U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is traveling to Asia this week accompanied by only one reporter, a White House correspondent from the Independent Journal Review (IJR), a digital news outlet founded in 2012 by former Republican political operatives.
The IJR said in a statement late Tuesday the State Department last week offered one of its reporters, Erin McPike, a place aboard the Secretary’s aircraft on his trip this week to Asia.
State Department officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on why IJR and McPike were chosen to travel with Tillerson.
The State Department had previously told reporters covering Tillerson’s trip to South Korea, Japan, and China that he would not be taking reporters on his plane and that they would have to fly commercially, breaking with decades of precedent stretching back to Henry Kissinger.
Major news organizations complained, among them the BBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post and Reuters.