Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) blasted “corporate media” and promised to hold news outlets accountable after CBS parroted unsupported allegations of a pay-to-play scheme against the governor.
CBS’s “60 Minutes” ran a segment on Florida’s COVID vaccination program while pushing allegations that the governor awarded the supermarket chain Publix a contract to disseminate the vaccine in exchange for campaign funds. The allegations have been denied by DeSantis, Publix, and the Democratic mayor of Palm Beach County who worked with the governor’s office on the vaccine distribution plan for the Palm Beach community.
“They cut out everything that showed that their narrative was a piece of horse manure and it shows you how dishonest, these are smear merchants – that’s why nobody trusts corporate media. They are a disaster in what they are doing,” DeSantis told a group of reporters on Tuesday. “They knew what they were doing was a lie. I knew what they were doing was a lie. Everybody here knows what they were doing is a lie. They know that we know they’re lying and yet they continue to lie.”
“We offered them the information and they declined to interview the key people because they didn’t want to let go of the narrative. Well, guess what? There are going to be consequences for that,” DeSantis said.
The CBS clip showed reporter Sharyn Alfonsi questioning DeSantis on an alleged pay-to-play scheme, but CBS cut out the substance of DeSantis’s response, making the governor seem uncommunicative and combative. The segment has received bipartisan backlash from Florida officials.
“They spliced it because they can’t handle the truth, and they know if they would have put out everything, they wouldn’t have had a story,” DeSantis continued. “They went for the smear, they’ve been caught red-handed.
“The message is for people out there, unless you’re a partisan leftist, do not trust corporate media. You can’t trust them. They’re not trustworthy. They will lie, they will smear and then they just move on to the next target and think that they’re going to be able to get away with it,” the governor continued. “You come down to our state and you try to smear people, we’re going to bite back and we’re going to hold you accountable. So this is not over by any stretch of the imagination.”
Governor @RonDeSantisFL Blasts 60 Minutes & Corporate Media
"They cut out everything that showed that their narrative was a piece of horse manure."
"I know corporate media thinks that they can just run over people, you ain't running over this Governor. I'm punching back." pic.twitter.com/EpZYW3PwYU
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) April 6, 2021
CBS issued a statement defending its edit of the clip, saying that they cut out DeSantis’s response for “clarity.”
“As we always do for clarity, 60 Minutes used the portion of the governor’s over two-minute response that directly addressed the question from the correspondent,” a CBS spokesman told Mediaite on Tuesday.
Palm Beach County Mayor David Kerner slammed CBS in a statement Monday accusing the network of lying to create a fake scandal about the DeSantis administration and Florida’s vaccination efforts.
“I watched the ’60 Minutes’ segment on Palm Beach County last night and feel compelled to issue this statement. The reporting was not just based on bad information – it was intentionally false,” Kerner wrote. “I know this because I offered to provide my insight into Palm Beach County’s vaccination efforts and ’60 Minutes’ declined.”