‘Absolutely false and offensive’: Publix slams CBS ‘60 Minutes’ segment on COVID vaccine rollout in Florida
CBS’s “60 Minutes” is receiving backlash after airing a segment Sunday night about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis‘s vaccine distribution partnership with Publix grocery stores.
The segment revealed that the Governor partnered with Publix grocery stores, the largest grocery store chain in the state, to distribute vaccines after they donated a total of $100,000 to his political action committee in the weeks leading up to the deal’s announcement. The segment also suggested that DeSantis directed vaccines towards wealthy communities, with Florida’s poorer communities being left behind.
However, Publix slammed the “60 Minutes” segment in a statement, calling the accusation “absolutely false and offensive.”
“The irresponsible suggestion that there was a connection between campaign contributions made to Governor DeSantis and our willingness to join other pharmacies in support of the state’s vaccine distribution efforts is absolutely false and offensive,” Publix said. “We are proud of our pharmacy associates for administering more than 1.5 million doses of vaccine to date and for joining other retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia to do our part to help our communities emerge from the pandemic.”
Former Democratic Florida State Representative Jared Moskowitz said the allegations that there was a connection between the supermarket’s campaign contributions and the partnership to administer vaccines was “absolute malarkey.”
“@60Minutes I said this before and I’ll say it again. @Publix was recommended by [FL Division of Emergency Management] and [Florida Dept. Health] as the other pharmacies were not ready to start,” Moskowitz tweeted. “Period! Full Stop! No one from the Governor[‘]s office suggested Publix. It’s just absolute malarkey,” Moskowitz tweeted.
“60 Minutes” also aired footage of reporter Sharyn Alfonsi confronting DeSantis at a press conference last month over the donation report.
“Publix, as you know, donated $100,000 to your campaign,” Alfonsi began in the clip. “And then you rewarded them with the exclusive rights to distribute the vaccination in Palm Beach –“
“First, of all what you’re saying is wrong,” DeSantis replied.
“How is that not pay for play?” Alfonsi then asked.
“That’s a fake narrative,” DeSantis replied. “I met with the county mayor, I met with the administrator, I met with all the folks at Palm Beach County and I said, ‘Here’s some of the options: We can do more drive-thru sites, we can give more to hospitals, we can do the Publix.’ And they said, ‘We think that would be the easiest thing for our residents.”
The Daily Wire reported that “60 Minutes” “deceptively edited the interaction to remove nearly the entire portion” of DeSantis’ response to Alfonsi’s accusation.
A.G. Hamilton also noted that “60 Minutes” cut out “several minutes” of DeSantis’s response where he talks about meeting with other retail pharmacies but Publix was the “first one to raise their hand.”
OANN’s Jack Posobiec called out “60 Minutes” for their biased reporting on political donations.
“If you are mad about Publix donating $100G to Ron DeSantis wait till you hear about Big Pharma,” Posobiec tweeted.
“A Publix heir personally donated 100k to DeSantis. Big Pharma donated millions to Joe Biden and tens of millions more to Congress. You won’t see this on @60Minutes,” Posobiec continued.
“60 Minutes has it completely backwards. It would have been a scandal if DeSantis refused to work with Publix which is the most common supermarket found in Florida (the state with the most seniors). Not the other way around.”
“60 Minutes” has yet to comment on the edited exchange.
Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy
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Jim Jordan demands IRS explain unexpected visit to Matt Taibbi’s home during testimony
Matt Taibbi, a journalist who has been the top of the headlines for exposing Twitter censorship at the direction of the Department of Justice, had a surprise visit from an IRS agent at his home.
This visit occurred the same day that he was testifying before the Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government about what he had discovered inside of the Twitter files. The IRS did not immediately respond to Fox News digital when asked for comment. Now, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, demands to know why.
SaraACarter.com contacted the IRS media relations office Tuesday afternoon and was told by an IRS representative to send an email to their media relations office for comment. As of Tuesday evening the IRS has yet to respond to the immediate inquiry.
Jordan sent a letter Tuesday to the IRS questioning the visit by the agent to Taibbi’s home in New Jersey. Jordan could not immediately respond for comment.
In his letter, however, Jordan demanded that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen turn over documents and provide all information requested by the committee.
“As the Committee continues to examine how to best protect Americans’ fundamental freedoms and to assist the Committee in its oversight, we ask that you please provide the following documents and information:
- All documents and communications referring or relating to the IRS’s field visit to the residence of Matthew Taibbi on March 9, 2023;
- All documents and communications between or among the IRS, Treasury Department, and any other Executive Branch entity referring or relating to Matthew Taibbi; and
- All documents and communications sent or received by Revenue Officer [James Nelson] referring or relating to Matthew Taibbi.”
Jordan noted in the letter that his committee is committed to examining “the mounting evidence that the federal government pressured, coerced, and even directed technology companies to take certain actions related to digital content.”
The Republican lawmakers were astonished that “an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent visited, unannounced and unprompted, the home of one of the hearing witnesses, Matthew Taibbi, an independent journalist who has reported extensively on government abuse. In light of the hostile reaction to Mr. Taibbi’s reporting among left-wing activists, and the IRS’s history as a tool of government abuse, the IRS’s action could be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate a witness before Congress. We expect your full cooperation with our inquiry.”
The letter went on to say that “Mr. Taibbi joined fellow journalist Michael Shellenberger in testifying before the Select Subcommittee during its March 9 hearing. During the hearing, Mr. Taibbi described the serious government abuse on which he had been reporting and on which he testified to the Select Subcommittee. As he explained:
The original promise of the internet was that it might democratize the exchange of information globally. . . . What we found is in the [Twitter] files was a sweeping effort to reverse that promise and use machine learning and other tools to turn the internet into an instrument of censorship and social control. Unfortunately, our own government appears to be playing a lead role.”
Jordan’s inquiry into the IRS is not the first time the Congress has questioned the actions of this private government contracted agency.
In 2013, the IRS admitted that it had been targeting conservative groups that were seeking tax-exempt status. Lois Lerner, who had then headed the IRS, stated that her agency had been scrutinizing groups that had “tea party” or “patriots” in their names. These were almost all conservative non-profit organizations.
Those inquiries by the IRS mainly took place in 2009 and 2010, and as reported in NPR “hundreds of groups affiliated with the party had sought tax-exempt status as 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations. IRS demands for documents left many of them in bureaucratic limbo for a year or more.”
Taibbi’s investigation into Twitter’s actions prior to Elon Musk’s takeover revealed major concerns expressed by former President Donald J. Trump and his supporters that the social media giant was censoring supporters.
The investigations by Taibbi proved that shadow-banning was occurring and it was targeting primarily Republican activists, journalists, and politicians using the platform. The evidence proved the the FBI had advised Twitter to not allow stories or posts that revealed the Hunter Biden laptop scandal that had first been reported by the New York Post. Those accurate stories were censored by Twitter and later it was revealed that the laptop did belong to Hunter Biden.
Senate Republicans are also deeply concerned about the actions taken Taibbi. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted Tuesday that the IRS visit to Taibbi “this absolutely stinks to high heaven” because the “IRS has a troubling history of targeting the political enemies of Democrats.”
This absolutely stinks to high heaven. The IRS has a troubling history of targeting the political enemies of Democrats.
The IRS should NEVER be in the business of harassing the American people. https://t.co/twY3KBcgXx
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 28, 2023
Two Democrat lawmakers at the hearing were attempting to get Taibbi to reveal his sources, which is unconstitutional. Taibbi refused to answer Representatives Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, and Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands questions.
It was during his testimony that Taibbi’s house was being raided by the IRS.
You can follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC
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