting a vehicle to move since they have all of their torque essentially avaible from zero rpm through their redline. Tesla took advantage of this and simply used a a one speed transmission design that offers an extremely smooth takeoff to 85 to 90 mph before the electric motors rpm even gets over 8500rpm. Since electric motors are very simplistic in design they can withstand very high rpms as well so they should be much more reliable than ICE engine. A gasoline engine running at about 2800 rpm to 3000rpm is most efficient rpm range and as long as you are running the generator it will be producing electricity to charge the battery pack as well as provide power to the electric motor as well

  27. A straight electric motor drive like the Tesla, with battery power enough, has 80% less parts than a VOLT.

    VOLT converts energy back and forth at great losses a number of times...there is nothing inexpensive or economical about the VOLT design and future repairs to this highly complex engineering showpiece are going to be very very high.

    GM tried to get the jump on the electric car market and wound up spening 1400 days getting it on the market, a market that looks to better and vastly cheaper designs now being offered by a large number of manufacturers.

    The "Prius c" will take the world by storm and Toyota will never look back...the "c" is only the beginning.

    New battery technology is blossoming.

  28. Stephen, what is your opinion of the massive subsidies given to the oil industry? Do you make the same claims against them? Just curious since gas would be well over $10/gallon is all external costs were internalized at the pump.

  29. Not to mention the TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS spent on foreign wars to protect the Oil Industries interests. If you factor in the cost of the foreign wars, then the number goes through the roof.

  30. It might be more appealing if they gave it a German name like Hindenburg.

  31. They are saving that name for their fuel cell powered Chevy Cruze :)

  32. there is no such thing as a fuel cell cruze, but Chevy has rumored to have a plugin hybrid version with the technology similar to the Malibu Eco Eassist

  33. A practical, economical fuel-celled vehicle is far far far into the future if ever.

    The problem of cheap hydrogen has to be solved first.

    The energy to produce hydrogen is more expensive than the energy that hydrogen produces...get it?

    Not many engineers here today, lots of political wackiness however.

  34. Please look at the FACTS: The Volt is NOT popular, it's that simple. In one year Chevrolet sold 4000 Volt's, How many SUV's and big trucks? Lets be safe and say one million! You can slam Drudge all you want, but does not change the FACT the billions of dollars was put into GM, for a car the Volt that is not selling. (Even with the $7500 rebate!) All because someone in Washington wants the American people to buy it.
    On a personal note, I drive a Volkswagen TDI that get 50 MPG, now that's GREEN!

  35. aw, shut up! the Volt IS POPULAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. With a 137 day backlog of unsold VOLTs in GM's inventory statistics for November 2011, I can't say that VOLT would be considered popular...and certainly not POPULAR!!!!!!!!!!

  37. @Ow: Again, please provide a source and link for that piece of data so that readers can judge the source and veracity for themselves. Thanks.

  38. John Voelcker...just sits there and demands links for common knowledge and headline this way he attempts to detract from the plain facts. GM apologists are losing the media war...thank goodness.

  39. John Voelcker sits there demanding a link to GM's press release regarding a 137 day inventory backlog for VOLT...he has read it I assume...but is in denial. Attacking common knowledge and headline news is an "interesting" tactic...GM apologists...blehhh

  40. Well John, we understand that you are on the take...I think washing dishes for a living is much more honorable than writing fantasy pieces for GM

  41. There are more comments in this thread
  42. Lanny, which inaccuracy should I start with first? First, the Volt hasn't been on sale in most states for more than 2-3 months, it was limited to seven states for the first months. Production, not sales, has been the problem, as was pointed out again here but you conveniently ignored that point.

    Possibly the dumbest comment was your claim that the government put billions into GM for the Volt. GM was developing the Volt years before it was bailed out and most of the money went elsewhere, anyway, but you're clearly not a fan of facts.

    Not popular? Is that why it's won so many awards and there are waiting lists? And if you think your TDI is better for emissions than the Volt, try a little emissions research, too.

    Typical ignorant nonsense.

  43. Hey Rodork, Look at all the American poeple's money Obama spent, on not just GM but all the other companies that supply to GM. That is billions. GM started selling the Volt in the states it thought would sell the best in, right? And even people in California bought it, (side note) they did buy the Prius. I'm in the car industry were "popular" is how many sell, not how many awards the car gets. I also NEVER said the TDI is better on emission, did I? look at the car over the life of the car, the Volt needs the batteries replaced, right? What happens to all the batteries from all the Volts you HOPE GM sells. What sells, the Volt or a gas guzzling SUV or truck, the sales numbers dont lie! GM sells more guzzlers in 1/2 day than Volt's in a year.


  45. Rich, Please tell me you are kidding? GM will loose money on the Volt and will make money on the gas guzzlers. Last time I checked GM was in business of making a profit, evil, greedy PROFIT. Add to that GM pays ZERO federal tax.

  46. Sorry, Lanny, I didn't realzie you were 12, both from the cnildish namecalling and inability to spell or write at all.

