Tuesday, May 30, 2023
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CBS Doubles-Down on ’60 Minutes’ Hit Piece on DeSantis

'Our story Sunday night speaks for itself...'

CBS News’ ’60 Minutes’ refused to apologize for deceptively editing a pre-produced segment that targeted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, even after Democrat state officials called out the network for pushing an “intentionally false” narrative.

“As we always do for clarity, ‘60 Minutes’ used the portion of the Governor’s over 2-minute response that directly addressed the question from the correspondent,” a CBS spokesperson told Dateline on Tuesday.

“For over 50 years, the facts reported by ‘60 Minutes’ have often stirred debate and prompted strong reactions. Our story Sunday night speaks for itself,” the network added.

During the interview with DeSantis, ‘60 Minutes’ suggested the Republican governor entered into a pay-to-play scheme by giving the Publix grocery chain lucrative vaccine distribution rights following a $100,000 donation to his political action committee.

But as DeSantis explained in his detailed two-minute response, the state asked CVS and Walgreens to distribute coronavirus vaccines first, and then enlisted Publix and Walmart to help with distribution as well.

“You had the counties, you had some drive-thru sites, you had hospitals that were doing a lot, but we wanted to get it into communities more,” DeSantis said. “So we reached out to other retail pharmacies: Publix, Walmart, obviously CVS and Walgreens had to finish that mission and we said we’re going to use you as soon as you’re done with that.”

The network also sent DeSantis’s office a list of questions and then ignored the governor when he asked for more time to respond, according to email exchanges between the two parties. CBS, however, denied any wrongdoing.

“We requested and conducted interviews with dozens of sources and authorities involved. We requested an interview with Gov. Ron DeSantis, he declined; we spoke to State Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz twice, but he declined to be interviewed on camera for our story until well after our deadline. The idea we ignored their perspective is untrue,” a spokesperson for the network said in a statement.

Moskowitz, a Democrat, hit back at CBS and said he had spoken with ‘60 Minutes’ before the interview but the show didn’t include his comments.

Moskowitz is one of several Florida Democrats who have defended DeSantis’s partnership with Publix.

Democratic Palm Beach Mayor Dave Kerner also slammed ‘60 Minutes,’ saying he offered to provide additional context but the show refused to interview him.

“The reporting was not just based on bad information – it was intentionally false,” Kerner said in a statement on Monday. “I know this because I offered to provide my insight into Palm Beach County’s vaccination efforts and ’60 Minutes’ declined. They know that the governor came to Palm Beach County and met with me and the county administrator and we asked to expand the state’s partnership with Publix to Palm Beach County.”

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