Speed Reads

'absolute malarkey'

Democratic mayor accuses 60 Minutes of airing 'intentionally false' story on Florida's vaccine rollout

A Democratic mayor in Florida is coming to the governor's defense following a 60 Minutes story on the state's vaccine rollout, alleging the show's reporting was "intentionally false."

60 Minutes on Sunday aired a story in which correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi reported on allegations that Florida's "vaccination rollout has favored the wealthy." It was critical of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for partnering with Publix to distribute vaccines, suggesting the move may have been influenced by the governor having received donations from the supermarket chain.

On Monday, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner (D) defended DeSantis and slammed 60 Minutes over this story.

"The reporting was not just based on bad information — it was intentionally false," Kerner alleged, per Fox News. "I know this because I offered to provide my insight into Palm Beach County's vaccination efforts and 60 Minutes declined."

Kerner went on to say that he and the county administrator asked DeSantis "to expand the state's partnership with Publix to Palm Beach County," and he accused 60 Minutes of leaving this fact out of its story "because it kneecaps their narrative," adding that the show "should be ashamed." Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, who served as a Democrat in the Florida House, also called the story "absolute malarkey," saying "no one from the governors office suggested Publix," per Mediaite.

Alfonsi clashed with the governor at a press conference, as seen in the segment, with DeSantis accusing the 60 Minutes correspondent of pushing a "fake narrative" as she grilled him by asking how the state's partnership with Publix was "not pay-to-play." Video later showed DeSantis' full response that wasn't included on 60 Minutes.

Following Kerner's statement on Monday, The Atlantic's Derek Thompson argued that "a lot of media figures have been out over their skis trying to put DeSantis on blast when Florida's pandemic behavior/performance has been fairly average."