The strange meta-language of attack ads…

I saw plenty of political ads on TV last night while watching News Night with Arron Brown on CNN. From Kansas City I get hit with both barrels: ads for Missouri and Kansas. I’m noticing a strange meta-language in some attack ads: attack language that attacks the opponent by attacking attack language. I find this particularly strange because there is very little credible evidence demonstrating that voters dislike negative campaigning. There is excellent evidence that voters consider it a mistake not to attack back when attacked first. So this strange meta-language seems to me evidence of an unnecessary politeness. For another roundup of negative campaigning, see today’s Media Notes column.