Apr 9, 2021 - Politics
Politifact fact-checks DeSantis' dust-up with "60 Minutes"
Photo of Ron DeSantis' side profile as he speaks with one hand raised
Gov. Ron DeSantis at a press conference. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The fact-checking website Politifact has tried to tease out the truth after a controversial "60 Minutes" report drew a connection between Florida's vaccine partnership with Publix and a big contribution Publix made to Gov. Ron DeSantis' PAC.

The state of play: DeSantis called the show "smear merchants" for reporting that poorer communities had been left behind, with no Publix Super Markets in Belle Glade, in the Glades area of Palm Beach County.

  • He said his response to CBS' Sharyn Alfonsi's questions were deceptively edited.

Details: Politifact compared a full transcript of DeSantis' 3-minute response to Alfonsi — who confronted the governor at a news conference — with a 1-minute version that aired during the segment.

The ruling: "While '60 Minutes' focused on his emphatic denial, it left out the background that he offered about how the state had been working with other retail pharmacies to distribute coronavirus vaccines at long-term care facilities in December and his own interactions with Publix customers," reported Politifact's Daniel Funke.

Of note: CBS says this part of his response did not directly answer the question.

What they're saying: "In the story, there was a direct line between the campaign contribution and the rewarding [of the Publix vaccine contract]. And they never proved that," said Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member at the Poynter Institute.

  • "I think they owe it to everybody — they owe it to the governor, they owe it to Publix, they owe it to the public — to explain to us how they came to that conclusion."
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