For decades, the editorial page of The New York Times has served as the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. But in a sign of the left’s panic over Donald Trump, the Times has moved beyond pushing an agenda to becoming a political hack, dirty tricks and all.

That’s the only reasonable conclusion to draw from the fishy aftermath of a Trump meeting with the edit board. The meeting happened in early January, but only on the eve of Super Tuesday did word spread about something the leading Republican candidate supposedly said in an off-the-record segment.

Buzzfeed suggested that an audiotape reveals Trump “secretly” walking back some of his most forceful immigration positions. The online news outlet reported that the recording has “reached near-mythical status at the Times” and that “some” people there believe the contents “could deal a serious blow” to Trump if they were made public.

The phrasing and lack of specific attribution tells me that Buzzfeed’s sources are top people at the Times who demanded anonymity. Executive editor Dean Baquet was among those at the meeting.

Under any definition of journalism ethics, anyone at the paper who leaked Trump’s off-the-record comments would be committing a serious violation. After the paper’s top editors promised Trump that his remarks would not be used, all Times staffers were duty-bound to honor that promise. Outsourcing a tease of Trump’s remarks to Buzzfeed is, ethically, no different from publishing them in the Times.

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Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.