From an AP article exploring those negative cable news-bait campaign ads (the ones that don’t require an actual ad buy by the campaign, just an email to reporters):

“It’s getting just silly that the ads they are putting out are represented as real spots,” said [Evan Tracey, head of TNS Media Intelligence/Campaign Media Analysis Group, a firm that tracks ads].

“You used to hide the harder edge message in radio and direct mail,” Tracey said. “What you have now is that the campaigns say, ‘Hey, (MSNBC’s) Morning Joe is a food fight, let’s supply the tomatoes.’”

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.