There are some interesting insights into the nature of negative ads in Zeleny’s report—he’s a solid reporter, as knowledgeable as anyone on his beat—and it works as a survey of what’s being said in several congressional races across the country, and to some extent why it’s being said. But it all feels a little too much like a campaign ad in the end—a bunch of promises, not much delivery.

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Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.