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Governor pushes back on 60 Minutes story

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 7:04 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 7, 2021 at 11:12 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Governor Ron DeSantis is pushing back against suggestions made in a 60 Minutes, which faulted the state’s vaccine roll out and asked if Publix got a sweetheart deal because of campaign contributions.

The language used by the Governor Wednesday could be a forerunner to legal action.

The 60 Minutes piece began by saying that they watched, “Florida’s vaccine rollout deteriorate into a virtual free for all”.

It then went on to ask about a $100,000 given by Publix, to the ‘Friends of Ron DeSantis’ political action committee.

“How is that not pay to play,” asked 60 Minutes reporter Sharyn Alfonsi.

“That’s a fake narrative,” DeSantis responded in the segment.

But left out of the piece was the Governor giving 60 Minutes a lengthy history lesson of how Publix began distributing vaccines.

“So, when they say there was an exclusive deal for Publix in Palm Beach, 60 Minutes is lying to you. They knew they were lying, and they kept on lying,” said DeSantis Wednesday.

The State’s Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, a democrat, said he spoke to 60 Minutes twice before the story aired, explaining why it was untrue, but it fell on deaf ears.

“My first choice was Walmart,” said Moskowitz.

Moskowitz again repeated the decision was his during the Wednesday press conference.

“The reason why I know that to be false is because the decision to use Publix was made in my office,” said Moskowitz.

The Governor also made it clear that Publix got no special treatment.

“No exclusivity. That was obvious. I said it in my press conference. They edited it out and they refused to put it on the air, but they kept the lie on the air. That’s intentional. That is malicious,” said DeSantis.

The Governor stood by his decision to prioritize seniors.

“We saved lives. We absolutely saved lives,” said DeSantis.

Two questions remain unanswered: as a public official is there a path for legal action?

The other: Will the Governor call for the firing of those involved in the 60 Minutes story.

It is generally difficult for public officials to sue a media outlet unless they can prove that a story was wrong, the outlet knew it was wrong and intentionally distributed the story anyway.

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