    The topic was the Volt, not your opinions on the President overall. You claimed that the govt, spent billions on the Volt, which is just nonsense. rather than commenting on you being inaccurate, you choose to call names.

    You did claim that the TDI is green, clearly implying that they are greener than a Volt, which again, is nonsense.

    It appears that you're the only person here who still can't get it that the Volt and others aren't meant to be big volume-sellers. The suppliers aren't there, OEMs lose on every sale, etc...

    It wasn't for sale for most of the year in 43 states, so we'll see in 2012.

    And learn to write...

  47. Sorry typo on the name and I'm 16. I implied nothing about the TDI. The Volt is still not selling and it will never sell in large amounts and will loose money for GM. You seem to be in a bad mood, have you hugged a tree today?

  48. The money that went into saving the car industry, was invested for strategic reasons involving defense. It's been paid

    Detroit won World War II. Packard built rolls royce merlin engines won air superiority over Germany. American made trucks gave the Soviet Red Army the mobility they needed to push their communications forward over a thousand miles from their supply base.

    America, in 2006 consumed about 17 million vehicles. You are suggesting GIVING most of that market share to foreign car companies ALL of which had benefited from government Industrial Policies, (in Korea it was against the law to import any vehicle prior to 1987) ALL imports are built by union hands, by the way.

    That's why right wingers are called the Wrecking Crew.

  49. Timmy, I live in the real world, not a leftwing utopian world. "Investment for strategic reasons involving defense" are you kidding? Obama bailed out GM to help the unions. The problem with socialism (some on the left) is that eventually you run out of other peoples money to spend! Almost 50% of Americans pay NO federal income tax.

  50. Then it's unanimous - inaccuracies all around. No definitive cause of the fire in Connecticutt or in the later Volt fire has been determined, and the Volt was NEVER ruled out by anyone. Subsequent to the NHTSA fires, it would appear another look at the Volt as cause would be in order. Yet you report in December 2011 that the Volt was blameless.

    You're worse than Drudge....

    Jack Rickard

  51. Really, Jack...? Is that why the fire marshal in CT publicly stated that the Volt had nothing to do with the fire? You know, where he stated that the cause was a homemade Suzuki EV converted by the owner?

    Feel free to re-read about the NC fire, too, since again it was the fire marshal, not GM who placed blame 100% elsewhere.

    If you want to accuse someone of professional bias, how about some actual examples, since yours here are patently ridiculous?

  52. Thank you robok2 for finding someone new (Jack) to pick on. Merry Christmas Jack & everyone! Sorry Robok2 for you Happy Holidays

  53. Is Robok2 your first or last name? Hiding from something? or someone? the Fed's?, IRS? I hide from no one.

  54. As much as I'd love to swap personal attacks with a 16-year old who repeatedly misspells "lose," I'll pass.

    If pointing out that, contrary to what was claimed, the fire marshals in two states stated exactly the opposite, that the Volts were NOT related to the fires bothers you, I suggest you read elsewhere.

    "I hide from no one." Seriously, are you even 16?

  55. @Lanny, not that it's any of your business, but I work for a supplier that works with Tesla, Fisker and all the other EV/hybrid OEMs. I can't have customers seeing a comment about Tesla or Fisker and being upset about it, so I can't use my full name.

    I don't expect a 16-year old to understand an industry he knows absoluitely nothing about, but if you think that Ford and other American OEMs and suppliers would have been able to get financing during the finacial crisis, you're even dumber than you look from your posts. If former Pres. Bush and Pres. Obama had not bailed out GM/Chrysler, there would be no Ford, either, nor most major American suppliers.

  56. Here is one bit that I missed. Even though the Volt probably didn't cause the Barkhamsted CT garage fire, it apparently did reignite later that week.

    Seems like there is may be a problem with compromised Chevy Volt battery packs based on this and the NHTSA crash testing.

  57. WOW! Mention the derogatory term "Matt Drudge" and the world erupts!

    A few months ago, someone in our company included a wrong page in the blueprints for a custom built home. The error was not caught until someone noticed that the bathroom really should have been built on the other side of the house where the bathroom plumbing was installed. Our company president, upon hearing this said " What a Matt Drudge."

    Since then, where we used to say "What a F U", now we say "M D."

  58. Nice article, though you might want to be careful of sarcasm being used out of context. A paragraph stating "Oh, and it's all Obama's fault, by the way." could be views as you stating that as your opinion or a matter of fact. I'd bet that was sarcastic but Maybe drudge will be quoting you now..
    (I was following the Volt before I even heard of Obama..) I presume you know that the GW Bush passed the legislation that supported the tax credit for the Volt -- and we are nowhere near the 200,000 credits he put into law.
    No one has received an Obama tax credit for an EV yet!

  59. There may be inaccuracies in Drudge's Report...this doesn't change the fact that the VOLT is not likely to succeed.

    When the total expenses, original cost, maintenance etc. for the car over a period of 5 years is factored in, the VOLT is a PIG. A costly PIG.

