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Tipsheet

Justice Served? Anti-DeSantis Conspiracy Theorist Admits Guilt, Resolves Criminal Case

AP Photo/John Raoux

For a hot minute or two, Rebekah Jones was all the rage on the Left and among many 'news' media figures.  She was presenting herself as a self-stylized "whistle blower" who was supposedly blowing the lid off of a COVID data suppression scandal in Florida, later claiming to have been retaliated against by the DeSantis administration.  Among the legions of Democratic political figures and Democrat-aligned journalists who were relentlessly obsessed with attacking DeSantis over anything any everything, her tale of bravery and martyrdom was pure catnip.  She was, for awhile, a cause celebre.  The problem, it turned out, is that she's a kook, a liar, and a criminal.  National Review's Charles Cooke wrote the definitive takedown of Jones last year, prompting the threat of a lawsuit from her.  It never materialized, of course, because Cooke simply told the truth about her:

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...It’s nonsense from start to finish. Jones isn’t a martyr; she’s a myth-peddler. She isn’t a scientist; she’s a fabulist. She’s not a whistleblower; she’s a good old-fashioned confidence trickster. And, like any confidence trickster, she understands her marks better than they understand themselves. On Twitter, on cable news, in Cosmopolitan, and beyond, Jones knows exactly which buttons to push in order to rally the gullible and get out her message...there is an extremely good reason that nobody in the Florida Department of Health has sided with Jones. It’s the same reason that there has been no devastating New York Times exposé about Florida’s “real” numbers. That reason? There is simply no story here. By all accounts, Rebekah Jones is a talented developer of GIS dashboards. But that’s all she is. She’s not a data scientist. She’s not an epidemiologist. She’s not a doctor. She didn’t “build” the “data system,” as she now claims, nor is she a “data manager.” Her role at the FDOH was to serve as one of the people who export other people’s work—from sets over which she had no control—and to present it nicely on the state’s dashboard.

Jones concocted one lie after another, fashioning a web of conspiratorial deranged falsehoods in which she was conveniently cast as a courageous truth-teller, fighting against the nasty and deceitful Ron DeSantis and his minions.  In reality, she is the villain of the story.   A senior Democratic official in Florida finally blasted her as a non-credible purveyor of constant 'disinformation,' which must have been embarrassing to fellow Democrats in the state who'd spent political capital propping her up, in their blind zeal to damage the governor.  This passage from that Politico story was particularly damning:

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"[Jones] was eventually charged by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement with illegally gaining access to a computer system, a felony. The case remains outstanding. Jones also faces a criminal charge for allegedly stalking a former student at Florida State University, where Jones taught. In a self-published manifesto, Jones admitted having sex with the student. She then lost her FSU job before going to work designing the state Department of Health Covid dashboard, a job she was also fired from amid a dispute over posting data on the website. Jones has made claims about being forced to change data to make Florida's Covid situation appear better that she would later disavow or that independent media investigations found wanting."

At the time, the criminal action against Ms. Jones (related to the felonious illegal access to a state computer system) was still pending. It now appears to have been resolved:


She's required to pay a substantial fine, engage in community service, seek professional help, and admit that she did it.  Because she's an unhinged grifter, she's framing this outcome as a vindicating win, but it's quite the opposite.  It's been a tough month or so for Jones, who managed to get herself nominated as the Democratic candidate for Congress in Florida's 1st district, losing by 36 percentage points.  By contrast, some conservatives are taking a reality-based victory lap, wondering if there will ever be accountability for those who promoted Jones and her insane garbage because it fit a partisan narrative:

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The Jones episode is a fine distillation of tribalism in practice, as is the eyes-averting silence from many about the dramatic downfall of another once-celebrated Resistance hero.  We also referenced both of these implosions yesterday.  Amazingly enough, ousted CNN anchor Chris Cuomo is still partially defending Jones, apparently invested in a debunked part of her nonsense fairy tale, unaware that she's been entirely discredited across the board:


I'd call this humiliating for Cuomo, but it's unclear if certain members of that family have any capacity for shame.

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