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The city council candidate was screaming at me through her phone as I sat hunched over my desk in the newspaper’s newsroom.

“How about I pull down my pants and you come and watch me go to the bathroom?” she screamed. “You’d like that wouldn’t you?”

This impolite invitation was issued after I inquired about a long string of tax troubles the candidate had suffered during the last few years. Unpaid taxes. Lawsuits. State charges. And etc. It’s all part of doing your job as a journalist. When people run for public office, you look up what the public record has to say about them. And you let them explain their side of the story, even if it involves a toilet.

After years of this sort of work, you get used to people hating your guts. You do what you think is the right thing. You try to be fair to everyone. You end up being despised. But, if you do your job correctly, something else also happens: People always – always – return your phone calls.



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