You’ll be pleased to know that CBS has heard your complaints about last weekend’s fiasco.
And they’ve decided it’s all good because some people liked the segment.
The clip below represents the sum total of their comments about the controversy on last night’s program. It would have been less insulting to their critics if they’d said nothing and ignored the subject entirely, as dressing it up as some anodyne partisan dispute is just their way of minimizing the gravity of what they did. “Liberals say X but conservatives say Y, so who can say who’s right? Let’s move on.”
Sunday’s @60Minutes ended with @Sharyn_Alfonsi reading comments about her shoddy hit piece on @RonDeSantisFL. She didn’t acknowledge doing anything wrong. “Some viewers, including a retired newsman, applauded the story.” #60Minutes pic.twitter.com/v5qEwT5PXc
— Brent Baker (@BrentHBaker) April 12, 2021
Charles Cooke made the point on an NRO podcast a few days ago that the lack of remorse “60 Minutes” has expressed about its hatchet job feels twice as egregious in an era in which members of the media are routinely “canceled” for lesser offenses. Alexi McCammond was pressured out of her new gig at “Teen Vogue” because of years-old tweets for which she’d apologized repeatedly; respected Times reporter Don McNeil was forced out for repeating a racial slur during a conversation about the propriety of someone else using it. Careers hang by a thread after sins against wokeness in the name of “accountability,” even if malicious intent is unclear, but accuse a governor of having leveraged his state’s COVID vaccination program for campaign cash without evidence and you’re totally fine.
You don’t even need to apologize. The only firing offense is wrongthink, and “60 Minutes” certainly isn’t guilty of that in trying to damage a rising Republican politician using nothing more than innuendo.
The conventional wisdom about the political fallout from the piece, which I generally share, is that it’ll help DeSantis. The controversy will raise his national profile, generate sympathy for him among righties, and hand him a lavish opportunity to demonstrate his willingness and ability to smack Republicans’ enemies in the media, of which he’s already taken full advantage. But if I were him, I wouldn’t want my star to rise too fast too soon. There’s a certain someone with a famously large and fragile ego who won’t respond well to seeing “his” supporters cooing over DeSantis as the GOP’s new populist champion against the left. Remember that Trump reportedly resented it when Steve Bannon appeared on the cover of Time magazine in early 2017 as “The Great Manipulator,” suggesting that he was the brains behind Trump’s political success. The spotlight in Republican politics since 2015 is only ever big enough for one man and suddenly DeSantis is muscling in on it. That’s a dangerous place to be politically.
He and Trump are on good terms for now but there’s a pecking order underlying that: “While Trump used his speech [at a fundraiser on Saturday night at Mar-a-Lago] to share with donors that he was ‘disappointed’ in Pence, he has privately told advisers that if he runs again, he wants DeSantis as his running mate.” The more popular DeSantis becomes, the more that pecking order is threatened, the more DeSantis will need to worry about Trump turning on him. He’s a smart guy and doubtless understands that, so I presume he’ll be extra deferential to Trump in his public comments about him in the months ahead.
I’ll leave you with this segment from Brian Stelter’s CNN show yesterday morning. Credit where it’s due: Between this and Oliver Darcy’s report last week on the “60 Minutes” hit piece on DeSantis, CNN’s media watchdogs haven’t turned a blind eye to CBS’s malfeasance.