comScore 60 Minutes Targets DeSantis for Giving Vaccines to Publix

60 Minutes Targets DeSantis for Giving Vaccines to Publix, Mostly Fails to Air His Response

CBS News took broad editing liberties in Sunday’s edition of 60 Minutes, cutting most of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) words out of a segment taking aim at him.

The program included an exchange between DeSantis and the network’s Sharyn Alfonsi, who asked DeSantis at a public event about Publix grocery stores in Palm Beach briefly receiving exclusive rights to deliver Covid-19 vaccines.

“Publix, as you know, donated $100,000 to your campaign, and then you rewarded them with the exclusive rights to distribute the vaccination in Palm Beach,” Alfonsi claimed. The program showed DeSantis replying to call the claim a “fake narrative,” but excluded the Florida governor noting that 90 percent of Florida’s senior citizens live within 1.5 miles of a Publix.

The portion of DeSantis’ excluded reply also revealed him saying that Publix was the first to “raise their hand” for the program in question, which was conducted on a trial basis:

 First of all, when we did, the first pharmacies that had it were CVS and Walgreens. And they had a long-term care mission. So they were going to the long-term care facilities. They got the vaccine in the middle of December, they started going to the long-term care facilities the third week of December to do LTCs. So that was their mission. That was very important. And we trusted them to do that. As we got into January, we wanted to expand the distribution points. So, yes, you had the counties, you had some drive-through sites, you had hospitals that were doing a lot, but we wanted to get it into communities more. 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. For Publix, they were the first one to raise their hand, say they were ready to go. And you know what, we did it on a trial basis. I had three counties. I actually showed up that weekend and talked to seniors across four different Publix. How was the experience? Is this good? Should you think this is a way to go? And it was 100 percent positive. So we expanded it, and then folks liked it. And I can tell you, if you look at a place like Palm Beach County, they were kind of struggling at first in terms of the senior numbers.

Moments later, he added:

So, we did that, and what ended up happening was, you had 65 Publix in Palm Beach. Palm Beach is one of the biggest counties, one of the most elderly counties, we’ve done almost 75 percent of the seniors in Palm Beach, and the reason is because you have the strong retail footprint. So our way has been multifaceted. It has worked. And we’re also now very much expanding CVS and Walgreens, now that they’ve completed the long term care mission. 

Footage aired by 60 Minutes showed Alfonsi repeating her claim as though DeSantis hadn’t replied, and DeSantis shutting her down, seemingly without explanation. “The criticism is that it’s pay-to-play, governor,” Alfonsi said.

“And it’s wrong,” DeSantis said. “It’s wrong. It’s a fake narrative. I just disabused you of the narrative. And you don’t care about the facts. Because, obviously, I laid it out for you in a way that is irrefutable.”

The segment was widely criticized, including by Democrats.  Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, who previously served three terms as a Democratic member of the Florida House, blasted 60 Minutes in a message on Twitter. “I said this before and I’ll say it again,” Moskowitz wrote. “Publix was recommended by FLSERT and [the Florida Health Department] as the other pharmacies were not ready to start. Period! Full Stop! No one from the governor’s office suggested Publix. It’s just absolute malarkey.”

Democratic Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner followed suit in a Monday statement. “We have confronted this pandemic for over a year,” Kerner said. “Our residents, like all Americans, are tired. And the media is making it worse. They are hellbent on dividing us for cheap views and clicks. 60 Minutes should be ashamed.”

Watch above via WCTV.

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