Earlier this week, CBS News’ “60 Minutes” deceptively edited a heated back-and-forth between one of its correspondents and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The report, which has since been condemned by democrats and republicans alike, suggested DeSantis gave Publix priority to distribute the coronavirus vaccine because of its donations to his PAC.
Specifically, it claimed that 67 of the chain’s locations in Palm Beach County received vaccines at an early date because of a $100,000 donation to DeSantis in December.
But, what they failed to mention is the company’s distributions to democrats, which amounted to over $200,000 during the 2020 election cycle.
Let’s take a look.
Publix donated $43,000 to democratic senatorial candidates and $157,000 to democrats running for the United States House of Representatives, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.
As reported by Mediaite, top congressional democrats were among the company’s favored candidates, including Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who took $10,000 from Publix in 2020. An additional $2,000 went to Warner’s colleague, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. Former Alabama Sen. Doug Jones took $1,000. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking House democrat, was the company’s top beneficiary in that chamber, raking in $5,000 in 2019 and another $5,000 in 2020.
Publix also shelled out donations to Florida democrats, including $8,500 to former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and $5,000 to former Rep. Donna Shalala.
These donations were all in addition to $30,000 given to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $30,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Other candidates on the list included:
- Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell: $5,000
- Florida Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Val Demings: $5,000 each; Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto and Frederica Wilson: $3,000 each; Lois Frankel: $2,500; and Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings: $1,000
- Georgia Reps. David Scott, Sanford Bishop and the late John Lewis: $5,000
- Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos: $5,000
- North Carolina Reps. G.K. Butterfield: $5,000; Alma Adams: $4,500; and David Price: $3,000
- South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn: $5,000
- Tennessee Reps. Steve Cohen and Jim Cooper: $2,000
- Virginia Reps. Bobby Scott: $7,500; Don Beyer: $3,000; Donald McEachin: $4,500; Gerry Connolly and Jennifer Wexton: $2,000
Despite DeSantis, Publix and several democratic state officials speaking out against the network, CBS is standing by the report.
“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 spokesman for the network said in a statement to Mediaite.
“For over 50 years, the facts reported by ‘60 Minutes’ have often stirred debate and prompted strong reactions. Our story Sunday night speaks for itself,” CBS said in an additional statement.