Tuesday, 28 March, 2017

Conservative news site only media outlet on Tillerson's flight to Asia

Conservative website only media on Tillerson plane to Asia Tillerson heads to Asia with North Korea tensions high
Saul Franklin | 18 March, 2017, 01:36

The US State Department said Wednesday that it is testing new media coverage rules as its boss Rex Tillerson traveled to Asia with no accredited reporters in tow - a break with 50 years of tradition.

The State Department reportedly told journalists that Tillerson would not be taking any media on his plane, forcing them to fly on commercial airlines. Reuters also notes that McPike does not appear to be filing the pool reports that reporters traveling with the secretary typically file to inform colleagues about his activities.

When speaking in Tokyo, Tillerson said the cuts to the department are important to fix the "historically high" budget, Reuters reported.

Trump's budget blueprint proposes cutting the State Department's budget by 28 percent.

The department originally had said Tillerson would not take journalists with him as he was traveling on a small plane.

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

The right-leaning Independent Journal Review announced Tuesday that Erin McPike, its White House correspondent, would join Tillerson on his first major trip to Asia representing the United States. Depending on the number of staff Tillerson chose to take to Asia, the Boeing 737 he travelled on could likely have accommodated more than one reporter.

Tillerson admitted it would be challenging but said he accepted that challenge "willingly".

"It was made a decision to take a journalist who was not, or from an outlet that doesn't normally travel with the secretary, as part of an effort to include a broader representation of the U.S. media", added Toner, who also served under former president Barack Obama.

According to its website, IJR is an "audience first" news organization that looks to "challenge conventional wisdom and traditional coverage". Another founder, Phil Musser, was once executive director of the Republican Governors Association and worked in the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the administration of George W. Bush.

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Tillerson shuns all but conservative website on Asia tour Tillerson shuns all but conservative website on Asia tour Last week, the State Department officially offered McPike an opportunity to cover the secretary's upcoming trip to Asia. Either circumstances will remain the same, and the press will still have limited access to Tillerson when he travels.