While most people would wonder about what the policy goals are of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip to Asia, several reporters groused today about who was invited on the plane.

Background, via TruNews:

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. …

McPike is a White House correspondent for IJR, and previously reported for CNN, Real Clear Politics, NBC News, and National Journal, according to a statement on IJR’s website when she joined the site in February. She also briefly covered the 2016 election campaign for Reuters.

“We don’t take this opportunity lightly and recognize the controversy surrounding press access for the trip,” Alex Skatell, IJR’s founder and chief executive, said in a statement on Tuesday.

At today’s State Department briefing, several reporters pitched a fit over the invitation, demanding to know who made the decision, what the State Department hopes to gain from inviting an outlet the reporters were clearly upon with disdain.

State Department Spokesman Mark Toner was peppered with questions, and when another reporter asked a question about Iran, the group was incensed that he “moved on” so quickly — after 20 minutes — from the invitation topic.

CNN’s Michelle Kosinski went so far as to poll the room to see if the other reporters wanted to continue talking about the invitation.

“For the White House or whoever made this decision, to choose an organization that is not part of the (press) pool and is an obviously conservative, uh, website or whatever you want to call it, doesn’t that narrow the message and not broaden it? And what message does this send to the American public and the rest of the world?” Kosinski demanded to know.


After several more minutes, another reporter said, “Can we move on?”

“I’d love to,” Toner responded.