CBS News’ “60 Minutes” issued its lengthiest statement yet regarding the segment on Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Publix, backing its reporting yet again in the face of backlash.
The report, first published Sunday, focused on how residents living in one of the poorest parts of Palm Beach County had to travel for the vaccine, as the Florida-based supermarket chain isn’t located in the area, while wealthier communities allegedly had easier access to it. “60 Minutes” suggested that DeSantis picked Publix to distribute the vaccine for Palm Beach County because of a $100,000 donation the company made to his political committee.
Critics quickly pointed out various issues with the “60 Minutes” report, focusing in part on a clip where the show removed a chunk of DeSantis’ explanation on why Publix was chosen for distribution rights. After DeSantis called “60 Minutes” “dishonest” Wednesday and added that “the exclusive deal is a lie,” the show issued its third statement. (RELATED: ’60 Minutes’ Flamed Over ‘Hit Job’ Against Gov. DeSantis, Publix On Vaccine Distribution)
The newest statement asserted that “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,” the statement reads. “Publix was the only pharmacy in Palm Beach County to have the vaccine available for seniors in the general population of Palm Beach County in January. At this time, the mostly Black and Hispanic senior residents of the Glades would need to drive 25 miles if they had a car or take a long bus ride to the nearest Publix store, and that is if they could get a vaccine appointment online. Many people in the Glades do not own a computer or a smartphone.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis today accused ’60 Minutes’ of lying about the state’s partnership with Publix for vaccine distribution, taking particular exception to the claim that the grocer had ‘exclusive rights’ to Palm Beach County. Now ’60’ has issued a statement in response: pic.twitter.com/cX3gSyT1c4
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) April 8, 2021
The statement continued on to push back on suggestions that there were other areas available to get the vaccine, saying it only became available in the Glades in late February for CVS and mid-March for Walgreens.
“As we said in our story on April 4, 2021, the vast majority of people in Palm Beach County had no other option than Publix pharmacies,” according to “60 Minutes.”
In addition to the shortened clip, critics noted that the $100,000 donation made from Publix to DeSantis’ political committee was just a small percentage of his donations. Some individuals pointed out that other governors, like Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom, made deals with companies that donated millions of dollars over the years.
In addition to DeSantis’ comments about the segment, two Florida Democrats also pushed back on claims made by the show.