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‘60 Minutes’ digs deeper hole defending ‘hatchet job’ report on DeSantis, mocked for citing praise from a ‘retired newsman’

‘60 Minutes’ digs deeper hole defending ‘hatchet job’ report on DeSantis, mocked for citing praise from a ‘retired newsman’
‘60 Minutes’ reporter Sharyn Alfonsi is facing a new round of criticism after she defended her widely panned report alleging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was involved in a “pay for play” scheme around Covid-19 vaccine distribution.

Alfonsi's report became highly controversial last week after numerous critics, including Democrats, noted that an exchange between the journalist and DeSantis at a press conference was edited to exclude seemingly pertinent information. 

“Viewers focused on an exchange with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at a press conference,” Alfonsi acknowledged as she was ending the show on Sunday night. She then detailed some reactions to the report, including a positive one she said had come from a “retired newsman” who “applauded the story.”

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“Ron DeSantis will continue to deny, refute… call your reporting a witch hunt… I can only hope… that you continue to investigate and expose the truth,” the comment from Nick Boryack read. 

Alfonsi then turned to more negative comments that “condemned” the reporting and accused the network of acting as “lobbyists” rather than journalists. 

In the exchange shown in the original report, Alfonsi asks DeSantis about a possible “pay for play” scheme involving grocery store chain Publix, noting they were given a Covid-19 vaccine distribution contract after a donation to his campaign. Edited out of the exchange was DeSantis' actual explanation of how the contract came to be, saying it was not suggested by him and was made out of necessity, as other stores like Walgreens and CVS were focused on distributing to long-term care facilities. 

Two Florida Democrats blasted the piece as misleading and provided more details that contradicted the narrative presented by CBS.

Also on rt.com ‘Intentionally false’: ‘60 Minutes’ accused of deceptively editing DeSantis clip to push Covid-19 pay-to-play narrative

Alfonsi did not directly comment on the accuracy of her reporting on Sunday evening, leading critics to once again slam the reporter and the network, accusing them of injecting political bias into their story to paint a Republican governor in a negative light.

“Journalists simply can't admit when they make a mistake. Never. They'll deny and deny until forced to do otherwise,” radiologist Pradheep J. Shanker, who also writes about public health policy, tweeted in response to Alfonsi.

“Well this was bizarre,” Robby Soave, senior editor at Libertarian magazine Reason, wrote of Alfonsi’s defense. Soave was one of many to blast the original DeSantis news segment, even suggesting on CNN that “someone probably should've gotten fired” for it.

“Trust in the press has just plummeted among Republicans, but also independents, and it’s this kind of thing that feeds into it,” Soave said. 

‘60 Minutes’ defended their reporting in a statement amidst controversy, saying it “speaks for itself,” and claiming DeSantis denied an interview with the network.

“For over 50 years, the facts reported by 60 MINUTES have often stirred debate and prompted strong reactions,” a spokesperson said. “Our story Sunday night speaks for itself.”

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