Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has stood through eight debates and an unfathomable number of those town hall sessions, not to mention a great number of regular old interviews. He has faced thousands of questions, many of them substantive and challenging, some of them dumb. Do you need to rein in your supporters? Your brother said you were a great athlete — true? When would you support the use of U.S. military force overseas? What’s up with this single-payer health-care idea? And on and on.

So you might suppose that New York Daily News Editorial Page Editor Arthur Browne had slim pickings when his six-strong editorial board sat down on April 1 for an interview with Sanders. To the contrary, actually: As much of the political class now knows, the tabloid’s opinionators feasted on Sanders. A transcript of the interview is everywhere, with chatter on Twitter and cable news referencing it over and over again.

“The traffic, as I understand it, is pretty intense,” says Arthur Browne, the Daily News’s editorial page editor, in a chat with the Erik Wemple Blog. “I am told that it has gotten a high readership on a sustained basis.”

That makes sense. The Q&A is mesmerizing and raises the question: Can we please replace television debate moderators with an editorial board or two?

When journalists prepare for interviews, they often concoct exotic and circuitous questions that don’t land particularly well. The secret of Browne and his colleagues was a retreat to fundamentals. Take a look at how the session opened:

Daily News: We are very well aware of the broad themes of your campaign by now. So we’d like to hone in on some of the more particular issues to get a sense of how your presidency might evolve.
You’ve said that the greed of Wall Street and corporate America is destroying the fabric of our nation. So if we can get particular: For example, in corporate America, Apple happens to be celebrating, today, its 40th birthday. It’s a company that grew from nothing to 115,000 permanent employees. And I’m wondering, is Apple destroying the fabric of America?
Bernie Sanders: No, Apple is not destroying the fabric of America. But I do wish they’d be manufacturing some of their devices, here, in the United States rather than in China. And I do wish that they would not be trying to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
Daily News: Okay. Well, would you name, say, three American corporate giants that are destroying the national fabric?
Sanders: JPMorgan Chase, and virtually every other major bank in this country. Let me be very clear, all right? I believe that we can and should move to what Pope Francis calls a moral economy.

Sanders stumbled all over the transcript, failing to specify how Wall Street barons could have been prosecuted for their misdeeds in the past decade’s financial collapse and falling short of providing details on how he’d break up Wall Street’s behemoth firms:

Daily News: How? How does a President turn to JPMorgan Chase, or have the Treasury turn to any of those banks and say, “Now you must do X, Y and Z?”
Sanders: Well, you do have authority under the Dodd-Frank legislation to do that, make that determination.
Daily News: You do, just by Federal Reserve fiat, you do?
Sanders: Yeah. Well, I believe you do.

Courtesy of the Daily News editorial board, we’re learning that the details of Sanders’s campaign are playing a losing game of catch-up with the concepts of the Sanders campaign. But don’t bank on this abridgment; read the interview yourself.

Asked how his people found so much room to roam after months of scrutiny of Sanders, Browne responded: “I’m not out there on the campaign trail but I have read statements and position papers and interviews and the like, and it seemed to me that there were a number of unanswered questions as far as Mr. Sanders is concerned. And it all revolved around how you are going to do what you say you are going to do … Quite often it’s the right thing to go back to the beginning and ask, ‘On what basis is anybody making the statements they’re making?’ ” Though Browne cannot say definitively that no one before him has asked such questions, he says, “If I had seen that he’d answered those questions, I wouldn’t have asked those questions.” The aggressive questioning regarding Wall Street, says Browne, doesn’t have anything to do with the newspaper’s location in the financial capital. “I don’t believe that I or members of the Daily News editorial board are any more expert or can be any more expert than anyone else about financial issues, international issues — you name it. But I will say this: We approached that interview with Mr. Sanders in the same way that we approach interviews with local political candidates.”

About 15 people attended the session, says Browne, and he himself asked about 90 percent of the questions, he says. The Daily News will be making endorsements in both the Democratic and Republican primaries, Browne expects. All candidates have been invited to interview with the board, though Browne won’t specify which of them have accepted.

That hordes of readers are clicking on the transcript should give hope to the earnest souls who gripe about how so much political coverage preoccupies itself with the latest poll, so-and-so candidate’s “pathway to the nomination,” approval ratings among Republicans, “moving the needle,” 1,237 delegates, and, of course, the “narrative.” The Daily News interview contains very little of, if any, such garbage. Editorial boards have the luxury of caring about bigger issues, and their questions reflect this particular prejudice. Last month, The Washington Post’s editorial board (part of the Washington Post unit in which the Erik Wemple Blog works) huddled with Donald Trump for an on-the-record interview whose transcript stayed aloft our “most read” rankings for days. Questions ranged from foreign policy to libel to the racial dimensions of policing in America and many other topics, save the candidate’s performance in the latest polls. Trump, as usual, gave confident and baffling answers.

“When you see how many people were reading our transcript, and the Daily News transcript, I think it shows that there is a hunger for, and a usefulness in, substantive, smart, non-horse-race, on-the-record questioning of a candidate,” says Fred Hiatt, Washington Post editorial page editor and boss of the Erik Wemple Blog.