Golden goose mistakenly tarred and feathered

On Thursday's edition of Tucker Carlson's show, Jared Moskowitz, Florida director of that state's emergency management department, was given a platform to slam Minnesota-based 3M company, essentially for diverting N95 masks and other PPE to foreign countries instead of selling those life-protecting goods to American states and cities who badly need them to protect health care workers, patients, and all of us from the unseen enemy, COVID-19.  

Sounds nefarious, corrupt, and vile, right?  Wrong!  Tucker and his staff should do a smidgen more research before spewing the virus of fake news by transmitting false narratives in order to bolster ratings.  Mr. Moskowitz's somber and aggressive beat-down of one of America's leading companies was entirely misleading even though, no doubt, born out of his legitimate frustration in trying to protect impacted Floridians.  Great cause; wrong target.  

Like virtually all medical device companies, 3M does not sell products directly to hospitals and other health care providers, whereas makers of large or expensive products like MRI machines often do.  But the distribution realities and complexity of shipping goods and collecting bills from every hospital, facility, doctor's office, clinic, and nursing home make this logistically impossible.  The companies who take physical possession of and legal title to these smaller goods include "authorized" distributors such as Cardinal HealthMcKesson HealthOwens & MinorMedline Industries, and a larger list of second- and third-tier authorized distributors around the country.  A basic understanding of commerce and the law should have prevented Carlson and Moskowitz from embarrassing themselves. 

Let's consider a different, non-medical example: if there were an urgent shortage of canned pineapple in America for whatever reason, would Dole Foods be expected to magically retrieve and redirect that item from the warehouses of Costco, Walmart, Safeway, and Kroger?  Those latter companies (the authorized distributors of those goods) would have already taken possession of — and paid for — the pineapple.  In this example, if Safeway were found to have cravenly been shipping pineapple cans offshore to Venezuela or Cuba at a time of urgent need in the U.S., then Dole Foods could later void or refuse to resign its contract with Safeway.  Of course, this would also prevent legitimate domestic Safeway customers from access to that brand going forward.  But Dole would have no legal right to dictate where Safeway is allowed to sell a product that it rightfully owned at the time in question. 

Everyone is frustrated at the lack of PPE supplies, but to scourge 3M for the actions of other companies, not under its immediate control, however misguided those actions might be, is simply wrong and falsely leaves American viewers and consumers with a bad taste in their mouths.  A rifle has a sight or a scope for a reason: so that the shooter can target the precise and specific target.  Please, Tucker, don't use a shotgun and kill everyone standing in the general vicinity.  You're better than that. 

The author has no affiliation with or financial interest in 3M but is a 40-year veteran of the medical device industry.