The journalistic reputation of CBS News’ “60 Minutes” program was already not good well before their bogus report on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis aired last week. But since that time it’s been in a dramatic freefall, as the hits against them just keep on coming.
They tried the “pay to play” narrative on DeSantis and grocery chain Publix in regards to the state’s vaccine distribution plan through deceptively edited clips, and that was thoroughly debunked not just by DeSantis but also by prominent Democrats in the state of Florida with direct knowledge of the situation.
When that didn’t work, “60 Minutes” tried to shift gears by pushing a predictable “racism” narrative, suggesting – as some Florida-based media outlets had already done – that DeSantis was only concerned about wealthy seniors in mostly white communities because they are a key voting bloc. That didn’t go so well, either, as my colleague Bonchie reported Thursday.
But a closer look at some of the other so-called “reporting” from “60 Minutes” on the vaccine distribution program in Florida reveals just how deep the level of their deception on the “racism” angle actually was.
In a piece that ran on the same day their discredited DeSantis piece aired, “60 Minutes” reported on how “by March, 11 weeks into the frenzied vaccine rollout, more than half of seniors in the Glades,” where the “majority of the population is Black and Latino, and many live below the poverty line … had not been vaccinated.”
They noted that Tammy Jackson-Moore, a community activist, started an awareness campaign that included going on a “media blitz” and getting mayors to write letters to the governor’s office regarding the transportation issues Glades seniors had in getting the nearest Publix location, which was 25 miles away. She ended up getting the attention of former NFL player Anquan Boldin, who grew up in the Glades. It was when Boldin got involved that things kicked into high gear (which Bonchie referenced in his report):
When Boldin learned that some residents in the Glades couldn’t access vaccine sites, he wanted to help. The retired football player called Florida Secretary of the Lottery John Davis, a fellow Pahokee native and FSU football alum. “I got in contact with John and let him know the needs we had out in the Glades area. He connected me to some people at the governor’s office and we got the ball rolling,” Anquan Boldin told 60 Minutes Overtime.
About a week later, a vaccination site opened at a facility at a local high school—the Anquan Boldin Football Stadium. On opening day, Boldin says he met residents from all over the Glades who were thrilled to get the vaccine. “They were just excited [to have] the vaccination…a lot of people were excited,” he said.
What does the “60 Minutes” piece on Boldin’s involvement leave out? It leaves one with the impression that no attention was paid to the Glades by the governor’s office until mid-March. But that’s not true. While the piece mentioned Florida Lottery Sec. John Davis’ efforts to get vaccine sites in the Glades, what the piece didn’t mention is that he was touting the governor’s response to Boldin’s and his pleas back in early February. Davis’ Twitter timeline is filled with his tweets on the issue and his retweets of DeSantis’ comments about bringing vaccine distribution sites to Glades communities in February:
Today I was joined by two Pahokee natives & @FSUFootball greats, @AnquanBoldin & @floridalottery Sec. John Davis, to announce 500 COVID vaccinations for FL’s seniors in Western Palm Beach Co. We will work to expand doses here as we receive more supply from the federal government. pic.twitter.com/WkoPd35xOX
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 3, 2021
I would like to thank Governor Ron DeSantis, Anquan Boldin, the Glades area tri-city mayors and many others for their leadership and commitment today in making sure the most vulnerable amongst us living in Muck City has access to t…https://t.co/JaRID43ZMg https://t.co/zYpkTlx5ES
— John F. Davis (@JohnFDavisJD) February 4, 2021
Thanks to @GovRonDeSantis, the state of Florida will be setting up a permanent vaccination site in my hometown of Pahokee at Anquan Boldin Stadium!
The site will offer 500 shots per week & will be open every day beginning this Friday. @HealthyFla sending out more details soon!
— John F. Davis (@JohnFDavisJD) February 8, 2021
RT @GovRonDeSantis: I’m pleased to announce Florida’s participation in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which includes @Walmart, @SamsClub & @Publix. Through this program, vaccines will be offered at 490 pharmacy locations in 52 counties. pic.twitter.com/f2WBkn3qZP
— John F. Davis (@JohnFDavisJD) February 10, 2021
Today the state announced the establishment of six COVID-19 vaccination sites — in addition to our Pahokee site — to provide greater access to the vaccine in underserved communities in the following counties: Broward, Duval, Leon, Miami-Dade, and Osceola. pic.twitter.com/RP2Zyc3Hf0
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 25, 2021
These sites will administer 200 vaccines per day and be open 7 days a week. For additional information and the location of each site, click here – https://t.co/EerxetsDD2
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 25, 2021
In response to the “60 Minutes” hit piece on DeSantis, Davis did not mince words:
Sad to see 60 minutes try to push a false narrative. When Anquan and I told @GovRonDeSantis we needed a vaccine site in Pahokee – he delivered without hesitation……PERIOD. https://t.co/Z6FIPsLkSL pic.twitter.com/O5EmYdile4
— John F. Davis (@JohnFDavisJD) April 6, 2021
So at this point, we’ve got two prominent Democrats who dispute the report, and now a prominent African-American official in the state who also says it’s BS. Will “60 Minutes” still try to stand by their discredited and shoddy reporting? Probably. Because as history has shown us with the media when they’ve been caught at this sort of thing, they just keep on keeping on. Because narratives – and trying to nuke the political aspirations of a popular Republican public official – are more important than credibility with readers and viewers, apparently.