- Florida’s governor is taking CBS’s “60 Minutes” to task after a segment aired on Sunday.
- CBS defended the package, which linked DeSantis donations to a grocery store vaccine deal.
- The Publix grocery chain said the program made an “irresponsible suggestion” of pay-to-play.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized a “60 Minutes” segment that omitted large portions of his explanation of how a grocery store chain got approved for vaccine distribution in Palm Beach County.
The story focused on the Sunshine State’s vaccine rollout and a recent $100,000 donation from the Publix supermarket chain to DeSantis’ next gubernatorial campaign in 2022. Publix partnered with the state to administer vaccines in Palm Beach County as eligibility opened up.
In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, CBS defended the package, which was reported by correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi.
-Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) April 5, 2021
“We requested an interview with Gov. Ron DeSantis, he declined; We spoke to State Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz twice, but he declined to be interviewed on camera for our story until well after our deadline,” the CBS spokesperson wrote in the statement. “The idea we ignored their perspective is untrue.”
DeSantis’ office released a statement disputing the framing of the CBS segment.
“The irresponsible suggestion that there was a connection between campaign contributions made to Governor DeSantis and our willingness to join other pharmacies in support of the state’s vaccine distribution efforts is absolutely false and offensive,” a DeSantis spokesperson said in the statement on Monday.
The Democratic mayor of Palm Beach County, David Kerner, came to the Republican governor’s defense.
“I watched the 60 Minutes segment on Palm Beach County last night and feel compelled to issue this statement,” Kerner said on Monday. “The reporting was not just based on bad information – it was intentionally false.”
Kerner said he offered to provide his “insight” into how the deal went down, but “60 Minutes” declined.
Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, also a Democrat, tweeted at the show to express his discontent in how the segment turned out.
-Jared MASKowitz 😷 (@JaredEMoskowitz) April 4, 2021
In the CBS statement released on Tuesday, the network spokesperson said Kerner was interviewed for the story.
“Counter to his statement yesterday, we also spoke on the record with Palm Beach County Mayor David Kerner. For over 50 years, the facts reported by 60 Minutes have often stirred debate and prompted strong reactions. Our story Sunday night speaks for itself.”