The press loved Rebekah Jones last year. This year she's become a forgotten footnote.
It is one of those Hollywood tropes, used when a character in the second act of a film is about to embark on a life-altering enterprise. The character, in need of creating a new aspect of their life, sits at a table to draw or write out their new plan. Rather than an initial bolt of inspiration, instead they have an arduous time of it, with a cut scene soon showing piles of waded papers filling a garbage can and surrounding their desk. This has been the stage occupied by leftists and the media for the past four years.
Rebekah Jones is the latest individual who has seen her stature first rise to prominence only to ultimately become discarded like a failed inspiration. Jones, if you do not recall, was the alleged Covid whistleblower in Florida who was claiming to have exposed efforts of state officials to alter the pandemic statistics. The press latched onto Jones in a flash, as she became the tool that was needed to undermine Gov. Ron DeSantis and prove out that his successful leadership in the state was a mirage.
It did not go well. Since her rise to prominence, Jones has fallen out of favor as a valid voice. This past December her home was raided and evidence collected looking into whether she hacked a government messaging system to implore others to speak out about alleged corruption. In January she turned herself in to authorities, and now the announcement has been made that she is dropping the lawsuit she filed against the state for that December warrant being served.
As has been frequently the case in these examples of alleged resistance heroes, the rush to highlight anyone who might damage a select target means vetting their history is usually bypassed. This zeal to find a hero frequently does not lead to a star in the firmament but instead delivers a crater.
During President Trump’s tenure we saw a parade of people who rose to prominence based on their avowed opposition to Trump, and they represent a list of failed cautionary tales in how to choose your heroes. Michael Avenatti is the most prominent example of an exalted figure the media wrapped around who became a disgrace, but he is hardly the lone case.
Currently The Lincoln Project is becoming roundly exposed for the charlatans we have reported them to be. The table of distaff names includes Stormy Daniels, Colin Kaepernick, Anthony Scaramucci, and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. (Currently he and Stormy have become allies in failure.) Even in the press, Playboy’s Brian Karem was regarded as a pitbull of sorts against the president, then with his departure Karem had his credentials yanked by the correspondents' association and sent packing.
Here in Florida the case of Rebekah was a quickly exposed farce, but the media seized upon her story in a flash. The tale of an insider who was exposing a state government falsifying its data to appear as a success was just too good to pass up! It was also too good to verify with facts.
Jones claimed she had been instructed to falsify statistics in an effort to show better infection rates and to justify reopening portions of Florida last year. She quickly became a media darling, even appearing with Chris Cuomo on CNN, a clear sign of trying to deflect away from his brother Andrew Cuomo’s fumbling fatalities in New York.
As Jones made her rounds on the news outlets and fielded dozens of interviews in the press her myth developed. She was described as being either a scientist, or a doctor. We were told that she built the state's Covid-19 portal that recorded all pandemic data, and then she was claiming she had been instructed to manipulate that data to reflect falsely upbeat figures. In addition, she was said to have been fired for refusing to comply with the conspiracy.
This was just a perfect scenario that would expose a state doing well with its pandemic response and served as a chance to undermine a GOP governor. It was all too good to be true, but our modern day media is incapable of laying off such a rich tale. Our national fact delivery experts were not interested in noting that none of the Rebekah Jones details were accurate.
For starters she is not a scientist. Jones has a degree in geography, and her education is why she was tabbed to operate the portal, as it involves compiling statistics from various locations into a functional data set. She is also not a "doctor" as some have reported, not even in the Jill Biden sense of the title. While she was studying to get her PhD from Florida State University, she became suspended and dismissed.
The removal from the state pandemic team marks the third time Jones has been fired and had criminal charges brought against her for her actions. In 2016 she was arrested as a staff member at LSU. At FSU she was involved in an affair with a student, leading to a restraining order and a number of charges, including cyberstalking and sexual harassment. Now she is facing hacking charges and probable illegal possession of government data.
In the time when Jones was a media star she was credited with building the state’s Covid-19 database. This is quite a stretch of the description. The web portal was actually the framework developed at Johns Hopkins University. Jones did not build this from scratch but used it to create the state Covid reporting network, her prescribed task as geographic information systems manager. This title is rather key in disrupting her last claim -- that she had been instructed to falsify data in this system.
Jones has made the accusation that officials had instructed her to remove cases and other crucial data in order to promote a false result of caseloads in the state, all for political purposes. Her accusation was so thin that even a sympathetic article managed to reveal the details. Jones was not instructed to scrub or delete any data. The instruction, from the lead medical professional on the pandemic team, was to suspend reporting to verify data. The email, found by The Tampa Bay Times, was from Director Craig Curry, who emailed Jones on May 4. He cited Dr. Carina Blackmore, director of the Division of Disease Control and Health Protection.
“Per Dr. Blackmore, disable the ability to export the data to files from the dashboard immediately. We need to ensure that dates (date fields) in all objects match their counterpart on the PDF line list published.”
This direction was a call to clarify specifics from the various reporting districts. It was a call to ensure the data displayed was accurate, the exact opposite of what Jones was contending. To go further, even had the statistics been altered, as Jones accuses, this could be proven out as the local authorities reporting their data would be used to show a different total, were that the case. The press, however, has insisted on believing the charges from a data analyst, while ignoring the words and reports from the various medical professionals, a stark contradiction to calls to believe the science and the doctors.
The telling detail is there has never been a corroboration of Florida data manipulation reported. The national news outlets loved putting Jones before the cameras, with some still selling the narrative of Florida cooking the Covid books, yet actual proof has not emerged. Ever since her allegations have been lodged local news outlets have been monitoring and verifying the state database figures.
This is yet another example of our national media complex being intent on selling hype and drama over facts and doing genuine investigative journalism. This is a serious enough problem, but when you roll in the details it concerns - the national pandemic and the health of our citizens - the criminality of this behavior grows.
Concerning Florida, the journalists who preach for us to listen to doctors have chosen to ignore the medical professionals - possibly even questioning them - in order to follow the fables of a lone troubled and disgruntled worker who has been long on accusations and abjectly short in delivering evidence. They are operating in direct opposition to the standards of their profession.