Ron DeSantis raises mirror to ‘corporate media’ amid favoritism allegations
Image via Colin Hackley.

Ron DeSantis
Critics say the administration has given preferential treatment to certain communities.

Gov. Ron DeSantis shot allegations of vaccine favoritism back at the “partisan corporate media” on Tuesday.

The Governor and his administration have faced outcry from the left over what some say are signs of repeated preferential treatment to the wealthy and political donors.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the lone Democrat on the Florida Cabinet, has asked the FBI to investigate the administration after the Miami Herald reported that residents age 65 and older at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, a pool of wealthy DeSantis donors, received vaccines in January. Senate Democratic Leader Gary Farmer is also calling for an investigation.

The Governor called allegations of preferential treatment “nonsense.”

“I think it’s a mistake to try to demonize certain seniors,” DeSantis said. “I think there’s some elements of particularly the partisan corporate media who doesn’t want people being vaccinated who disagree with them politically. That’s insane.”

That’s the latest in a constant sparring match between the Governor and the media.

One of the most high profile complaints of favoritism came last month in Manatee County after County Commission Chair Vanessa Baugh announced dedicated vaccine shipments would serve two of the wealthiest ZIP codes in the county, both of which lie within her district.

After local outcry, even from Republicans, the Governor threatened to move vaccination efforts to neighboring counties where vaccinations rates also lagged behind the state average.

“If Manatee County doesn’t like us doing this, we are totally fine doing this in counties that want it,” DeSantis said last month. “Most people, I think, will want it. There are going to be folks who complain about getting more vaccine. But I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t be complaining.”

Fewer than 20% of seniors had been vaccinated in Manatee County a few weeks ago while other counties had more than half their seniors vaccinated, the Governor said on Tuesday. More than half of the county’s seniors have now received a shot.

“What we did worked in Manatee,” DeSantis said. “We’re not done in Manatee, but that’s what it was about. When you have counties that are lagging behind, we want to try to be able to bring extra vaccine there.”

While the Governor’s critics point to wealthy communities and donors, DeSantis pointed to programs in minority and underserved communities, including ones partnering with houses of worship.

He also highlighted a site in Pahokee, a rural, majority Black and secluded corner of Palm Beach County. That site popped up after media reports highlighted the lack of access there. The Governor has credited Lottery Secretary John Davis, a Pahokee native, with elevating that matter within his administration.

“Black, White, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat, it doesn’t matter,” DeSantis said. “If you’re 65 and up, we want to get you the shot.”

During the stop in Lehigh Acres, DeSantis also continued railing against the latest federal COVID-19 stimulus bill, which he argued harms Florida by bailing out states by pandemic economic impact rather than population.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


6 comments

  • Palmer Tom

    March 9, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    Spin, spin,spin. The truth will out, Mr. Governor.

  • Sonja Fitch

    March 10, 2021 at 7:37 am

    Duffus Desantis that wall of lies is going to be your downfall. Lol lol. Vote Democrat up and down ballot for the elections in 2022.

    • Tjb

      March 10, 2021 at 10:25 am

      For a alleged tough guy he is always whining. Waiting for DeSantis to be interviewed by “corporate media”, but he won’t because it will demonstrate his disdain of the First Amendment when others free speech doesn’t agree with his views or the truth is being presented.

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    March 10, 2021 at 8:01 am

    Palmer Tom, or whatever your real name is, the truth has come out. Democrats in power are destroying the economy and letting illegals who have not been tested for COVID into the country. You’re just a far left parrot.

  • John Wright

    March 10, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Gov. DeSantis will be attacked by the Democrats even if he removed the warning label off his mattress.
    Gov. DeSantis is popular in Florida and now he’s being recognized around the country as a successful governor and possible presidential candidate. The Democrats are going insane over his popularity hence the attacks with the complicit media.

  • Sonja Fitch

    March 11, 2021 at 5:57 am

    Hush hush sweet Charlotte. Vote Democrat up and down ballot for the elections in 2022.

Comments are closed.


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