CBS Deceptively Edits Interview with Gov. DeSantis, Pushes False Covid Vaccine Narrative

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CBS “60 Minutes” released an interview between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and reporter Sharyn Alfonsi where the conversation was edited to excluded details of the Republican’s approach to vaccine distribution. The correspondent attempted to push the debunked narrative that DeSantis engaged in a “pay for play” scheme with grocery chain Publix, claiming the stores were able to distribute Coronavirus vaccines only because it had recently donated to his political action committee (PAC). However, when DeSantis took the reporter point by point how those claims were false they were conveniently edited out of the program.

According to The Daily Wire, this is what was said in the exchange, however, everything in bold was edited out:

Sharyn Alfonsi: 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—

Ron DeSantis: So, first of all, that — what you’re saying is wrong. That’s—

Sharyn Alfonsi: How is that not pay-to-play?

Ron DeSantis: —that, that’s a fake narrative. So, first of all, when we did, the first pharmacies that had it 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 of 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-through 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. For Publix, they were the first one to raise their hand, say they were ready to go. 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? Should you think this is a way to go? And 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 went, I met with the county mayor. I met with the administrator. I met with all the folks in Palm Beach County, and I said, “Here’s some of the options: we can do more drive-through sites, we can give more to hospitals, we can do the Publix, we can do this.” They calculated that 90% 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, you had 65 Publix in Palm Beach. Palm Beach is one of the biggest counties, one of the most elderly counties, we’ve done almost 75% of the seniors in Palm Beach, and the reason is because you have the 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’ve completed the long term care mission.

Alfonsi’s false claims didn’t end there. During the interview, the CBS correspondent also seemed to condemn DeSantis’ choice to vaccinate elderly seniors in Florida before healthcare workers. Alfonsi pushed further by casting doubt on DeSantis’ reasoning behind that decision, which was that seniors were the most vulnerable to the virus. The CDC has repeatedly produced reports proving the most vulnerable population are those 65 and older.

Fox News reports:

“Florida’s rollout started pretty typically. The first doses were given to healthcare workers and nursing home residents in early December,” Alfonsi began. “But then, a few weeks later, Gov. Ron DeSantis, breaking from CDC guidelines, announced he would not vaccinate teachers and essential workers next but instead put seniors first, making anyone 65 and over eligible for the vaccine, the first in the country to do that.”

“DeSantis said seniors were at highest risk,” she added, implying that it was an unsubstantiated claim made by the governor rather than following the science that showed a substantially larger death toll amongst older Americans.

The report went on to suggest DeSantis was to blame for having Florida’s 4.5 million seniors “compete against each other” to get the vaccine and for the state’s Health Department phone lines “failing” and websites “crashing.”

Publix later slammed the false narrative that Gov. DeSantis engaged in any “pay for play” with the grocery store chain calling the claim “irresponsible” and “absolutely false and offensive.”


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