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Rebekah Jonesí firing is the COVID clickbait the media dreams of Ė but itís all fake
Tallahassee Reports ^ | May 20, 2020 | Brian Burgess

Posted on 05/20/2020 12:25:03 PM PDT by NautiNurse

Dozens of media outlets, both in Florida and nationally, published the sensational story of Dr. Rebekah Jones, a state Department of Health employee who was fired by the administration of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally, after – she says – she refused to manipulate data to support the governor’s plan to reopen the state.

But a deeper look at the underlying facts expose a less sensational, yet all-too-common narrative: a media feeding frenzy caused by a deep-seated desire to report on scandal and cover-ups, which Rebekah Jones’ claims delivered – if only they were true.

They are not.

Let’s pick through the individual pieces of wreckage from this crashed-and-burned narrative one by one:

Claim #1: Rebekah Jones was the “architect” of the Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The truth: Jones was more like the drywall hanger of the dashboard rather than the “architect.” The dashboard was built on the same visual mapping tool that Johns Hopkins University made famous at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. In fact, Florida’s tool looks extremely similar. That’s because Johns Hopkins University is not the “architect” of the dashboard, either. The tool is actually built not on any of Florida’s many data servers, but using ready-made modules from a subscription service called ArcGIS. Jones’ job was to load data into those modules and decide how it appeared to visitors.

Media outlets who published the false “architect” claim: Florida Today, The Daily Beast, New York Post, The Guardian, CBS 12 News, The Hill, Miami Herald, ClickOrlando, WEAR-TV Who got it right? The Tampa Bay Times described her as a “top Florida Department of Health data manager” and never ran with the “architect” claim. They even correctly pointed out that it was Jones herself who claimed to have built the site “from scratch.”

Claim #2: Rebekah Jones was a coronavirus “scientist”

The truth: Jones has a doctorate degree in geography. Her skill set, as applicable to COVID-19, was in mapping data, as we explained above. That’s it. No special skills in epidemiology, biology, or even public health. Depending on the narrative a media outlet wants to convey, using the term “scientist” in headlines about coronavirus carries with it a very specific connotation, leading readers to believe Jones was involved in the front lines of coronavirus research. If media outlets insist on describing her as a “scientist,” they owe their readers a fuller explanation of her role, and should, at most, describe her as a “data scientist,” though even that could be misleading and would still be misconstrued for political gain.

Media outlets who ran with the “scientist” narrative: National Public Radio, The Guardian, MSNBC, and many others.

Claim #3: Rebekah Jones was asked to manipulate data to support the governor’s plan to reopen Florida

The truth: Jones was asked to temporarily disable the ability to export data from the dashboard so that it could be verified that the data matched other sources.

We previously gave credit to the Tampa Bay Times for accurately describing Jones’ role in managing the COVID-19 dashboard. They also accurately describe events leading to Jones termination. Don’t misunderstand – the Times is still guilty of trying to make Jones a martyr. Take a look at how they describe what happened:

[On May 4th] the [EventDate] column vanished from the “Person Cases” data, which lists anonymized records for every confirmed case in Florida. The Palm Beach Post reported the disappearance the next day, May 5.

The Tampa Bay Times automatically checks for changes in the data and archives new updates. Shortly before 10:12 a.m on May 4., data still included the EventDate field, showing records with listed dates that people reported symptoms as early as January 1. By 3:02 p.m., the column was gone.

For much of the next day, May 5, the column was either missing or empty, with every row listing “None.” Finally, it returned shortly before 8:02 p.m.

If you’re struggling to see what all the fuss is about, you’re not alone. By the Times own account, a single column of data became temporarily unavailable for a day and a half. The only other item worthy of note in the Times’ story is that the state’s official epidemiologist (i.e. an actual medical scientist, not a data mapper, like Jones) asked to have the ability to export data from the dashboard temporarily disabled while health officials verify that the dates match other official sources.

This is critical. The Tampa Bay Times had the full explanation for why the data was temporarily unavailable, but they and other media outlets decided to run with “coronavirus conspiracy” instead. In fact, the Times headline claims Jones was asked to “delete” data. No where in the story itself does the word “delete” appear. It’s another clickbait headline.

Media outlets who published the “manipulated or deleted data” conspiracy theory: National Public Radio, The Guardian, MSNBC, USA Today, Tampa Bay Times and many others.

Claim #4: Rebekah Jones was fired because she refused to comply with orders to hide the truth about COVID-19

The truth: The idea that Jones is somehow a martyr for truth about coronavirus and a victim of a DeSantis administration cover up is a narrative too many media outlets were willing to jump on.

She was fired for insubordination, according to the DeSantis Administration:

“Rebekah Jones exhibited a repeated course of insubordination during her time with the department, including her unilateral decisions to modify the department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval from the epidemiological team or her supervisors,” DeSantis spokeswoman Helen Ferre said in a statement. “The blatant disrespect for the professionals who were working around the clock to provide the important information for the COVID-19 website was harmful to the team.”

Jones is no stranger to insubordination. In 2016, she was arrested on the campus of her employer, Louisiana State University, for refusing to obey the orders of a police officer:

On June 13, 26-year-old University staff member Rebekah Jones was booked on one count of battery on a police officer, one count of remaining after forbidden and two counts of resisting arrest, Scott said. Scott said officers arrived at the Sea Grant building when Jones refused to leave at the request of LSU Human Resources. Scott said Jones initiated physical contact against two LSUPD officers while resisting arrest and officers were forced to subdue her.

