NBC News was roasted for publishing an “absurd botched hit piece” that criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ coronavirus vaccination plan for prioritizing senior citizens, such as Holocaust survivors and veterans, because they might be Republican voters.
The piece, headline “Florida governor accused of playing politics with Covid vaccine,” was first published by NBC News on Thursday but came under fire on Saturday when the Peacock Network promoted the story on Twitter.
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NBC News senior writer Corky Siemaszko wrote DeSantis’ coronavirus vaccine distribution plan has been “marked by chaos” and “critics say he’s been quick to recognize the political gold in those precious doses” because the Republican governor “ignored federal guidelines and prioritized getting senior citizens” the coveted vaccine first.
“When Holocaust survivors and Cuban survivors of the Bay of Pigs debacle — revered members of two other key Florida voting blocs — got their first shots, DeSantis made sure he was there for the news conferences,” Siemaszko wrote.
“Now the governor stands accused of using the Covid-19 vaccine to reward powerful political supporters and developers by setting up pop-up vaccination sites in planned communities they developed and where GOP voters predominate,” Siemaszko added, noting that DeSantis has said his strategy focuses on Florida’s retirement communities.
NBC News then enlisted Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Charlotte County Democratic Party Chair Teresa Jenkins to blast DeSantis.
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The story even criticized DeSantis for boasting that a 94-year-old Korean war veteran named was vaccinated. NBC News also issued a correction that inaccurately stated “a prominent donor to Gov. DeSantis” had ties to a specific vaccination station.
“What an absurd botched hit piece,” Republican strategist Matt Whitlock responded.
Many readers came away feeling like the mainstream media must be scared of DeSantis, a Donald Trump ally, running for president down the road, while others compared the negative coverage to the way New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been treated amid a growing scandal.
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Many took to Twitter with thoughts on the piece:
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