Tillerson Makes First Diplomacy Trip To Asia

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According to its website, IJR is an "audience first" news organization that looks to "challenge conventional wisdom and traditional coverage". She also briefly covered the 2016 election campaign for Reuters.

Alex Skatell, a founder of IJR, acknowledged the controversy about trip access in a statement on Tuesday.

Weighing in so heavily on one side of the political spectrum overseas ostracizes many foreign citizens who have traditionally supported strong relations with the U.S., Lee said. Either circumstances will remain the same, and the press will still have limited access to Tillerson when he travels. "After editorial consultation, McPike accepted the seat".

"After saying it was unable to accommodate press on the Secretary's plane to Asia due to space and budget constraints, the State Department offered a unilateral seat to one reporter", the statement said.

"Several of our members have traveled commercially to meet Secretary Tillerson on the ground in Asia", the statement said.

Only one reporter is accompanying Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his trip to Asia this week: Erin McPike of the conservative site Independent Journal Review.

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The invitation is a testament to McPike's tenacious, detailed brand of reporting.

For decades, secretaries of state have almost always invited media to travel with them.

The secretary has not been as press-friendly as his predecessor, John Kerry.

At yesterday's State Department press briefing, just hours before Tillerson was scheduled to take off, spokesperson Mark Toner was still unwilling to divulge whether any reporters would be traveling on the plane.

The department originally had said Tillerson would not take journalists with him as he was traveling on a small plane. "To some degree, it's a cost-saving measure".

Or Tillerson will switch back to a plane that can accommodate the diplomatic press corps, suggesting that the decision with regard to the Asia trip was arbitrary, meant to send a message to journalists: Act more like McPike, and you, too, can have access to the secretary. Skatell, who previously worked for the Republican Governors Association, founded IJR with GOP strategist Phil Musser in 2012.

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