CBS seems to be distancing itself from a 60-minute report that has been widely criticized as a “hit” against Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis by members of both parties.
The report, released Sunday, outlines an alleged “pay-per-play” scheme involving DeSantis, which accepts a $ 100,000 donation from its Publix grocery store campaign in exchange for the right to distribute the COVID vaccine as part of the distribution of the state.
Critics shattered the fraudulent editing report, which missed DeSantis’ explanation of the vaccination strategy, the omission of Publix̵
The next day, however, there was no mention of the 60 Minutes report for CBS this morning or for CBS Evening News, according to Grabien’s transcripts.
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A preview clip released Friday before the show aired showed a tense exchange between DeSantis and 60 Minutes correspondent Sharin Alphonse about what the CBS reporter suggested he was spreading influence.
“Publix, as you know, donated $ 100,000 to your campaign,” Alphonse began in the video. “And then you rewarded them with the exclusive right to distribute vaccination in Palm Beach -“
“First of all, everything you say is wrong,” Desantis interrupted.
“How come you don’t get paid for a game like that?” Alphonse then asked.
“It’s a fake story,” DeSantis replied. “I met with the mayor of the county, I met with the administrator, I met with all the people of Palm Beach County, and I said, ‘Here are some of the options: We can do more driving sites, we can give more to hospitals, we can do Publix . ‘And they said,’ We think that would be the easiest thing for our people. ‘
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Alphonse then said that Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinley said DeSantis “never met with her about the Publix deal.”
“The criticism here is that it’s a paycheck, Governor,” Alphonse told DeSantis.
“And it’s wrong, it’s wrong,” the governor replied. “It’s a fake story. I just distracted you from the story. And you’re not interested in the facts. Because I obviously set it out for you in a way that’s irrefutable.”
However, as conservative writer AG Hamilton first pointed out, “60 Minutes” cut short a few minutes from the press conference during which DeSantis explained what led to the deal with Publix.
“First, the first pharmacies they had [the vaccine] were CVS and Walgreens and had a long-term care mission, so they went to long-term care facilities. They received the vaccine in mid-December, began going to long-term care centers in the third week of December to do LTC, “DeSantis told Alfonsi.” So that was their mission, that was very important, and we trusted them to do it. With the entry into January, we wanted to expand the distribution points.
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“So, yes, you had the counties, you had some driving sites, there were hospitals that did a lot, but we wanted to involve it more in the communities. So we contacted other retail pharmacies: Publix, Walmart, obviously CVS and Walgreens had to to complete this mission, and we said we would use you as soon as you were done, “DeSantis continued.
He went on to say that Publix was “the first to raise its hand”, saying it was ready to distribute the vaccine. She released the vaccine on a “trial basis” in three counties, which was met with “100% positive” feedback from the elderly.
A CBS spokesman stood next to the report, telling Fox News, “As we always do for clarity, 60 MINUTES used the part of the manager’s response in 2 minutes that directly addresses the question from the correspondent.”
This was not the only part of the report that raised eyebrows.
The story also condemned DeSantis’ decision to vaccinate older people in its state, not younger front-line workers. Alphonse went even further, questioning DeSantis’ reasoning that older people are most vulnerable to the virus.
“The spread of Florida started quite typically. The first doses were given to health workers and residents of nursing homes in early December,” Alfonsi began. “But then, a few weeks later, Governor Ron DeSantis, deviating from CDC guidelines, announced that he would not vaccinate teachers and emergency workers, but instead put adults first, making everyone 65 and older. years eligible for the vaccine, the first in the country to do so. “
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“DeSantis said adults are at the highest risk,” she added, hinting that this was an unsubstantiated allegation made by the governor, not a response to data showing a higher number of casualties among older Americans.
Recent demographics from the Centers for Disease Control show that about 80% of coronavirus deaths were among people aged 65 and over, and 95% of deaths were among those over 50 years of age.
The report alleges that DeSantis is to blame for the fact that 4.5 million elderly people in Florida are “competing with each other” for the vaccine and that public health phone lines are “refusing” and websites are “collapsing.”
Conservative media critics downplayed the “60 Minutes” report as a “hit piece” and “working with axes,” but DeSantis also received support from Democrats in Sunshine State.
“@ 60Minutes I’ve said this before and will say it again. @Publix was recommended by [Florida Division of Emergency Management – FDEM] and [Florida Health Department] as other pharmacies were not ready to start. Period! Point! None of the board proposed Publix. It’s just absolute malaria, “said FDEM Director Jared Moskowitz on Sunday night.
Dave Kerner, the mayor of Palm Beach in the Democratic Party, went even further, accusing “60 Minutes” of “deliberately” misleading the country.
CRITICISM BLAST “60 MINUTES” FOR “FALSE NARRATIVE” THAT DESANTIS ENGAGED THE AUDIENCE IN A VACCINE PAYMENT SCHEME
“The reporting was not based solely on bad information – it was intentionally false,” Kerner said in a statement Monday. “I know this because I offered to give an idea of the vaccination efforts in Palm Beach County and ’60 Minutes’ refused. They know that the governor came to Palm Beach County and met with me and the county administrator, and we wanted to expand the state’s partnership with Publix to Palm Beach County … “
“We have been facing this pandemic for more than a year. Our people, like all Americans, are tired. And the media is making matters worse. They are clinging to us for cheap views and clicks.” 60 minutes “should be ashamed,” Kerner continued, adding that the program had left his perspective out of history because “it tells their story.”
Kerner also thanked DeSantis for his work in supporting Palm Beach County.
“Thanks to his efforts, working in coordination with Palm Beach County officials, more than 275,000 older people in our county – which is more than 75% of the total elderly population – have been vaccinated. I am proud of the way the leadership the county and state are fulfilling this important mission and the results speak for themselves, “Kerner said.
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Publix, meanwhile, called the idea that it had received special access “absolutely fake and offensive.”
“The irresponsible assumption that there was a link between the campaign’s contribution to Governor DeSantis and our desire to join other pharmacies in support of the state’s efforts to distribute vaccines is completely false and offensive,” a Publix spokesman told Fox News. “We are proud of our pharmacy staff to have administered more than 1.5 million doses of the vaccine and joined other retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia to help our communities come out of the pandemic. “
Brian Flood of Fox News, Evie Fordham contributed to this report.