Coronavirus

Rebekah Jones, Florida's COVID-19 Whistleblower, Seems Like a Fraud

The media fell in love with her. But there's little to her claims.

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Rebekah Jones, the former dashboard manager for the Florida Department of Health website, became a celebrated mainstream media hero after alleging that the state had undercounted COVID-19 deaths. In January, police raided her home and charged her with computer crimes relating to her efforts to publicize this wrongdoing. She later turned herself in, and reportedly contracted COVID-19 while in custody.

But it turns out that the vast conspiracy Jones has alleged—including that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was trying to silence her—does not exist.

That's according to National Review's Charles C.W. Cooke, who writes at length about the wide gap between Jones' claims and actual reality:

Specifically, Jones claims that, while she was working at the FDOH last year, she was instructed by her superiors to alter the "raw" data so that Florida's COVID response would look better, and that, having refused, she was fired. Were this charge true, it would reflect one of the most breathtaking political scandals in all of American history.

But it's not true. Indeed, 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.

Cooke disproves many of her claims, which have evolved substantially over time: Jones lacked the power to alter the "raw" numbers and was never asked to do so; indeed, by her own admission, the data she cites on her separate dashboard are identical to the government's. Initially, Jones had "not alleged any tampering with data on deaths, hospital symptom surveillance, hospitalizations for COVID-19, numbers of new confirmed cases, or overall testing rates—core elements of any assessment of the outbreak and of federal criteria for reopening," according to the Associated Press. "And Jones acknowledges Florida has been relatively transparent—for which she herself claims some credit—and relatively successful in controlling the pandemic." But over time, her story became dramatic and elaborate: She accused Shamarial Roberson, Florida's deputy secretary for health, of being a "liar, fraud, and murderer."

"There is an extremely good reason that nobody in the Florida Department of Health has sided with Jones," writes Cooke. "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." Cooke continues:

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. To understand just how far removed Jones really is from the actual data, consider that even now—even as she rakes in cash from the gullible to support her own independent dashboard—she is using precisely the same FDOH data used by everyone else in the world.

It's important to note that Jones is not just some crazy person whose ideas were never taken seriously: The media fawned over her. MSNBC's Joy Reid interviewed her repeatedly. She was the subject of a glowing profile in Cosmopolitan: "Rebekah Jones Tried To Warn Us About COVID-19. Now Her Freedom Is on the Line." We know why this is the case: Mainstream journalists have been eager to portray DeSantis' Florida as a unique COVID-19 failure, contrasting with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's supposedly steady leadership. What has resulted are numerous, flawed stories that try—and largely fail—to find something dramatically wrong with Florida, even as the narrative about Cuomo's sterling reputation falls apart.

In the race to mint new pandemic heroes, media partisans keep looking in all the wrong places.

NEXT: This 38-Year-Old Man Will Spend Life in Prison Over 1.5 Ounces of Marijuana

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72 responses to “Rebekah Jones, Florida's COVID-19 Whistleblower, Seems Like a Fraud

  1. Huh? Jones simply highlighted the fact that Florida’s coronavirus response has been among the nation’s worst — and looks especially incompetent compared to Andrew Cuomo’s fantastic performance in New York. She’s a hero on the level of Liz Cheney.

    #VoteDemocratToFightViruses
    #HarrisCuomo2024

    1. Though a tired shtick at this point, I do give you a hat tip for your unwavering perseverance to continue with it.

      1. See, for me, the best part of the OBL performance is the occasional well delivered zinger like “She’s a hero on the level of Liz Cheney.”

        1. He does have his moments. And to this days lures people into Poe’s alternative reality.

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      2. What’s that quote about being careful with maintaining a parody for too long?

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      3. Any comedian that never breaks character is to be applauded.

        1. +1000 Steven wright

          1. I’ll see your Steven Wright and raise you an Andy Kaufman

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    2. Holy shit – you can’t be that stupid.

      1. I think you’re right; pretty sure is a parody account, and a one-trick-pony.
        Worn out long ago.

  2. I was wondering about what happened with her. I still see people using this whole incident as evidence that Florida isn’t really doing well compared to much harsher states. I suspected they were full of shit, but it’s good to have it confirmed.

