The firing of a data analyst who helped design Florida’s coronavirus dashboard sent the media into a tizzy over the last few days. Wild conspiracies were spun that Florida was actually doing much worse but that the numbers were being manipulated to hide infections and deaths. Before one actual fact came out, such lunacy was already trending on Twitter and had quickly become dogma on the left.
For her part, Rebekah Jones, the dismissed employee, played right into the frenzy.
Rebekah Jones said in an email to CBS12 News that her removal was “not voluntary” and that she was removed from her position because she was ordered to censor some data, but refused to “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.”
Jones made the announcement May 5 in a farewell email to researchers and other members of the public who had signed up to receive updates on the data portal, according to Florida Today. She said that for “reasons beyond my division’s control,” her office is no longer managing the dashboard, involved in its publication, fixing errors or answering any questions.
It took little time for Jones to backtrack, claiming she was taken out of context and that she actually meant something mundane. She’s currently refusing to answer media inquiries.
But in an email the next day, Jones seemed to backtrack saying what she meant was that the new team is “busy and can’t answer every single email they get right away.” She continued, saying “Is this one of those stupid things that I shouldn’t have said?” Finally, she concluded, “I really don’t want this to be a story.”
Now, new details paint an even worse picture of Jones and the media which propped her up, using her story to baselessly attack Gov. DeSantis. Apparently, apart from being fired for insubordination, she’s also facing charges for sexual harrassment, as my colleague Robert Hahn reported Wednesday.
DeSantis said Tuesday that Jones was let go for insubordination and reiterated the stance on Wednesday with Vice President Mike Pence at his side in Orlando.
“She didn’t listen to people who are her superiors,” said DeSantis.
“Come to find out she’s also under active criminal charges in the state of Florida. She’s being charged with cyber-stalking and cyber sexual harassment,” said DeSantis.
A police report from Tallahassee Police shows a man claimed to be a victim of revenge porn by Jones in June of 2019. The man told police he had an injunction against Jones for a year until it recently expired. He said Jones posted a website which included naked pictures of him, and shared it with his place of employment and family members.
That explains why she’s gone dark. The last thing she wants to do at this point is give interviews where she could further imperil herself.
In regards to the bigger picture, the way the media are playing this is all part of a very coordinated attack on Florida’s newest governor. They are incensed that he was right and they were wrong about the trajectory of the virus in the state. For weeks, journalists proclaimed that Florida was going to be the next Italy, with some even opining that they’d surpass New York. Why? All because some pictures of people at the beach made the rounds. The subways being packed in the North East didn’t warrant condemnation, but being an in environment that isn’t even conducive to spreading the virus led to much gnashing of teeth.
In reality, Florida’s data counting has been the gold standard across the country, receiving praise from experts like Dr. Birx. There is no evidence data was ever manipulated, nor would such a scheme even be possible. You can’t hide deaths or hospitalizations. If there was a rash of new coronavirus deaths not being reported in Florida, the media would know about it and they would report on it. If hospitals were being overrun, we’d all know about it. Since that’s not actually the case, the media are left to spin conspiracy theories about DeSantis, who has outmaneuvered them at every turn.
At this juncture, Florida’s coronavirus totals look to be 10-12x lower than New Yorks despite having a higher population. There is noway to really color those results except as a massive success. That’s why DeSantis tweaks the media so much. They absolutely hate that Andrew Cuomo has been shown himself to be an incompetent figure while the guy who beat their darling in Andrew Gillum did things with far more care and ability. For example, while New York shoved people with the virus back into nursing homes, DeSantis ensured that didn’t happen from the beginning of the outbreak, saving thousands of lives.
There’s no doubt that almost all the red states have handled this outbreak far better than the blue states that have been so lauded (or defended at least). Florida is chief among them, having averted disaster with smart, logical policy making. That goes a lot further than the empty rhetoric spewing from the media and their allies in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and elsewhere.