CBS News has defended its controversial “60 Minutes” report widely criticized as a “hit piece” against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, R., but other CBS News programs have distanced themselves from the story.
The “60 Minutes” report suggested DeSantis gave the Publix grocery store chain preferable treatment to offer the coronavirus vaccine based on its donations to his PAC, while also painting the governor as a villain for who prioritized at-risk senior citizens over teachers. CBS News has maintained it did nothing wrong, but critics have found multiple issues with the reporting.
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A review of transcripts show “CBS Evening News” and “CBS This Morning” have both passed on the “60 Minutes” report that has been condemned by Democratic state officials, conservative pundits, Publix, and DeSantis himself. When “60 Minutes” breaks a major story, it would typically be reported across CBS News platforms, but the DeSantis segment hasn’t made the cut.
CBS News declined comment when asked why other programs didn’t pick up the “60 Minutes” reporting.
DeSantis has only been mentioned once this week between “CBS Evening News” and “CBS This Morning,” but it had nothing to do with the controversial report. The governor was named Monday on the CBS morning program during a report on the toxic water crisis in Florida.
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“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. We requested and conducted interviews with dozens of sources and authorities involved,” a CBS spokesperson told Fox News on Tuesday.
“For over 50 years, the facts reported by 60 MINUTES have often stirred debate and prompted strong reactions,” the CBS News spokesperson continued. “Our story Sunday night speaks for itself.”
The statement also took shots at a pair of Democratic state officials in Florida who have defended the governor. However, the CBS News statement ignored the story’s key accusation of pay-for-play.
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When asked why a defense of pay-for-play allegations from the “60 Minutes” report wasn’t in the statement, a CBS News spokesperson told Fox News the newsmagazine simply repeated claims already made in Florida newspapers and declined additional comment.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.