On Tuesday, CBS issued a statement in response to the backlash from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on a 60 Minutes segment about vaccine rollouts in his state.
In a statement obtained by Shelby Talcott of The Daily Caller, CBS News stood by their story, saying that “our story on Sunday night speaks for itself.”
"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," the statement reads.
The spokesperson went on to list those they had tried to interview for the story.
"We requested and conducted interviews with dozens of sources and authorities involved. 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 idea we ignored their perspective is untrue. Counter to his statement yesterday, we also spoke on the record with Palm Beach County Mayor David Kerner," it says.
"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," the statement continues.
In an interview with Tucker Carlson Monday night, DeSantis called the 60 minutes segment a "false narrative."
The 60 Minutes segment pushed the narrative that DeSantis had chosen Publix, a popular grocery store chain in Florida, for vaccine distribution because of Publix’s past donations to DeSantis’s PAC.
A selectively edited clip was aired during the segment of a CBS reporter questioning DeSantis about the choice, insinuating malicious reasons for why Publix was chosen over other stores. This version shows DeSantis seemingly evading the questioning.
The full version of the edited clip shows DeSantis explain that Publix was chosen because CVS and Walgreens were still finishing up vaccinating long term care home residents. The option was also preferred by leaders in Palm Beach, who say most seniors live less than two miles from a Publix.
"Obviously they selectively edited the background. They tried to act like there was a conspiracy with Publix. Ignoring the fact that other pharmacies were involved before Publix, doing all our long-term care facilities, and ignoring the fact that I met with the County mayor, who…as a Democrat…said what 60 Minutes has done is bunk," said DeSantis.
DeSantis continued by saying 60 Minutes solely focused on the Publix vaccine distribution, but didn’t mention other options that Floridians in both urban and rural areas have at their disposal to receive a vaccine
"But what they didn't tell you also, Tucker, is when there was a need in a more rural part of the County, like near Lake Okeechobee, we set up a separate site in a small town called Pahokee. They didn't tell you that. They didn't tell you that we were doing African-American church vaccination drives before Publix ever gave a single shot. They didn’t tell you that," DeSantis stated.
"They didn't tell you that hospitals were doing shots starting in the third week of December, because it didn't fit the narrative," DeSantis continued. "They don't believe in facts. It was a political narrative. It was done with malicious intent and a reckless disregard for the truth," continued DeSantis.
"They would not talk to the people who were most relevant to this because they know those key Democrats, Jared Moscowitz, and mayor, Dave Kerner, would blow up their narrative. So they just put their head in the sand and pretended like those facts didn't exist."