The fiasco of Sunday’s “60 Minutes” report on Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis came as little surprise to longtime critics of the program, who have called out a recent pattern of softball interviews with left-leaning guests and little to no airtime devoted to scandals surrounding prominent Democrats.
Critics trace the leftward shift to an October 2020 interview with then-President Donald Trump, in which “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl repeatedly rejected the president’s mention of the scandal surrounding then-candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
In a video of the exchange posted by Trump at the time, Stahl can be heard denying that any scandal involving the Biden family even existed, despite the publication of several damning reports questioning Hunter’s overseas business dealings ahead of the November election.
In a subsequent interview with Biden, correspondent Norah O’Donnell brushed past Hunter’s laptop scandal, asking just one carefully worded question about whether Biden believed the controversy to be a result of “a Russian disinformation campaign.”
The interview was reportedly recorded the same day that then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe denied any kind of Russian involvement in the matter at all, but CBS did not update their broadcast to reflect this. Hunter Biden was asked about the scandal while promoting his new memoir in an appearance on “CBS Sunday Morning” but “60 Minutes” has yet to devote significant air time to the issue.
In February, “60 Minutes” came under more fire after it devoted just forty-seven seconds to an update on the scandals surrounding The Lincoln Project. The co-founders of the anti-Trump PAC had been the subjects of a lengthy, glowing profile in October 2020.
The botched hit piece against DeSantis, seen by many political observers as a top contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, alleges that the Florida Republican engaged in a pay-for-play scheme with supermarket chain Publix to distribute coronavirus vaccines after Publix donated money to his super PAC.
However, the program sevelctively edited comments by DeSantis debunking the narrative that Publix received special treatment. It also suggested DeSantis’ prioritization of the state’s 4.5 million senior citizens to receive vaccine doses was based on politics, rather than them being most at risk of dying of coronavirus.
Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat, called the suggestion that DeSantis gave special access to Publix “absolute malarkey.” The chain has more than 800 locations in Florida, he explained, making it a natural fit to assist in vaccine distribution.
Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, also a Democrat, echoed Moskowitz on Monday, accusing the program of releasing reporting that was “not just based on bad information – it was intentionally false.”
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