Some news agencies are saying that CBS News’ “60 Minutes” is being accused of deceptively editing a heated exchange between one of its journalist and Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over an alleged “pay for play” narrative being pushed by the reporter.
The Free Press can report that it’s not an accusation. It’s an absolute fact that the deceptive editing happened and the “60 Minutes” narrative fell apart.
“Publix, as you know, donated $100,000 to your campaign,” said correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi. “And then you rewarded them with the exclusive rights to distribute the vaccination in Palm Beach –“
DeSantis interrupted, “”First, of all what you’re saying is wrong.”
“How is that not pay for play?” Alfonsi then asked.
“That’s a fake narrative,” DeSantis replied. “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 then narrated that Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay claimed DeSantis “never met with her about the Publix deal.”
“The criticism here is that is pay for play, governor,” Alfonsi told DeSantis.
“And it’s wrong, it’s wrong,” the governor shot back. “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.”
Instead of writing quotes, watch the full press conference, unedited below.
Florida was one of the first states in the nation to partner with pharmacies to administer the vaccine. CVS and Walgreens were the first pharmacies to receive the vaccine in the state of Florida for the mission to vaccinate residents and staff of Florida’s long-term care facilities.
Then, in early January, Florida led the nation by being the first state to partner with a retail pharmacy to increase access to vaccinations for seniors in our communities ahead of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Florida partnered with Publix because they were ready to administer the vaccine in their pharmacies in a matter of days, whereas other pharmacies were not ready.
Florida’s decision to utilize Publix early on helped vaccinate thousands of people who may not have otherwise had access. This was one of the most effective ways to get shots in arms. Not utilizing this partnership with Publix as soon as possible would have been malpractice, especially as the state was racing to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.
Since January, the state has partnered with several pharmacy retailers to offer the vaccine, including 730 Publix pharmacies, 650 Walgreens pharmacies, more than 150 CVS locations, more than 125 Sam’s Club and Walmart locations, and more than 70 Winn-Dixie locations.
To date, Publix has administered more than one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida.
Since the beginning of the State’s partnership with Publix, Floridians have written to Governor DeSantis, thanking him for the opportunity to receive the vaccine at Publix.
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