    With the rather complex, untested engineering factored in, you can expect horrendous maintenance and repair bills in the future.

    This "electric" concept is headed for a museum featuring Edsel, Yugo, Tucker, Owen Magnetic and ultimately VOLT.

  60. Truly one of the dumbest comments I've seen here in a long time... Despite your claims to the contrary, you don't have the slightest clue what maintenance costs will be for the Volt, do you? Since the battery pack is 100% warrantied, that adds up to what, zero, for the first ten years? How about dramatically reduced fuel payments when driving mostly in electric mode? How about no oil changes?

    It's a $34k after the tax gain. At my local off-peak electricity rate, it would save me about $160/month even after the electricity. Over five years, that's almost $10k. Let's see, that's $24k right there. Still seem expensive?

    It's a niche vehicle designed to start sales of a technology, it's not a failure if it doesn't sell 200k annually.

  61. 3. Volt
    Company: General Motors

    GM (GM) was originally so excited about the Volt that the company had announced in January it was speeding up its roll-out by six months. But by November the excitement had fizzled out. Larry Nitz, GM’s executive director for vehicle electrification told Reuters, “It’s naive to think that the world is going to switch tomorrow to EVs [electric vehicles].” Indeed, sales for the vehicle have been consistently low. Only 125 models were sold in July 2011. This was after GM spokeswoman Michelle Bunker was quoted as saying that the Volt was “virtually sold out” due to its popularity — a statement later shown to be misguided. Adding insult to injury, Chevy Volts are under investigation for fires involving the cars

  62. @Ow: (1) This is how you provide a source: You copy & paste the URL of the relevant article. Like this: That's the URL of the article whose text you copied and pasted. That allows readers to judge the tone, content, background, and any biases they may see in the site. Your copy & paste does not.

    (2) Watch it with the personal attacks, on other commenters and on me. That's twice now that you've said I'm being paid by GM. That's not true. Unless you intend to prove it--and that will be impossible, LOL--further comments to that effect will be moderated. I have a very liberal policy on comments, but really, keep it to the facts.

  63. that is correct, John

  64. You may BELIEVE that the VOLT is the solution and you may have FAITH in its future, but faith and belief of any kind are not something even remotely intellectual.

  65. @John Voelcker...lets face it, if you & the commenters here are so obviously biased towards the VOLT, you are not going to run down my url.

    I am sure your editor dictates the flavor of articles, NO? If not, then your green agenda tends to favor a new technology whether feasible, practical and cost effective, or not, right?

    GM now has a 185 day back-log of VOLTS-NOT selling...this is a FACT I am sure you are aware of it if not your supporting commenters.

    A man as informed as you are should feel some responsibility towards disseminating all facts surrounding the VOLT.

    The VOLT is a waste of time & money. A pointless endeavor created out of varaious pressures exerted upon a company famous for shooting itself in the foot.

    A boondoggle.

  66. @Ow: Sales data are facts. Technical specifications are facts. Acceleration, braking, and other performance figures are facts.

    Your statements--"The VOLT is a waste of time & money. A pointless endeavor created out of varaious pressures exerted upon a company famous for shooting itself in the foot"--are opinions.

    There IS a difference.

  67. Either provide some evidence that there's such a huge quantity of inventory for the Volt or just stop sharing youir ignorance with everyone. I just called two Volt dealers within 15 minutes of my office and neither has one in stock, with one not expecting any new Volts until at least March.

    Common knowledge my butt, you're either making it up 100% or taking it from a source that can't be trusted. Others can provide evidence for their claims, what makes your nonsensical claims special?

    I'mm making it simple for you, rocket scientist, either provide evidence of what you claim, or stop the BS right about now.

    And calling someone "on the take" for using facts... What a miserable argument...

  68. "GM closed October with a stockpile of 3,086 Volts, up from 2,443 in the previous month, according to WardsAuto data. In August, that number stood at 1,316 units and at 226 in July, when a model-year changeover suspended production of the Volt for several weeks."

    Lets see, at sales averaging aprox. 600/mo. that comes to a 137 day inventory at the end of October...sounds right to me. The VOLT is NOT selling.

    You folks scream and holler about picayune and petty things such as urls, spelling and grammatical errors....just to defray the negativity that VOLT attracts.

    This car is headed for an obscure place in history.

    You want hybrid? You want economy" You want value for your money? Check out the new "Prius c" at $19,000 and 53+ mpg...

  69. I also read a GM press release stating that they "hadn't implemented an effective media plan" for the new an excuse for lack of sales.

    They also have instructed dealers to sell their demos.

    Next comes a phasing out of the 2012 production...don't you guys read the news? or is it just GM press releases you read?

  70. Lets guys call Drudge an uninformed idiot, criticize people's posting styles and question their intelligence, insult and castigate...all because they and Drudge disagree with you.

    Then you threaten to not post my comments.

    Obviously you know that the VOLT is a failure and YOU JUST CAN'T HANDLE IT !

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