I’ve asked Sen. Joe Manchin’s office about the Q-and-A conditions, which are criticized by some readers.
Among the comments:
* “This is outrageous. Manchin works for the people, not the other way around. The Journal has no spine, and without it they cannot fairly be said to be a real news organization — only a mouthpiece of the government.”
* “Why did you continue the interview after having the terms dictated to you by a so-called public servant? Decline. I too stopped reading after the disclaimer.”
UPDATE: Editor Christopher Kinsler tells Romenesko readers:
We had an opportunity to speak in a private face-to-face interview with Sen. Manchin to ask him a variety of questions pertaining to our region of the state. His staff told us that the senator was not taking any questions on guns.
While Sen. Manchin is just someone in the middle of the nation’s gun debate to people from 49 other states, he’s our representative, and we need to know his stance on all issues. Currently, sequestration is a critical topic due to the large number of government jobs here. Infrastructure is also drastically important as our region has nearly doubled in population in the past two decades. Those are just two of the many topics where our readers need to know where Sen. Manchin stands.
We told the senator’s staff that we would run an Editor’s Note stating that he was not taking questions about guns. Had we declined the interview all together, we would not have been able to give our readers Sen. Manchin’s answers to important local topics. Also, running the Editor’s Note made it clear that it was not The Journal avoiding the gun issue. In fact, it was our newspaper, not the numerous web sites which have picked up on this story, that brought attention to Sen. Manchin’s unwillingness to discuss guns.