Last night, 60 Minutes released one of the most blatantly dishonest hit pieces you’ll see targeted at a politician not named Donald Trump. For background, see RedState’s prior coverage here, here, and here.
The short version of what happened is that CBS decided to take two unrelated facts and present them as an all-encompassing narrative of scandal around Florida’s vaccine roll-out. Specifically, they accused Publix, a massive grocery store chain in the state, of paying off Gov. Ron DeSantis to garner preferential access to vaccine distribution.
Of course, none of that is true, which is why even two Democrats, including the former head of Florida Emergency Management, called out 60 Minutes for their lies. Now, Publix has responded, and it just makes things even worse.
— Publix (@Publix) April 5, 2021
It’s absolutely unconscionable that a private company that was simply helping distribute vaccines now has to put out a statement like this to counter a blatantly false report by a major news organization. CBS News isn’t some far-left, online blog. They are supposed to have basic standards, though, they clearly don’t.
The reality of what happened in Florida is simple. Publix is the largest grocery store and pharmacy chain in the state. But more importantly, they were the only major company ready to start facilitating vaccine distribution at the time. The suggestion that Publix, a beloved company in Florida, was somehow able to buy off DeSantis with a PAC contribution is asinine on its face.
It’s not even clear that Publix made money off its distribution efforts. As they say in their statement, they felt they were simply serving their community, and I would guess it’s actually an inconvenience to their bottom line to have their parking lots full of people waiting in line for a vaccination. Further, how disgusting is it to attack a company like this with unevidenced innuendo when they were simply trying to save lives and help their state?
— Brit Hume (@brithume) April 5, 2021
This 60 Minutes report has fallen apart in record time, and it feels like a big deal at this point. Whether that will elicit any corrections is an open question. I suspect that’s unlikely. What is certain is, though, is that CBS News’ already tattered reputation has taken another massive hit. No one should trust their coverage of anything going forward. The Democrat Mayor of Palm Beach said he tried to give a comment to 60 Minutes to show them their report was false. That offer was refused.
In other words, this was a hit piece from the very beginning. CBS News didn’t want the facts. Rather, they wanted a scalp, and now they’ve swung at the king and missed. DeSantis will come out of this stronger on the other side.