This article is from the archive of our partner .

Sen. Joe Manchin is a reasonable guy. He's not above speaking with local newspapers. Being a big man in Washington has not gone to his head, yet. But he does have one condition before any conversation, and it's kind of a big one: he won't talk if you wanna talk about guns. 

West Virginia's Journal News ran an interview with the junior Senator on Sunday that covered the sequester, mostly, and it's effects on West Virginia and the surrounding region. If you didn't know any better, it would seem like an innocent enough conversation between a Senator and a local newspaper. But at the top of the page there's an editor's note with an interesting little nugget, that paints the rest of the interview in an odd light: 

Editor's note: This question and answer session was permitted under the condition that The Journal would not ask questions regarding gun control legislation or the Second Amendment, as requested by the senator's staff.

Manchin, a Democrat, didn't want to talk about guns. OK? Wait, no, not okay! The strange stipulation had most people baffled. The Senator has been facing attacks from gun-rights groups painting him as being for gun reform, despite the fact that Manchin has so far been against most of the President's reform proposals. 

Both Manchin and the newspaper are facing a lot of criticism from observers over his request. Manchin is being chastised for not speaking openly about gun control legislation, while the newspaper is facing criticism for not telling Manchin to take a hike: 

So, everyone's a loser in this one.

The Senator's staff got a head start rebounding from the criticism. See, it was a miscommunication on the paper's part. "I didn't tell her she couldn't ask I told her he wouldn't answer them," a Manchin spokesperson tells Politico's Reid Epstein. The paper has yet to respond. There was no byline on the interview, so it's currently unknown who the editor that granted Manchin's request is. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to