Several news organizations sent a letter to the State Department this week after finding out that news media were not invited to join Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his first trip to Asian next week.
Tillerson's trip is scheduled for March 14-19, for the purpose of discussing North Korea's hostile missile tests as well as U.S. economic interests in the region.
"We were deeply concerned to hear that Secretary Tillerson plans to travel to Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo to hold key meetings about some of the most important foreign policy issues for the United States without any traveling press," the letter said, according to the Poynter Institute, which published it Thursday. "Not only does this situation leave the public narrative of the meetings up to the Chinese foreign ministry as well as Korea's and Japan's, but it gives the American people no window whatsoever into the views and actions of the nation's leaders."
The letter indicated that the State Department offered "help" to news organizations that wanted to travel on their own, but said that's not enough.
"And the offer to help those reporters who want to travel unilaterally is wholly unrealistic, given the commercial flight schedules, visa issues and no guarantee of access once they are there," said the letter, which was signed by Washington bureau chiefs for the Associated Press, the New York Times and Fox News, among others.
The letter also requested a meeting with State Department officials.
"Please let us know when a small group of us could come by to see if we can work out an arrangement that suits all of us," it said.
Poynter said the trip without press would be "unusual," given its news value regarding Korea and it being one of Tillerson's first major trips.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper said on Twitter that the decision to travel without press is "insulting to any American who is looking for anything but a state-run version of events."