In a report earlier this week, NPR’s Peter Overby and Andrea Seabrook took a close look at some of the “ambiguous[ly]” named groups (some of which “live through the generosity of anonymous donors”) behind some of the political ads flooding TVs of late, and showed how one group of such “independent groups” depends quite a bit on each other.

By now, it’s been pretty well covered that a few Republican-backed groups operate out of the “same office suites” (American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS, and American Action Network in Washington, D.C., for example) but Overby and Seabrook, especially through the accompanying interactive online graphic, really bring home the extent of their inter-connectedness (with other groups and individuals, too).

This sort of “teamwork” is “not a new strategy,” report Overby and Seabrook, noting that “the cash flowed freely — and often in secret — two years ago…[e]xcept then it was mostly in support of Democrats.” In anticipation of, perhaps, of course NPR focuses on a “Web of GOP Influence” grumbling, Overby and Seabrook remind their audience that “back in 2008, NPR traced one network from its funders, including a union and liberal financier George Soros, to an anti-war coalition and an attack ad against Republican presidential candidate John McCain,” concluding that “what Democrats developed, Republicans have mastered” this year.

Also: are you “for apples?” Take the (yes, cheesy) accompanying “Understanding Ads” quiz (scroll down, on the left).

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.