Of course, by sticking to the anti-CAFO line, Dann noted, Edwards also risks alienating the many Iowans who are now employed at the large, industrial farms. So ultimately, it’s still anybody’s guess which Democrat will win the Iowa caucuses and for what reasons. Thankfully, by abandoning the superficiality of a lot of campaign coverage and honing in on an issue that is not only specific, but also particular to Iowa, Dann’s MSNBC.com article at least helps readers make an informed guess.

Curtis Brainard is the editor of The Observatory, CJR's online critique of science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.