There’s nothing wrong with journalists expressing their opinions, biased or not, on an editorial page or in a broadcast commentary. But there’s a vital distinction between reporters and opinion columnists. Under the theoretical canons of the profession, reporters are obliged to be objective and fair, dealing in facts not their personal opinions. Undoubtedly some are, but far too many aren’t. When they disguise an editorial as an unvarnished story on the news pages, they become dishonest, unethical, and untrustworthy journalists.

That’s not just my view, most of the public agrees. A recent Gallup poll found that only 7% of Americans have “a great deal” of trust and confidence in mass media television, radio, and newspaper reporters to convey the news fully, accurately, and fairly. 27% have “a fair amount,” 28% say they “don’t have very much,”and 38% have “no trust and confidence.”

The breakdown among partisan groups is especially revealing. 60% of Democrats have a great deal or fair amount of trust in journalists while 86% of Republicans have not very much or none. 71% of liberal Democrats have a great deal or fair amount of trust. Only 9% of conservative Republicans say that. The conclusion is obvious. Democrats, especially liberals, trust partisan, liberal journalists who echo their own bias.

Journalism has long been dominated by those on the political left who favor Democrats and spin the news accordingly. The New York Times serves as the public relations agency of the Democratic Party, along with the Washington Post, L.A. Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, NPR, MSNBC, and, locally, the Denver Post and Boulder Daily Camera.

Even reporters and editors who imagine themselves to be fair, see the world through their subjective lens. Perfect objectivity may be a goal, but it is unobtainable. In practice, objectivity is subjective. We are all the product of our beliefs, perceptions, experiences, and biases that ultimately filter through. A newsroom with like-minded liberal colleagues reinforces that mentality. You could say the same of a conservative newsroom, of which there very few in the elite, major media.

There’s a cliché of liberal journalists and college journalism instructors: “The job of journalists is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” It’s unlikely they know the source of that quote or its original intent. In 1902, Finley Peter Dunn, a political satirist, actually believed that journalists should do no such thing. He put those words in the mouth of a fictional, curmudgeonly Irishman he created, “Mr. Dooley,” whose sarcastic rant proclaimed: “The newspaper does everything for us. It runs the police force and the banks, commands the militia, controls the legislature, baptizes the young, marries the foolish, comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable, buries the dead, and roasts them afterwards.”

Through Mr. Dooley, Dunne was, in fact, damning the journalists of his day for their bias and presumptuous sanctimony in picking winners and losers, advancing their political agenda and editorializing in the guise of reporting. Like today’s liberal journalists who redefine millions of aliens that cross our border illegally merely as “migrants” and fail to fact-check Biden when he absurdly claims out border is secure.

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Ethical journalism is indispensable in a free society. But journalists aren’t philosopher kings with superior knowledge and credentials to judge morality, justice, and public policy. And they’re seldom experts about the topics they cover.

They’re just people with a public platform and an opinion, mostly a liberal one, in an industry competing with other media businesses for circulation numbers, Nielsen ratings, Internet hits, and advertising revenues. They’re also careerists seeking acclaim and advancement by chalking up scoops, exclusive interviews, and awards like Pulitzer Prizes.

In the late 19th century, “yellow journalism” was rampant, resorting to sensationalism, exaggeration, one-sided advocacy, and disregard for the facts to gather attention and readers. The inherent liberal bias of most journalists was bad enough in the 1960s. And it’s only gotten worse, accelerating during the Reagan era, and rising to stratospheric levels in their treatment of Donald Trump. When he dubbed their biased reporting as “fake news” that was the last straw and the fraternity of liberal journalists went completely bonkers.

Journalists who regard Trump as the personification of evil threw their pretense of fairness out the window. They rationalized that his counterattack on the Democrats’ progressive order and agenda — that mirrors their own — made it their duty to take him down.

Reasoning that the ends justify the means; lying, exaggerating, sensationalizing, and distorting the facts about Trump and others on their hit list became standard operating procedure. These same journalists who claim their profession is “noble,” are simply practicing today’s form of ignoble yellow journalism, which may explain their loss of public trust.

Mike Rosen is a Denver-based American radio personality and political commentator.

Mike Rosen is a Denver-based American radio personality and political commentator.