CBS’s “60 Minutes” was accused of deceptively editing an exchange between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and reporter Sharyn Alfonsi about the state’s vaccine rollout.
In a clip posted by “60 Minutes,” Alfonsi asks if the governor engaged in a “pay-to-play” scheme with Publix, the Sunshine State’s largest grocery chain.
“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 …. How is that not pay-to-play?” she asked.
DeSantis provided her a lengthy response, but as one Twitter user pointed out, they cut it out entirely.
Wow. And it appears that @60Minutes edited the clip to cut out several minutes of @GovRonDeSantis giving extensive details showing just how wrong this narrative is..— AG (@AGHamilton29) April 2, 2021
Here is the full clip with the question starting ~1:40: https://t.co/bbQ2o33kWn
They literally cut out him explaining the whole process including who was responsible for LTCs (not Publix), how Publix raised their hand as CVS/Wallgreens was doing LTCs, how they had a trial to test it, why it worked, & how now CVS/Walgreen's are being used now.— AG (@AGHamilton29) April 2, 2021
The full exchange is below, as is the transcript with the remarks "60 Minutes" removed in bold:
Sharyn Alfonsi: 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—
Ron DeSantis: So, first of all, that — what you’re saying is wrong. That’s—
Sharyn Alfonsi: How is that not pay-to-play?
Ron DeSantis: —that, that’s a fake narrative. So, 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 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 the 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% 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. I went, I met with the county mayor. I met with the administrator. I met with all the folks in Palm Beach County, and I said, “Here’s some of the options: we can do more drive-through sites, we can give more to hospitals, we can do the Publix, we can do this.” They calculated that 90% of their seniors live within a mile and a half of a Publix. And they said, “We think that would be the easiest thing for our residents.” 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% 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.
Sharyn Alfonsi: The criticism is that it’s pay-to-play, governor.
Ron DeSantis: And it’s wrong. 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.
Sharyn Alfonsi: Well, I— I was just—
Ron DeSantis: And, so, it’s clearly not.
Sharyn Alfonsi: Isn’t there the nearest Publix —
Ron DeSantis: No, no, no. You’re wrong.
Sharyn Alfonsi: —30 miles away.
Ron DeSantis: You’re wrong. You’re wrong. Yes, sir?
Sharyn Alfonsi: That’s actually a fact.
(Transcript via Daily Wire)
Fox News's Laura Ingraham argued they engaged in such dirty tactics because they fear him.
The 60 Minutes’ attempt at a hit piece on @GovRonDeSantis spoke more to how much they fear him rather than anything else.— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) April 5, 2021