This isn't surprising. You call someone on possible funny business, they're probably going to be offended, whether or not said funny business is actually going on.
Is it a conflict of interest? Yes, but pretty much every major video game news outlet that is supplied with preview information beyond a basic press kit is in the same boat.
When Jeremy Parish blogs about going to private test screenings you know something is fishy in the business. I trust him as a journalist with a high amount of integrity, don't get me wrong (seriously, I value his opinion more than probably any other video game journalist). But the invitation IS a conflict of interest when his employer is also going to print a review of the game, especially if it is done by Parish.