60 Minutes Goes After the Wrong Governor, but I'm Sure They Don't Care

California Governor's Office via AP

As our RedState team has covered here, here, here, and here, 60 Minutes decided to use its once hallowed Sunday news program to do a hit piece on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis—who, in case you didn’t know it, happens to be a Republican—exposing that DeSantis’ choice of Publix for the state-wide vaccine distribution had to do with campaign contributions.

Jennifer Van Laar reported,

Alfonsi alleged that wealthy Palm Beach County seniors “cut the line” to get access to the vaccine. She’d been reporting around Palm Beach County for three months, she said, and there was a large disparity in vaccine access between “old-monied millionaires but also some of the poorest day laborers and farm workers in America,” and that it had “deteriorate[d] into a virtual free for all…as some wealthy and well-connected residents cut the line, leaving other Floridians without a fair shot.”

Alfonsi alleges that DeSantis picked Publix to distribute the vaccine instead of public health departments, which lessened access for poor and minority residents, and that by sticking with only vaccinating those 65 and older during phase 2, teachers and essential workers were discriminated against — nevermind that there hasn’t been a large number of teachers infected or killed after being infected in the workplace.

Jared Moskowitz, the Democrat Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, even took to Twitter to debunk the nonsense.

But Kenny Webster asks the million-dollar question: If political donations from Publix to DeSantis are the sticking point, why did 60 Minutes not point out the Publix donations to Democrat elected officials?

While we’re all pretending to be outraged about political donations and their affect on vaccines:

Pfizer gave Biden $372,048 and then waited until he was declared the winner to release their vaccine even though it was ready in October 2020.

And while we’re still pretending, then cue your outrage for California’s Governor Hair Gel himself, Gavin Newsom.

Definitely partisan. Especially since in February, CapRadio California did an entire expose on Newsom granting no-bid contracts to some of his biggest donors: contracts centered around COVID-19 ventilators and the handling of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Instead of chasing a real story with credible evidence, 60 Minutes decides to selectively edit DeSantis’ response to their allegations, and make stuff up.

Because the full answer would shed light on how DeSantis prioritized those most vulnerable to COVID-19: 60-plus, those in care facilities, and those with comorbidities; but, 60 Minutes could not put down that narrative, even if the truth was the complete opposite.

Fox News transcript presents DeSantis’ fuller response:

“First of all, the first pharmacies that had [the vaccine] were CVS and Walgreens and they had a long-term care mission, so they were going to the long-term care facilities. They got the vaccine in the middle of December, they started going to the long-term care facilities the third week in December to do LTCs,” DeSantis told Alfonsi. “So that was their mission, that was very important and we trusted them to do that. As we got into January, we wanted to expand the distribution points.

“So yes, you had the counties, you had some drive-thru sites, you had hospitals that were doing a lot, but we wanted to get it into communities more. So we reached out to other retail pharmacies: Publix, Walmart, obviously CVS and Walgreens had to finish that mission and we said we’re going to use you as soon as you’re done with that,” DeSantis continued.

The Republican went on to say that Publix was the “first one to raise their hand” to say they were ready to distribute the vaccine.

While 60 Minutes chased their manufactured narrative on a Republican governor, they ignored that Newsom saddled himself with the MyTurn scheduling system to handle distribution response. The Guardian recently exposed that this system is one of the reasons why California’s vaccine rollout has been fraught with issues. The website crashes quite often, it sometimes doesn’t show any available appointments or lists appointments that do not actually exist. Then there is the dangerous trend of allowing users to sign up for a first vaccine dose, but not for the second.

While seniors in Florida have been fully vaccinated, Newsom is only now making the vaccine eligible to those 50 and up. How is this protecting the most vulnerable?

Along with Ric Grenell, journalist Mollie Hemingway is finding humor in the cognitive dissonance of the legacy media.

