CNN hosted a January 25th town hall with the Democratic candidates, during which Hillary Clinton showcased her unparalleled knowledge and readiness for the most important job in the world. Bernie Sanders also did well, raising issues that we are excited to see in the national spotlight.

The first question posed to Hillary was from a young man who echoed the standard trope that she was “dishonest” – this without a shred of evidence of said dishonesty. Hillary explained to the questioner that she has been on the front lines of the fight for equality and fairness for four decades and that everything has been thrown at her by her detractors.

What Hillary didn’t say is that the national media have labored tirelessly to disseminate carefully crafted negative frames designed in conservative oppo shops to smear her character and paint her as corrupt.

The summer of 2015 already seems like a lifetime ago but for anyone trying to figure out why Hillary is saddled with negative character perceptions, we quote extensively from #HillaryMen about a highly deceptive and debunked Q poll that spread like wildfire and did untold damage:

It was a lightning bolt from the polling universe: Quinnipiac University found that the most cited description of the most admired woman in American politics was “liar.”

The media jumped on it. Commentators seized on it as definitive proof that the American electorate distrusts Hillary Clinton.

But the conclusion was a sham.

Back on August 29th, we deconstructed the poll, looked at the internals and found that it was highly misleading. While Quinnipiac presented the poll as evidence that voters associated “liar” with Hillary, we demonstrated that it was Republican and Republican-leaning respondents to the Q-poll who linked Hillary to liar and other derogatory terms (including “bitch”). It is a vastly different thing for Republicans, parroting Fox news and talk radio, to hurl misogynistic insults at Hillary than for all voters to believe Hillary is a liar.

Media figures have ignored our debunking of the poll and run with the ‘liar” lie, slandering Hillary in the process. One of the most egregious examples was a nationally televised interview in which NBC political correspondent Andrea Mitchell confronted Hillary with the “liar” finding without questioning the poll’s methodology. This is reprehensible for any serious journalist. Mitchell essentially ambushed Hillary and compelled her to answer to a falsehood, to explain something that was factually wrong, something that goes to the heart of her integrity.

NBC’s Savannah Guthrie compounded the inequity in an interview with Chelsea Clinton when she confronted her with the discredited poll.

Just as the New York Times trumpeted a false and dangerous allegation that Hillary was the subject of a criminal investigation and generated a cascade of anti-Hillary coverage, the Q-poll has had the same effect. These are the proverbial eggs that can’t be uncracked, the genies that can’t be put back into the bottle. “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

The “liar” poll, itself a shameful lie, saturated the airwaves and was repeated so often that it damaged Hillary’s favorability ratings.

Six months later, true to form, NBC’s Today Show leads with a snippet of the young man at the CNN town hall questioning Hillary’s honesty. It was standard operating procedure on the part of NBC: take every possible opportunity to connect the word “dishonest” with Hillary Clinton.

The resulting feedback loop is so obvious a 2-year-old could figure it out:

Media repeat the word “dishonest” — voters ask about dishonesty — media highlight voters asking about dishonesty — voters gets further convinced of dishonesty — media trumpet polls reflecting voters’ suspicion of dishonesty — conventional wisdom congeals around dishonesty.

Bingo, Hillary is seen as dishonest.

In fact, Hillary is one of the most honest and ethical political leaders in America, evidenced by the fact that she has survived the most intrusive, relentless vetting process in political history and remains the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

As we wrote recently, you can thank three decades of relentless lies and smears by the conservative attack machine and its mainstream media enablers, who have labored to create an aura of corruption around Hillary Clinton. Hillary’s detractors on the right, left and center reel off a laundry list of unsupported accusations with an air of absolute authority, as though it is simply a given that she is a terrible, horrible, no-good human being.

And that is precisely the intention: Taint her through innuendo and guilt-by-association, throw enough dirt at her that voters develop an instant negative association with her name. Accuse, accuse, accuse until the accusation becomes the reality, and may the truth be damned.

Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, and billionaire conservative moneymen like Paul Singer have spent inordinate sums to paint a malignant picture of Hillary, using sophisticated propaganda techniques to render her toxic to the American electorate.

Sadly, many on the left imbibe and regurgitate these fabricated narratives, spewing falsehoods and filth at Hillary with gleeful abandon. They are joined by mainstream media operatives with personal vendettas like Maureen Dowd and the Morning Joe crew, whose venomous words reveal more about their own failings than about Hillary.

But the fact is this: no one has ever produced an iota of evidence that Hillary has behaved improperly because of a campaign contribution. No one has produced a scintilla of proof that there is a quid pro quo when it comes to her speaking fees. From Whitewater to Benghazi to her emails, nobody can point to a single instance of corruption or purposeful wrongdoing on Hillary Clinton’s part.

None. Zero. Ever.

Hillary is not dishonest. But you wouldn’t know that from our national media, who have made a business out of misleading the public about her. The fact that she’s still on track to win the nomination is staggering, all things considered.