“CBS clearly made mistakes in professional journalistic judgment in the execution of this story. These are the kinds of mistakes that necessarily happen when enterprise reporting is done with bias and on the basis of pushing a preconceived political narrative,” DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News.
“Now that the holes in this report have been clearly exposed, CBS should feel compelled to publicly acknowledge its mistakes. CBS should provide a transparent explanation as to how such a story went through the many levels of the editorial process without anybody in the CBS hierarchy noticing that the piece was severely flawed,” McCall added.
Conservatives have condemned the “60 Minutes” segment that lit up social media on Sunday night. Despite the mounting criticism, CBS has dismissed much of the backlash thus far.
CBS News brushed off initial allegations that “60 Minutes” deceptively edited a heated exchange between one of its correspondents and DeSantis over an alleged “pay for play” scheme being pushed by the reporter.
“As we always do for clarity, ‘60 Minutes’ used the portion of the governor’s over two-minute response that directly addressed the question from the correspondent,” a CBS News spokesperson told Fox News.
As the backlash continued on Monday, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, a Democrat, accused CBS’ “60 Minutes” of “intentionally false” reporting.
“The reporting was not just based on bad information – it was intentionally false,” Kerner said in a scathing statement on Monday. “I know this because I offered to provide my insight into Palm Beach County’s vaccination efforts and ’60 Minutes’ declined. They know that the governor came to Palm Beach County and met with me and the county administrator and we asked to expand the state’s partnership with Publix to Palm Beach County… ‘60 Minutes’ should be ashamed.”
But CBS News downplayed Kerner’s statement, pointing Fox News to a tweet sent by Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay who disputed Kerner’s statement.
“McKinlay works for Kerner,” a CBS News spokesperson said.
CBS News has declined to provide additional comments.
DePauw feels it’s “doubtful” CBS will actually do any sort of honest public introspection regarding the segment.
“The establishment media are comfortable allowing their credibility to suffer while pushing agendas. The sad thing is that millions of people saw the original, flawed report and will never know the proper context,” McCall said. “This situation with CBS and DeSantis fully demonstrates why public confidence in the media is cratering, and how the establishment media are failing to provide the measured information needs of the nation.”
By Tuesday morning, backlash to the story was national news and Gov. DeSantis joined “Fox & Friends” to offer his thoughts on the story that he called a “hit job” from liberal media.
“All [CBS] were looking to do was a hit job on me to try to smear me just because I’m in the other party than them. That’s the only reason,” DeSantis said. “This is partisan corporate media and I think at this point these people like this reporter they’re basically ambulance chasers with a microphone. They are not trustworthy. They lie. We know they’re lying, they know that we know that they’re lying and yet they lie and they lie and they lie.”
DeSantis had previously condemned “60 Minutes” when speaking to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Monday night.
Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson feels CBS simply wanted to tarnish DeSantis and doesn’t expect the network to correct the story. In fact, he’s concerned the “misinformation” will stick to the Republican governor.
“The mainstream liberal media will tell us who they fear, and they fear Ron DeSantis for the 2024 presidential election. So the attempt to create a negative DeSantis narrative is starting early, and will be done often. The narrative is that DeSantis was incompetent and played partisan politics in handling COVID and the vaccine distribution. This narrative is the opposite of reality, as even some Democrat politicians coming to DeSantis’ defense against the ‘60 Minutes’ story shows,” Jacobson told Fox News.
“In this post-truth media environment, there is still a good chance the narrative will stick and millions of people who watched ‘60 Minutes’ will never know the truth, particularly after the ‘60 Minutes’ misinformation is amplified on social media. This also is another mark against journalism as a profession,” Jacobson continued.
“When arguably the premier news magazine show in the nation engages in spreading misinformation, is it any wonder Republicans and conservatives view the mainstream media as their political enemy?”
Publix called the notion that it received special access “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. 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,” a Publix spokesperson told Fox News.