Former data scientist Rebekah Jones praised media for now debunked claims

While her claims have been debunked, don’t blame former Florida data scientist Rebekah Jones for her actions. This is far too simple an analysis. She simply followed rule #1 of the media, which is that any expedient slander against a prominent Republican will, without proper investigation, receive widespread media approval and publicity.

Jones expected his libel to receive the same kind of publicity and adulation as earlier applications of Rule #1 by the likes of Christopher Steele, author of the fictional Steele Dossier; Michel Avenatti; Michael Cohen and others of note. Jones was right.

Jones’ timing was impeccable. It was July 2020. The media and Democrats were captivated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and looking for a way to take down Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis was, after all, keeping Florida schools and businesses open.

Rebecca Jones

When Jones was fired by the Florida Department of Health, she alleged she was fired in retaliation for refusing to tamper with COVID data. It was a damning accusation, designed to smear DeSantis. Democrats knew attacking him for his record of creating jobs, low unemployment, keeping schools open and safe, low crime, low taxes and integrity would be a tough sell. A diversion from the substantive questions would do, and she provided one.

An NPR article was headlined, “Florida Rejects Scientist for Refusal to Manipulate State’s Coronavirus Data.” From May 2020 to December 2020, Jones made at least nine separate appearances on CNN. CNN star Chris Cuomo has invited her five times.

Outlets such as MSNBC, the Miami Herald, the Washington Post, and NBC News helped build Jones’ image. She received an enthusiastic profile in Cosmopolitan titled “Rebekah Jones tried to warn us about COVID-19. Now her freedom is at stake.” Fortune Magazine recognized her as one of their notable “40 under 40”. Forbes named her “Tech Personality of the Year”.

Rebekah Jones in a still from an appearance on MSNBC

Rebekah Jones in a still from an appearance on MSNBC

If Jones’ goal was to smear DeSantis and try to damage him politically, he won. She received rave press coverage that a Democratic National Committee publicist could only dream of. Don’t give her too much credit though – remember she only used rule #1.

DeSantis took appropriate and ethical action and referred Jones’ complaint to the Office of the Inspector General of the Florida Department of Health, who conducted an investigation into the facts and circumstances. The bureau released a report, dated March 9, that will receive as much coverage in liberal media as the attempted assassination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh or the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop.

As for claims that she was directed or pressured to falsify COVID positivity rates, the claims were found to be “unsubstantiated.” His allegation that the calculation of the positivity of new cases had been distorted was found to “not have taken place”. As for the allegation that Jones was restricted in accessing the underlying data that supported what appeared on the dashboard, the defendants were “exonerated.”

However, Jones’ moment in the sun isn’t over – far, far away, and it’s hilarious. She has announced that she is running for Congress against Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Gaetz is an outspoken conservative Republican and the media has been reporting for years about his impending indictment, for sex offenses, and yet no indictment or indictment has been issued. Whenever a witness is called, whether it’s an ex-partner or a girlfriend, Rule #1 applies and the smear campaign of innuendo and speculation comes to life.

Have you ever wondered why so many people don’t trust the media to be fair and balanced? Compare the handling of Jones’ smear to how effectively the media limited the ability of American voters to know, before they voted, the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop. The bias was clear.

More from Edward B. Harmon:

Let’s move towards efficiency, transparency and accountability by selling GRU

Gainesville residents must get out of the liberal echo chamber

An answer to President Biden’s question, “What are Republicans for?”

The New York Post story was ignored – no massive publicity here. The sharing of this story, which is found to be 100% accurate, has been silenced by Facebook and Twitter. This story was treated as “Russian disinformation” and a GOP libel and hidden from the American people.

If this story was about a GOP candidate, any GOP candidate, or any of their family members, Rule #1 would have been enforced with full force.

Edward B. Harmon is a retired mergers and acquisitions attorney and adjunct professor at the law school. He lives in Gainesville and is a monthly contributor to The Sun.

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This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Edward B. Harmon: Media Has Debunked Libels About Governor Ron DeSantis

Sean N. Ayres