Ron DeSantis calls out 60 Minutes for “smear” alleging pay-to-play vaccine distribution plan

Ron DeSantis calls out 60 Minutes for “smear” alleging pay-to-play vaccine distribution plan
AP Photo/Phil Sears
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has hit back hard on the mainstream media for its dishonest coverage of a story alleging that he engaged in a pay-to-play scheme with Publix, a Florida-based supermarket chain, by partnering with the company to set up vaccination sites for the 21 million residents of the state.

Last week, CBS’s 60 Minutes ran a segment on DeSantis’ COVID vaccination program, alleging that the governor awarded Publix a contract to distribute the vaccine in exchange for campaign funds. Based on publicly available details, Publix contributed approximately $100,000 to DeSantis’ campaign organization — a sum that many Florida journalists say would not even make a dent in the state’s gubernatorial race. 

The allegations posed by 60 Minutes have been shot down by DeSantis, Publix and even the Democratic mayor of Palm Beach County, who worked with the governor’s office on the state’s vaccination plan for his community, reports the Daily Wire

“They cut out everything that showed that their narrative was a piece of horse manure and it shows you how dishonest, these are smear merchants – that’s why nobody trusts corporate media. They are a disaster in what they are doing,” DeSantis said on Tuesday. “They knew what they were doing was a lie. I knew what they were doing was a lie. Everybody here knows what they were doing is a lie. They know that we know they’re lying and yet they continue to lie.”

“We offered them the information and they declined to interview the key people because they didn’t want to let go of the narrative. Well, guess what? There are going to be consequences for that,” DeSantis added. 

In the clip, CBS deceptively edited reporter Sharyn Alfonsi’s questioning of DeSantis on the alleged pay-to-play scheme by removing the governor’s response. The segment received a backlash from Florida officials, Democrats and Republicans alike.

“They spliced it because they can’t handle the truth, and they know if they would have put out everything, they wouldn’t have had a story,” DeSantis continued. “They went for the smear, they’ve been caught red-handed.

“The message is for people out there, unless you’re a partisan leftist, do not trust corporate media. You can’t trust them. They’re not trustworthy. They will lie, they will smear and then they just move on to the next target and think that they’re going to be able to get away with it,” he said. “You come down to our state and you try to smear people, we’re going to bite back and we’re going to hold you accountable. So this is not over by any stretch of the imagination.”

CBS justified its deceptive edit, claiming that they cut out the governor’s response for “clarity.”

“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 CBS spokesman told Mediaite.

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