Newsom has already done exactly what 60 Minutes wants to accuse Ron DeSantis of doing: giving special access to political donors. The CapRadio investigation into Newsom offering no-bid contracts to his most generous donors presented detailed information on just how much donors contributed to either Newsom’s election, re-election, or ballot measure campaigns.

As stated above, Newsom awarded contracts to Blue Shield, which, in November of 2020, contributed $200,000 to Newsom’s ballot measure committee. Lo and behold, in February, Blue Shield was awarded no-bid contracts up to $15 million to lead the State’s vaccine distribution. Other corporations who greased the governor’s palms were Bloom Energy, and United Health.

Here are the contributions from:

 

Blue Shield of California

  • 2018: Contributed $42,000 to Newsom
  • July 2019: Contributed $31,000 to Newsom and $69,000 to Newsom’s ballot measure committee
  • April 2020: Newsom appointed CEO to co-lead testing task force; 15 of 68 members are from Blue Shield
  • November 2020: Contributed $200,000 to Newsom’s ballot measure committee
  • February 2021: Awarded no-bid contract up to $15 million to lead state’s vaccine distribution.
In January, as California’s vaccine rollout stumbled, Newsom announced the state would hand over distribution responsibility to health insurance company Blue Shield, and with help from Kaiser Permanente. The move raised questions — in particular, how much it would cost and why those two companies were chosen. A letter of intent obtained by CapRadio confirms there was not a bidding process.

UnitedHealth has also been good to Gavin:

UnitedHealth

  • 2018: Contributed $58,400 to Newsom
  • December 2019: Contributed $31,000 to Newsom
  • April 2020: Subsidiary OptumServe received $100 million no-bid contract to expand testing in California; later increased to $177 million
  • August-October 2020: Subsidiaries received at least $315 million in contracts, through expedited bidding process, for COVID-19 data tracking and testing
  • December 2020: Contributed $31,000 to Newsom and $100,000 to Newsom’s ballot measure committee
In April, Newsom touted the state’s partnership with UnitedHealth subsidiary OptumServe, which would set up testing sites in hard-to-reach and underserved communities.

As well as Bloom Energy:

Bloom Energy

  • September 2018: Contributed $29,200 to Newsom
  • December 2019: Contributed $31,000 to Newsom
  • March 2020: Received  $1 million no-bid contract to refurbish ventilators, later increased to $2 million
  • October 2020: Contributed $25,000 to Newsom
Bloom Energy is a San Jose-based clean energy company that specializes in high-tech fuel cells.
In March, Newsom reached out to its CEO KR Sridhar and solicited the company to refurbish ventilators. The governor said a different service provider estimated a month turnaround to repair 200 ventilators; Sridhar indicated Bloom could do it quicker.
Days later, the state awarded Bloom the no-bid contract. Jennifer Duffourg, spokesperson for Bloom, says the company refurbished the ventilators at cost.

Just as in the case of New York Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is swimming in a river of corruption and wrongdoing, but the media only discusses how great his backstroke is, so they are willfully ignoring the double-dealing of Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom while manufacturing dirt on Republican Ron DeSantis.

Even with Newsom’s happy gaslighting, the New York Times recently gave him a grade of B- in his handling of the vaccine rollout.

But the triumphant pronouncements and dazzling raw numbers — more than 18 million shots have been given to almost a third of California’s population — gloss over a messier reality

From almost the first day shots were administered in the state, Dec. 14, the vaccine rollout has been dogged by a certain amount of confusion: There have been abrupt rule changes. And an opaque, multimillion-dollar contract with the insurer Blue Shield of California to manage the state’s vaccine rollout prompted an outcry from local officials, some of whom have suggested Mr. Newsom’s fear of being recalled was driving his decision-making.

Ultimately, though, how much has all of that affected the state’s outcomes?

I wanted to simplify the conversationSo I reached out to a dozen epidemiology, public health and equity experts throughout California and outside the state, and asked them to grade the state’s vaccine rollout and explain why.

The average grade they gave? B-

Whether the media chooses to ignore it, California voters are warning His Hairfulness not to get ahead of his skis: