Some of my favorite moments each day come during the commute from my home in East Buffalo Township to The Daily Item building in Sunbury.
I know I’m heading to 200 Market Street, but I have no idea where else the drive will take me.
After sharing coffee (and, of course, the morning’s edition of The Daily Item) with my wife Mary, I head toward Route 15 South, say a few prayers, then begin the process of getting my mind in gear for the workday ahead.
The drive — all of about 11 miles — usually takes about 15 minutes. It’s a time Mary knows to not call me — unless something urgent has happened or she sees I’ve left my phone on the counter. (I use two phones -- one for work, one private -- and often leave one on the charger.)
Those 15 solitary minutes, when I can think about the day ahead without interruption, are invaluable. If you ever are on 15 South at the same time — usually between 6:50 and 7:05 a.m., I may frustrate you a little bit. I tend to stay in the right lane and drive no faster than the speed limit.
I do a quick mental review of my schedule for the day. I think about the stories I know we’ll be working on. By Wednesday I’m usually starting to think about what my Sunday column topic is going to be. (This one didn’t occur to me till Thursday.)
Of course, my mind isn’t always just focused on work. I might be thinking about a conversation we’ve had with one of our adult kids, or something good or not so good we’ve seen on TV or the book I’ve been reading. Or a zillion other things.
Wednesday morning, after the Democratic candidates’ debate, I thought as I drove about a moment during Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate that bothered me.
Because of the buzz about the matter over the previous few days, it was only a matter of time before someone brought up the report that Bernie Sanders had told Elizabeth Warren in a private conversation that a woman could not get elected president.
So it was no surprise when CNN’s Abby Phillip raised the topic. It was an absolutely appropriate question to ask, and Sanders flatly denied saying it.
Phillip correctly followed that denial by saying:
“I do want to be clear here. You’re saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?”
Sanders said, “That is correct.”
Then came what I considered an inappropriate question from Philip to Warren.
“Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?”
Here was Philip, whose role of the moment was to be an unbiased debate moderator, basically calling Sanders a liar.
Maybe he was lying. I wasn’t in the room. Neither was Philip. But as a journalist, you can’t make that assumption, even if you believe it is true.
The proper question to ask, it seems to me, would have been: “Senator Warren, is Senator Sanders correct?”
Instead, Philip took the snarky approach, disregarding Sanders’ answer. Warren went right along with it, starting her response with “I disagreed.”
As a journalist, I found the exchange concerning. We need to be better than that.
I was actually pretty riled up about it as I pulled into the parking lot behind The Daily Item building.
Guess I was driven to write this column.
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