Busted: “60 Minutes” caught deceptively editing Gov. DeSantis video to push unfounded conspiracy theory

FLORIDA — A televised news magazine has been caught editing comments made by Florida’s governor to make him appear rude, evasive and to push an unfounded conspiracy theory.

Breitbart and several other news outlets have reported that CBS News’ televised magazine “60 Minutes” intentionally edited comments made by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) to make him appear as if he was dodging a reporter’s allegation that he was involved in a pay-for-play scheme in connection with the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution program.

Jared Moskowitz, a former Democrat state senator who now runs the state Division of Emergency Management, criticized “60 Minutes” in his April 4 tweet:

@60Minutes I said this before and I’ll say it again. @Publix was recommended by @FLSERT and @HealthyFla as the other pharmacies were not ready to start. Period! Full Stop! No one from the Governors office suggested Publix. It’s just absolute malarkey.”

This past weekend, “60 Minutes” released a clip of its correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi heckling Gov. DeSantis with her now debunked pay-for-play conspiracy theory during a March press conference.

Breitbart reported the clip released by the show was maliciously edited to make it look as though DeSantis was dodging Alfonsi’s question. In the edited clip, Alfonsi angrily makes an accusation against the governor:

“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.”

DeSantis replies in the edited clip:

“First of all, what you’re saying is wrong.”

Alfonsi shouts back:

“How is that not pay for play?”

DeSantis responds:

“That’s a fake narrative. I met with the county mayor, I met with the administrator, I met with all the folks at Palm Beach County and I said, ‘Here’s some of the options: We can do more drive-thru sites, we can give more to hospitals, we can do the Publix.’ And they said, ‘We think that would be the easiest thing for our residents.’”

Alfonsi shouts back in the edited clip and claims that Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said DeSantis “never met with her about the Publix deal.” Alfonsi also yells:

“The criticism here is that is pay for play, governor!”

DeSantis replies:

“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.”

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The “60 Minutes” clip was edited to make DeSantis appear rude and unwilling to address Alfonsi’s accusations, but it turns out the governor did in fact answer her question.

An unedited version of the exchange between Alfonsi and DeSantis shows the governor gave a full and comprehensive answer. He responded as follows:

“So, first of all, what you’re saying is wrong. That’s a fake narrative. So, first of all, the first pharmacies that had [the vaccine] 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 in 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-thru 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,” DeSantis continued.

“So, with Publix, they were the first ones to raise their hand and say they were ready go [distribute the vaccine]. 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? Do you think this is the way to go?’ 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 met with the county mayor, I met with the administrator, I met with all the folks of Palm Beach County, and I said, ‘Here’s some of the options. We can do more drive-thru sites, we can give more to hospitals, we can do the Publix, we can do this.’

“They calculated that 90 percent 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 — we have 65 Publix in Palm Beach. Palm Beach is one of the biggest counties, one of the most elderly counties. We’ve got almost 75 percent of the seniors in Palm Beach, and the reason is that you have a 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 have completed the long-term care mission.

“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. And so it’s clearly not.”

Now, even several Florida Democrats are challenging the “60 Minutes” report. In a statement on Monday, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, a Democrat, told The Epoch Times that the “60 Minutes” report was “intentionally false.”

Kerner also added that he and other officials asked the governor to expand the state’s partnership with Publix, as opposed to the other way around:

“I know this because I offered to provide my insight into Palm Beach County’s vaccination efforts and 60 minutes declined. We asked and he [DeSantis] delivered. They [’60 Minutes’] had that information, and they left it out because it kneecaps their narrative.”

The Epoch Times reported that neither CBS nor “60 Minutes” responded to requests for a comment and noted that Florida had administered over 10.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as of April 5, one of the highest totals in the nation. 

Publix, in a statement to news outlets, called the suggestion of a link between campaign contributions and the vaccination efforts “irresponsible” and added:

“We are proud of our pharmacy associates for administering more than 1.5 million doses of vaccine to date and for joining other retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia to do our part to help our communities emerge from the pandemic.”

Last year, CBS was mocked for deceptively using footage from Italy for a report on COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York City.

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Author: G. Weg

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