DeSantis says ‘60 Minutes’ report was ‘smear narrative’

Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference on Wednesday in Tallahassee. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG - All rights reserved.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – During a news conference on Wednesday in Tallahassee, Gov. Ron DeSantis said a recent “60 Minutes” report on CBS distorted the facts about an initiative to distribute COVID-19 vaccines at Publix Super Markets.

DeSantis said the report was part of a “smear” narrative because there was never an exclusive deal with Publix Super Markets in Palm Beach County.

“Corporate media thinks they can do whatever the hell they want … They divide this country on purpose with their partisanship and their fake narratives,” DeSantis said.

CBS released a statement about the report saying DeSantis and Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz declined to talk to them before the story’s deadline.

DeSantis said several faith-based missions that had nothing to do with Publix targeted the African-American communities in Palm Beach.

“What Jared did with the African American churches, was the first in the country to do that,” DeSantis said.

Moskowitz said during the news conference with DeSantis that Florida was one of the first states in the nation to have sites in vulnerable areas and to go door-to-door in underserved communities.

“The decision to use Publix was made in my office ... it was developed with 10 people in the room,” Moskowitz said.

Moskowitz said the state chose Walmart, Publix, and Winn-Dixie as partners for the federal retail program. He said his first choice to start a pilot program was Walmart.

DeSantis said that by Jan. 5 the state had allocated more than 100,000 first doses to CVS and Walgreens.

“The state of Florida never paid Publix one red cent,” DeSantis said.

“60 Minutes” reported Publix donated $100,000 to DeSantis’ political action committee.

“When Florida state data revealed people of color were vaccinated at a much lower rate than their wealthier neighbors, ’60 Minutes’ reported the facts surrounding the vaccine’s rollout, which is controlled by the governor,” a CBS representative wrote in a statement to the Associated Press.

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