CBS’ “60 Minutes” has been busted for deceptively editing footage of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responding to its accusations that his COVID-19 vaccine campaign was corrupt.
The “fake narrative”: As part of a debunked segment that aired Sunday, “60 Minutes” correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi cornered DeSantis at a Florida press conference last month and suggested the state’s partnership with Publix stores was corrupt.
- Alfonsi noted that Publix donated $100,000 to DeSantis’ reelection and then alleged “you rewarded them with exclusive rights to distribute the vaccination in Palm Beach.”
- “How is that not pay-to-play?” she asked, though Publix, Florida’s largest grocery store chain, gives money to both Republicans like DeSantis and to Democrats.
“60 Minutes” showed viewers just seconds of DeSantis’ answer and made it sound like he had been combative with Alfonsi for no reason.
The full story: But Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday played video of DeSantis’ entire response to — and it tells a very different story.
- Over the course of more than two minutes, DeSantis gave Alfonsi a detailed explanation that largely undercut what he called her “fake narrative.”
The governor said Florida’s contract with Publix was not in fact exclusive and that CVS and Walgreens had received the vaccines first as part of a rollout at long-term care facilities.
- According to DeSantis, Publix was the first potential partner to volunteer to immediately start administering the vaccine at their pharmacies, and the partnership was expanded only with buy-in from Palm Beach County officials and residents.
- “So our way has been multifaceted. It has worked,” DeSantis said. “And we’re also now very much expanding CVS and Walgreens, now that they’ve completed the long-term care mission.”
Two Florida Democrats vouched for DeSantis’ version of events and slammed “60 Minutes,” leading even CNN to fact-check “60 Minutes” on Tuesday.
- Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz said on Sunday that his agency, not DeSantis’ office, recommended Publix and that the “60 Minutes” story was “just absolute malarkey.”
- Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner on Monday accused “60 Minutes” of reporting “intentionally false” information, saying the program knew his county had requested the Publix partnership be expanded.
Publix piled on: “The irresponsible suggestion that there was a connection between campaign contributions made to Governor DeSantis and our willingness to join other pharmacies in support of the state’s vaccine distribution efforts is absolutely false and offensive.”
“60 Minutes” defended its reporting on Tuesday, saying DeSantis had declined an interview request and that it had edited the footage of his response “for clarity.”
DeSantis is a favorite for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, and conservative commentators have long accused the media of trying to take him down with tendentious coverage of Florida’s COVID-19 response, which has actually been both relatively unrestrictive and effective.
After DeSantis’ full remarks aired on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the governor appeared on the show to dunk on “60 Minutes.”
- “They don’t believe in facts,” DeSantis said. “[The story] was done with malicious intent and a reckless disregard for the truth.”
“I doubt it will be the last time,” Carlson said. “If people keep coming to your state [to live], I have a feeling we’ll see more ’60 Minutes’ on you.”