    1. In Humboldt County, the coroner reports to the sheriff, which matters. Six months ago a motorcyclist had a one vehicle accident on Highway 36, which was responded to by the sheriffs. He was transported to the county hospital, where he died. His corpse tested positive for COVID, so the hospital reported it as a COVID death, qualifying the hospital for federal aid money.
      He has broken legs and head injuries – the sheriff doubted he would live to get to the hospital.
      This was so obviously not a COVID death that the Sheriff intervened and had the data changed.
      With money involved, how many deaths were reported as caused by the pandemic that were not really pandemic deaths? I doubt we will ever know.

      1. That’s not a good road to take too fast.

        But obviously the covid caused him to lose control of his motorcycle.

    2. She’s made nearly half a million dollars from the gullible dummies of the left. She even was annoyed at losing the credit card fees through those donation sites that she convinced the same idiots to send her checks instead.

      1. She’s been fired from every professional job she’s had since graduating college. She probably understands that given Google this is her only path to financial mediocrity.

        1. But I hear she’s a great girlfriend.

          1. I guess if you’re willing to take the crazy dip, don’t let her near the camera in the bedroom…

            https://www.foxnews.com/us/fired-florida-data-scientist-had-been-axed-by-fsu-years-ago-for-affair-with-student-report-says

            3/10 as far as mugshots go

    3. “I still see people using this whole incident as evidence”

      You’ll notice the left does this with everything, long after they’ve been proven as complete fabrications.
      It is part of their psychosis.

      1. Hear about that cop killed with fire-extinguishers on 1/6?

    4. Honestly it sounded like crap from the getgo. The only thing that made me take a serious look at her at all was the way they pretended her logging into her old account to send a message was actual hacking and sent the cops in a raid. But they do that to everyone because the government is stupid, too.

  3. Blonde Girl Uses Media for Fame.

    >>Jones is not just some crazy person whose ideas were never taken seriously: The media fawned over her.

    well then fuck you the media for failing at your job because pretty girl.

    1. Pretty girl [meh] peddling the right pussy…er, narrative.

    2. Not ugly but not that pretty. A bit homely in my opinion.

      1. generic descriptor of broad media response. if truly fugly they probably ignore her

        I only have eyes for redheads.

        1. broad media response

          To a lying broad. I see what you did there.

      2. She’s in the AOC range.

        1. Speaking of, anyone seen the Rabbi lately? He has quite the case of the hots for her.

    3. I suspect it was more that she was saying what they wanted to hear than anything about her sex or appearance.

      1. I’m entirely more cynical.

    4. Elizabeth Holmes enters the chat.

    5. I’m not sure looks matter all that much so long as you’re telling the lie that they want to believe. Seems like Maddow is a more accomplished propagandist than Coulter, for example.

  4. Progressive activist lies for a gotcha moment on a republican. Media plays int progressive lier

  5. Maybe she was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher and had a concussion. And now misremembers.

  6. It’s been obvious for nearly a year at this point that she’s crazy, but she helped a tiny bit to smear DeSantis/Florida/Trump, so she was useful.

  7. You can’t expect more than bullshit from the media. They’re fish that swim in bullshit. They don’t know what it is, but it’s all around them, and their life depends on it.

    1. good thing this story isn’t from the media lol

  8. Wow, you mean to tell me that the media lied? But that never happens!

  9. But the story fit the Red/Blue team narrative the media wanted to hear. Their intense desire to run a negative hit piece on a Team Red governor overrode their duty to check their story.

    Of course this is the problem with journalism. All journalism. Past and present journalism. It’s not Blue Bias, it’s just the nature of the field. Pat the hand that feeds it, and that hand is clicks, subscribers, advertisers, governments, etc. It’s never about reporting the unpainted facts. Red Side media or Blue Side media, it’s all the same.

    All praise Government from whence all stories flow, and all praise the clicks and views who pay for our vestments. Amen.

    1. Why did you switch to attempting both sides after so long? Nobody buys your gimmick now. Is it because Joe is doing so horribly that you ran back to the middle? You were one of the ones that used to have an intense desire to attack a Team Red president and believe every anonymous story in The Atlantic and the NYT about him. So what changed?

  10. Come on Robbie, you’re so close. Just call these “journalists” what they really are already.

    1. He can’t…jobs at NYT and WaPo pay better than Reason, and he has a career to consider.

      1. You can’t blame him for not wanting to murder his career.

  11. Huh, media celebrating people who lie about Republicans or conservative issues. Is a daily occurrence worthy of the news anymore?

