60 Minutes Stands by Controversial Publix Report, Says DeSantis Presser Comments Were Cut For ‘Clarity’
CBS News is standing by a 60 Minutes report about vaccine distribution in Florida after it was widely panned on Monday.
“As we always do for clarity, 60 Minutes used the portion of the governor’s over two-minute response that directly addressed the question from the correspondent,” a spokesman for the network said Tuesday in a statement to Mediaite.
The network took broad editing liberties in Sunday’s edition of 60 Minutes, which sought to blame Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for a program that briefly allowed a limited number of Publix grocery stores in Palm Beach County to deliver Covid-19 vaccines before other drugstore chains.
The program included an exchange between DeSantis and the network’s Sharyn Alfonsi, who accused DeSantis of making the call after Publix contributed $100,000 to his campaign.
The program showed DeSantis calling the claim a “fake narrative,” but omitted the more substantive portion of his response, which included DeSantis noting that Publix was the first company to volunteer.
Critics, including some Democrats, took issue with 60 Minutes’ portrayal of the situation. “The reporting was not just based on bad information — it was intentionally false,” Democratic Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner said in a Monday statement.
“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. We also discussed our own local plans to expand mass vaccination centers throughout the county, which the governor has been incredibly supportive.”
UPDATE 3:45 p.m.: CBS News issued a new statement on Thursday afternoon. The network said:
When Florida state data revealed people of color were vaccinated at a much lower rate than their wealthier neighbors, 60 MINUTES reported the facts surrounding the vaccine’s rollout, which is controlled by the governor. 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. Counter to his statement yesterday, we also spoke on the record with Palm Beach County Mayor David Kerner. 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.
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