The Washington Examiner reported last weekend on emails released by WikiLeaks. They suggest that CNN asked the Democratic National Committee’s staff for help last spring coming up with questions to put to Republican primary candidates, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in particular.

Another leak shows CNBC’s John Harwood asking Hillary Clinton’s campaign team for advice on how to interrogate Jeb Bush. In an earlier WikiLeaks dump of DNC emails, Politico’s Ken Vogel was caught sharing a complete advance copy of a story for DNC flaks to review, a no-no for journalists in general. And of course, it was disclosed last month that someone at CNN gave Democratic operative Donna Brazile (who has since resigned her contributor slot at the network) questions that would be asked of Clinton in televised forums, so she could warn her party’s candidate in advance. Brazile duly leaked them, although she deflects questions about this disgraceful action with mumbo-jumbo excuses about the possibility of the emails having been alterered.

Is there collusion going on here? Of course there is. You don’t need to delve into what happens secretly to see that. What happens in plain sight makes it clear enough. Hillary Clinton was asked a question this week prefaced with, “You’ve been often ahead of your time, you’ve been sometimes misunderstood, you’ve fought off a lot of prejudice…” Really? How could the interviewer suck up any harder?

Many have marveled at the way Donald Trump’s supporters abuse and threaten news media figures. One does exonerate them or Trump, who has encouraged them, in pointing out the truth that their anger is not spontaneously combusting in a vacuum. It is a harvest that biased left-liberal news media have themselves sown.

Those who exoticize Trump’s supporters as though they were strange beasts to marvel at like freaks in the Midway, should instead attempt honestly to understand how and why such a huge portion of the population has come to distrust and loathe the news media as enemy combatants or, rather, as spies, since they do not wear the uniform of the force they represent.

They had better start to understand this, for it will still be an issue after this election is over. When liberal and conservative writers scratch their heads over Trump’s rise, they must weight the fact that the institutions for which they work are massively mistrusted by half the population.

The new leaked emails, like others before them, confirm what many believed already: that the relationship between Democrats and journalists is that between allied political activists, or between political activists and their sympathizers, rather than, as it should be, between political activists and professionally impartial observers.

Democrats have spent years framing every innocent comment from John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney and any other Republicans as racism or misogyny. Journalists routinely retail those absurd calumnies as though they had merit, without correcting or contradicting them the way they tend to when Trump or Republicans lob their partisan hand grenades.

Trump supporters conclude that it is just hyperbole when media, even the conservative media, depict Trump as a unique danger. The punditocracy that said it was racist to oppose Obamacare, or even to call it Obamacare, has so debased charges of racism that no one serious takes them seriously. The media have, as Bill Maher admitted last week, been crying wolf.

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As a subpopulation, journalists do not think like the rest of the nation. They are overwhelmingly left-liberal in their personal views. This is not in itself damnable — conservatives are less attracted to media work than are liberals — but relatively few journalists possess sufficient self-reflection to understand the effect they have when they cannot be bothered to look at things from perspectives other than their own and, worse yet, never consider the possibility that those other perspectives may be right.

The antipathy in some conservative circles toward mainstream journalism has reached a point where it is harming the country. It may be amusing to look down on Trump’s support base, but journalism must do better than amuse its practitioners. It is morally wrong for the press to write off half the country as nuts or bigots, or both. Journalists must re-establish their credibility, for it is draining away.

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Clinton remains the odds-on favorite to win the White House. Still, Trump’s chances remains alive.

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