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CBS issues new statement backing DeSantis report, again fails to defend ‘pay-for-play’ narrative

CBS News issued a 3rd statement defending its “60 Minutes” report focusing on Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis late Wednesday, although the community continued to keep away from discussing the story’s most explosive declare. 

DeSantis has accused “60 Minutes” of mendacity and pushing a false narrative a few “pay-for-play” scheme by which he allegedly rewarded the grocery retailer chain Publix with coronavirus vaccine distribution rights after the corporate donated $100,000 to his marketing campaign. The allegation triggered a fierce backlash, together with from Florida Democrats who defended the GOP governor. 

CBS News doubled down in a statement offered to Fox News, however targeted not on the alleged corruption, however the racial disparities of vaccine distribution.

“Last week’s 60 Minutes story was about the vaccine roll-out to seniors in Palm Beach County and focused on a lack of access for minority communities,” CBS started. “Governor DeSantis’ comments about this piece do not acknowledge that his senior constituents in the Glades did not have easy access to a Publix for the vaccine. The Glades is an underserved portion of Palm Beach County with a population of 31,000 that was the focus of the 60 Minutes report.”

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The statement confused that Publix was the “only” pharmacy in Palm Beach County to have entry to the vaccine in January, when “the mostly Black and Hispanic senior residents of the Glades would need to drive 25 miles if they had a car or take a bus ride to the nearest pharmacy.” The statement added that many residents of the Glades “do not own a computer or a smartphone.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis holds a media briefing in regards to the COVID-19 vaccines on the Publix Supermarket at Treasure Coast Plaza on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, in Vero Beach.Tcn Desantis Publix 1
(Reuters)

CBS News dismissed the checklist of hospitals, well being care services, faith-based facilities, and pop-up websites DeSantis offered at a press convention earlier Wednesday, insisting they have been “not available to most seniors in Palm Beach County in January and part of February” and that a “majority” nonetheless have to depend on Publix to get the vaccine. 

“The Governor referenced CVS and Walgreens, however vaccines did not reach those pharmacies in the Glades until late February for CVS and mid-March for Walgreens, well after the Governor began distributing the vaccine with Publix on Jan 21, 2021,” CBS News said, alluding to the federal program that focused long-term care communities. “For this reason, the Governor’s comments about CVS and Walgreens were not included in the original broadcast.”

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The omission of DeSantis’ feedback led to the allegations of misleading modifying so as to push the “pay-for-play” narrative. 

DeSantis had defined to “60 Minutes” correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi that Walgreens and CVS have been targeted on long-term care communities to vaccinate seniors whereas Publix “raised their hand” first to additional implement the vaccine rollout. 

Florida State Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat, stated he advised “60 Minutes” that the Publix story was “bulls—.”

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