Slate’s Dave Weigel pressed the Ron Paul camp on why it stiffed interview requests from a reporter with the National Review. He got nowhere. Paul campaign spokesman Jesse Benton told Weigel, “We don’t discuss private discussion or negotiations with journalists.”

The National Review went forward with the piece anyway. Reporter Kevin Williamson writes in “Ron Paul’s Last Crusade” (which is not available on National Review’s site):

Ron Paul’s campaign, cheesed off at me for having noted that their guy has seemingly become softer on illegal immigration, refused to speak to National Review unless I was taken off the story. During my time stalking Ron Paul around New Hampshire and Iowa, I spoke with dozens of his supporters, with his son Sen. Rand Paul, and a few longtime associates, but the campaign never consented to an actual interview with the candidate.

Denial of an interview marks a shocking betrayal of all that Ron Paul stands for. Every time he’s asked a question about public policy, he reflexively cheers the free market. FEMA stinks? Free market. Health care not working? Free market. America in a funk? Free market.

So why not honor all interview requests from journalists? After all, there’s no market that’s quite as free as information, as Paul’s Internet-heavy supporters will attest. Anyone can post just about anything at any time. In this libertarian heaven, there’s nothing for the Paul campaign to fear: If a reporter like Williamson gets it wrong, this freest of all markets will chew up the distortions, spit out the errors, and leave only the true and real portions. Right?

It’s just too critical a time right now for the Paul campaign to be abandoning its core principles.