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Reporter caught playing Pokemon Go during State Dept. briefing on the Islamic State

By HAYLEY TSUKAYAMA | The Washington Post | Published: July 22, 2016

We get it. Pokemon Go has officially become a national obsession. Many of us may be struggling to keep a game-life balance in place. But let's all spare a moment to thank our lucky stars that we're not the State Department reporter who got called out for playing the game in what may be the most embarrassing way possible — in the middle of a briefing on U.S. efforts to fight the Islamic State.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby stopped mid-briefing to call out the unnamed reporter for checking the app during the briefing. The reporter said he was "just checking" the app — so, in his defense, it's not as if he were positioning a Pikachu at the podium with his smartphone camera.

Then Kirby brought it up again, before taking questions on his statement. "Did you get one?" Kirby asked. "No," the reporter replied. (The video doesn't show his face, but one can only assume his face was as red and hot as the flame on a Charmander's tail.)

"The signal is not very good," the reporter added, by way of explanation. Well, we've certainly all been there. And you could certainly understand why players are accelerating their efforts in the game, now that at least one man has publicly announced he has, per the franchise's famous tagline, caught them all.

I hope, at least, that the reporter's phone was on mute.

It's of course not the first time that someone's been caught playing games on their phone during what should be serious business. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was notably captured playing smartphone poker during a congressional hearing on Syria in 2013.

Perhaps Kirby is just upset that the game revolves around Pokémon and not the beloved Nintendo character that shares his name. In any case, it's a good reminder that it's pretty obvious when you're playing Pokémon Go — even just to check on what's nearby — and there are times and places where people don't appreciate your dogged devotion to the game.
 

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby stopped mid-briefing to call out the unnamed reporter for checking the app during an Islamic State briefing.
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