It’s not clear why LSU’s Human Resources department asked one of their own staff members to leave the area.

Jones also has an extensive criminal history in Leon County, where she’s been arrested and charged with three felonies, including one for robbery, and a handful of misdemeanor cases including “sexual cyberstalking,” a case where she created a website and used it to sexually harass her ex-boyfriend. The website has been taken down, but images from the case exist in Leon County court records.

Most of the charges filed against her came after she was hired by the Department of Health, so they would not have turned up in any background check.

The bottom line: Rebekah Jones was fired for performance issues, not for “refusing to manipulate data.” And her extensive criminal history, which predates her employment in Florida, lends credence to the DeSantis administration that she was just a troublesome employee who is now disgruntled and trying to get media attention about her firing. The easiest way to get media attention right now is to claim a Republican elected official is involved in a conspiracy to cover up COVID-19 data detrimental to reopening the state economy.

The media outlets listed above will not issue retractions. They will double down on the idea that DeSantis’s administration is withholding / manipulating / deleting / altering data. That, too is totally false. But mark these words, the embarrassment of touting Rebekah Jones as their coronavirus martyr will quickly fade into the mainstream media memory hole.


TOPICS: US: Florida
KEYWORDS: agitprop; covid19; coviddashboard; dashboard; fl; florida; incompetent; leftwingnuts; mediots; nutjob; presstitutes; rebeccajones; rebekahjones; rebekkahjones; rondesantis; whistleblower
This woman is the poster child for liberal MSM. I've heard her described as a raving nutter.

See also RedState: Florida Coronavirus Website “Whistleblower” Should be Known as “Rebekah of Sunnykook Farms”

1 posted on 05/20/2020 12:25:03 PM PDT by NautiNurse
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To: JulieRNR21; kinganamort; katherineisgreat; floriduh voter; summer; Goldwater Girl; windchime; ...

Florida Freeper


2 posted on 05/20/2020 12:29:30 PM PDT by Joe Brower ("Might we not live in a nobler dream than this?" -- John Ruskin)
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To: NautiNurse; SunkenCiv; Kaslin; BenLurkin; Liz

Bookmarked! Good, thorough research!


3 posted on 05/20/2020 12:36:39 PM PDT by Robert A Cook PE (I can only donate monthly, but ABCNNBCBS donates every hour, every night, every day of the year.)
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To: NautiNurse

Reporting today is disgraceful. Using qualifiers and adverbs continuously to sway a reader is their trademark. It brings to mind the use of the word jogger” and “unarmed” in the supposed vigilante shooting. Change jogging to running from a house he may have been casing changes the scenario, but in my mind is closer to the truth. In fairness, however, it should not be written that way either. The fact that he was unarmed is useless. Most people we see out and about are unarmed.


4 posted on 05/20/2020 12:42:01 PM PDT by pnut22
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To: NautiNurse

Rebekah Jones
5 posted on 05/20/2020 12:45:33 PM PDT by Robert DeLong
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To: Robert A Cook PE
Thanks for your feedback! I'll share a secret with you. Had a little input into the RedState title--"Rebekah of Sunnykook Farms." Spent time this morning reviewing Leon Co. Criminal records too. It was an eye opener.

Hat tip to Brian Burgess for his uncovering Rebekah's LA criminal history. Fine work.

6 posted on 05/20/2020 12:47:30 PM PDT by NautiNurse (Don't be a pinhead.)
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To: NautiNurse

“Now you know the rest of the story.”

Thank you Paul Harvey.


7 posted on 05/20/2020 12:58:51 PM PDT by princeofdarkness
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To: NautiNurse

Bump.


8 posted on 05/20/2020 1:08:10 PM PDT by SunTzuWu
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To: Joe Brower

The governor gave a righteous beatdown to the mediots today. I’ve never seen him so animated. Good job!


9 posted on 05/20/2020 1:11:56 PM PDT by clintonh8r (Truth is hate speech to those who hate the truth)
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To: NautiNurse

Thanks. I’ve bookmarked the Tallahassee Reports


10 posted on 05/20/2020 1:20:52 PM PDT by clintonh8r (Truth is hate speech to those who hate the truth)
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To: Robert DeLong

Hmmm...she’s very cute. I’ve known very attractive women who seemed to have trouble keeping boyfriends. It was only after getting to know them better that I realized that the reason for the fleeing boyfriends was that they were “crazy” and/or had a severe personality disorder.

Of course the same thing could be applied to many men. Actually, it likely applies to a much higher percentage of men than it does to women.


11 posted on 05/20/2020 1:41:19 PM PDT by House Atreides (It is not a HOAX but it IS CERTAINLY A PRETEXT.)
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To: Joe Brower

“””published the sensational story of Dr. Rebekah Jones,””””


Including the fact that she does not have a doctorate degree.


12 posted on 05/20/2020 2:06:55 PM PDT by Presbyterian Reporter
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To: Robert A Cook PE; AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Arthur Wildfire! March; Berosus; Bockscar; ...
Thanks Robert A Cook PE.

13 posted on 05/20/2020 2:29:11 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie.)
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To: NautiNurse

How in the Hell with her record and psychotic behavior does she have any job besides stripper at a second rate strip club in the middle of swamp country?


14 posted on 05/20/2020 2:46:26 PM PDT by shanover (...To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.-S.Adams)
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To: shanover

As the story describes—no convictions, and the Florida incidents occurred after she was hired by the state of FL.


15 posted on 05/20/2020 4:12:50 PM PDT by NautiNurse (Don't be a pinhead.)
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