    I posit that most things the left says is a lie in service of The Narrative, whereas claims by non-leftists are branded conspiracy theories but usually lead to truths.

    1. Didja’ hear the one about the WuFlu getting loose from the lab? JUst a conspiracy theory, right?

  12. She did her part, the media did theirs, and now when you hear DeSantis enough will think “yeah, that right wing Florida governor who lied about Covid.”

    Because you sure as shit aren’t going to see any retractions.

  13. Conspiracy theories give themselves away when they involve falsification of easily verifiable data. Secrets are hard to keep.

    Like say, Covid counts or a national election.

    It was obvious she was a fraud from the start.

    1. The media did not treat her that way last year. When it suited them, they used her for their purposes. Says a lot about the media.

    2. …or the efficacy of lock downs and masks.

  14. Sounds like a hit job meant to boost DeSantis and take down Cuomo (who should go down anyway and his coverage was good *until* info about the nursing homes came out where media then focused on how terrible it was- seems fair.)

    And if she was a nothing nobody, why raid her place?

    Nothing more than he said/she said bs at this point.

    1. lol.

      She stole government data. She changed administrator passwords without being told to. She locked other administrators out.

      In almost every case like the above, they will raid her house to see what information she stole.

      And didn’t you just celebrate the Giulliani raid?

    2. You’re a fucking idiot.

    3. You were talking up her positions a few weeks ago, shitlunches.

    4. You’re right, it was probably the Russian hackers that stole Florida in 2016.

      Much of the national attention that Jones has received is the result of her insisting that, having learned about her “whistleblowing,” Governor DeSantis used his “Gestapo” and “raided” her house, putting her children in danger. But this, too, is a ridiculous lie. Late last year, the police did indeed execute a search warrant on Jones. But they did so because a data breach at the FDOH—in which the personal information of 19,000 employees was stolen—was traced back to the IPv6 address that Comcast had assigned to Jones’s house. Governor DeSantis had nothing to do with it. The search warrant—which alleges that Jones committed a felony by not only temporarily accessing personnel data she had no right to access but permanently stealing it—was initially signed by Judge Joshua Hawkes, a Republican appointee, but subsequently upheld by Judge John Cooper, an elected judge in heavily Democratic Leon County. (Florida does not have explicitly partisan judicial elections.)

      [The FDLS found] enough of what they were looking for in Jones’s home for another Leon County judge, Nina Ashenafi Richardson, to sign a warrant for her arrest. In January, Jones turned herself in. She is currently awaiting trial.

    5. “Sounds like a hit job meant to boost DeSantis and take down Cuomo (who should go down anyway and his coverage was good *until* info about the nursing homes came out where media then focused on how terrible it was- seems fair.)”

      What is accurate and true is a “hit job” to lefty shits like this.

  15. What a shock, a progressive white girl turns out to be a mentally ill, solipsistic nutbag with a persecution complex and delusions of grandeur, and the media faithfully bullhorned her narrative because they are on the same side.

    1. I think you covered that like, as LBJ said, grandma’s nightgown.

    2. Where is she on the crazy-hot matrix?

  16. Libertarians for the State cracking down on people who dare criticize them? Huh?

    1. Libertarians for the State cracking down on people who dare criticize them? Huh?

      Just because someone is criticizing the government doesn’t mean they’re arguments are automatically correct. In this case, the critic is a lying, left-wing whore.

  17. Is the GOP not correct to make the Democrats’ capture of mainstream journalism an issue?

  18. It’s important to note that Jones is not just some crazy person whose ideas were never taken seriously: The media fawned over her. MSNBC’s Joy Reid interviewed her repeatedly. She was the subject of a glowing profile in Cosmopolitan: “Rebekah Jones Tried To Warn Us About COVID-19. Now Her Freedom Is on the Line.”

    It’s almost like these people shoved Joe Biden down our throats as well.

  19. Based on her history I expected her to be pretty. I bet she could suck the chrome off of a trailer hitch.

    1. I’m sure there’ll be an osca-winning movie starring Julia Roberts about her dogged investigation of the coverup.

  20. That NR article today was a great takedown of this grifter. She can share a cell with Reality Winner, let’s see who gets to be the bitch.

  21. Is she single?

  22. Never stick your data in crazy. Her manifesto had some C+ level smut, though.

  23. Robby, Robby,Robby. It’s 2021; do we not #BelieveAllWomen around here?

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