In a story about Florida’s vaccination efforts, CBS News directly accused Governor Ron DeSantis of pay-to-play corruption, connecting campaign contributions from Publix executives with the state and Publix’s partnership over vaccine distribution. Outlets on the left and right are criticizing CBS News for their tactics and story.
CBS News’ program 60 Minutes “expose” Florida’s coronavirus vaccination program alleges a “pay to play” schemebetween Gov. Ron DeSantis and the supermarket chain Publix, an accusation DeSantis vehemently denies.
- The reaction to the story “drew furious pushback from Republican officials” according to Politico, which also went on to quote a former Democratic legislator who was appointed by DeSantis saying 60 Minutes’ allegations are “malarkey” and that Publix was recommended by state officials, not ordered by DeSantis to be used.
- Without mentioning the 60 Minutes story, Reuters reports Florida’s vaccination program is in the White House’s crosshairs, saying the Biden administration will “continue to ensure coronavirus vaccine is equitably distributed” in the state.
- During a part of the story, video of Gov. DeSantis and a CBS reporter sparring made the most headlines, in which DeSantis became visibly upset and pushed back on the reporter’s claims, while Axios makes the claim DeSantis is “seizing on a juicy chance” to capitalize on the story.
- CBS News, which also recently engaged in woke activism by promoting ways to pressure corporations into supporting the progressive agenda, alleged DeSantis’ pay to play scheme has been in the works for months and used only a single community as an example of the vaccine rollout’s “deteriot[ing] into a virtual free for all.”
- CNN reported on the “backlash” 60 Minutes is getting, citing the state’s Democrat emergency management director’s and the Democrat mayor of Palm Beach County’s refutation of the story.
- Newsweek emphasized DeSantis’ efforts to clear his name while mentioning CBS’ defense of edited remarks from DeSantis rebutting CBS’ reporter.
- Fox News highlighted DeSantis’ interview with Tucker Carlson blasting CBS News for editing relevant portions of his remarks, namely that CVS and Walgreens had been implanting a vaccination program across the state months before the Publix vaccination campaign. Fox also notes CBS failed to mention the 60 Minutes report in news programming after Friday.
- OANN’s reporting also emphasized CBS being accused of “deceptively editing” the exchange between Gov. DeSantis and CBS News.
- The Democratic Mayor of Palm Beach County’s defense of DeSantis and Publix led the New York Post’s coverage.
- The Federalist took a similar tack as OANN, but Mollie Hemingway took it one step further, comparing the media’s all-out efforts to smear DeSantis to the fawning coverage of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021