David Sanger makes an important point about Secretary Tillerson’s aversion to the media:
But in the modern era, everyone from Dean Acheson to John Kerry has found that superpower diplomacy abhors a news vacuum.
When America’s top diplomats create one, adversaries and allies usually fill it with their own narrative of events, their own proposals, their own accounts of encounters with Washington.
As Tillerson should have learned over the last few days, he can try to manage perceptions and expectations through the media, or he will find himself and his efforts portrayed in a very unflattering light. Two months into Trump’s presidency, Tillerson is perceived to be in charge of a department that is adrift and demoralized, and he is seen as disconnected from his own department and frequently out of the loop on major decisions. Maybe those perceptions are exaggerated, maybe they’re not, but they have started to take hold to make people think that Tillerson doesn’t really know what he’s doing and isn’t seeking guidance from the career officials who would be able to help him learn. All of this confirms that concerns about his lack of foreign policy and government experience were not misplaced. If he doesn’t try correcting this perception of him on a regular basis, he will find that he isn’t going to be taken seriously in foreign capitals, Congress, or even in his own department, and that will set him up for failure. Fixing his perception problem will require speaking to the media, answering their questions, and presenting administration policies to the public. If he doesn’t start doing that, he will quickly become as irrelevant as he already appears to be.