News you need to knowCurrent Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently said, “I’m not a big media press access person. I personally don’t need it.” The former ExxonMobil chief executive only allowed one journalist on his plane during his recent diplomatic trip to Japan, South Korea, and China. It was Erin McPike from the Independent Review Journal, who had written positively about him in the past.
Why this is not normalThe problem is that being the secretary of state is not a job that covers the needs of one person. It is a job that addresses the needs of a country. It is a job that has, until now, been done in the open and with plenty of opportunity for a large swath of the press – for, against, and impartial to the administration – to be present.
Tillerson is the chief adviser to Trump on foreign affairs. It is the public’s right to know and a journalists’ right to report how the United States is interacting with other countries.
When a president, a White House press secretary, and a secretary of state handpick who can or cannot cover the news, it not only limits press access and marginalizes public discourse. It’s a tale as old as time. As Tacitus, a senator and historian from the ancient Roman Empire said, “If you would know who controls you, see who you may not criticize.”
Patty TempletonDGO Staff Writer