Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Blowing the whistle on the Florida whistleblower

 Rebekah Jones, The Narrative, and the truth | Human Events - Christina Pushaw:

February 2, 2021 - "At first glance, the story of Rebekah Jones — a brave 'COVID-19 scientist' standing up to a corrupt right-wing machine — looks like a bombshell. When the Florida Department of Health (DoH) fired her last May, Jones claimed she had been terminated for refusing to falsify case numbers to support Governor Ron DeSantis’ plans to reopen the economy. Overnight, she became a heroine. She launched her own COVID-19 dashboard, raised half a million dollars, and gathered a Twitter army of 378,000.

"Jones shot to stardom because she lent a fresh face to a 'Narrative'. According to The Narrative, ... the idea that DeSantis could handle COVID-19 better than mask-mandating lockdown enthusiasts like Andrew Cuomo or Gavin Newsom was unthinkable. But ... Per capita, New York has nearly double Florida’s COVID-19 fatalities — and unlike New York, Florida has been open for months. For journalists struggling to explain this deviation from The Narrative, Jones’ tale was irresistible. She confirmed their unspoken suspicions: Florida’s relative success in fighting COVID-19 was an illusion crafted by a mendacious Trumpian governor and his flunkies, who fudged statistics to justify their homicidal reopening drive. DeSantis’ categorical rejection of Jones’ allegations only gave them momentum.

"Eight months later, ... Jones is ... facing a felony charge for breaching a government computer system.... Jones casts herself as the target of a vast right-wing conspiracy orchestrated by the governor, his loyalist judges, and his 'Gestapo,' the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The media continues lauding her. Fortune named her to its 40 Under 40. Forbes awarded her 'Technology Person of the Year'.... 

"NPR describes Jones as a 'top scientist' leading Florida’s pandemic response. In fact, Jones has held three jobs in her field; all three have ended in her being terminated and criminally charged. She has a Master’s in geography from Louisiana State University, where she worked until she was fired. She was arrested in 2016 while, reportedly, trespassing on campus and attempting to steal computer equipment from her former workplace. She then lectured at Florida State University (FSU) and began researching tropical storms for a dissertation, but never earned a Ph.D. as she was suspended and fired in 2018 after her former student accused her of sexual cyberharassment. Before her termination from the DoH, she was a geographic information systems manager, overseeing the COVID-19 web portal. Florida’s top Democratic official calls her 'Dr. Rebekah Jones,' but Jones is no doctor. Nor is she an epidemiologist, virologist, statistician, or public health professional.... 

"After she was fired from the DoH for a pattern of insubordination, Jones claimed that Deputy Secretary for Health Shamarial Roberson had asked her to 'manipulate data to mislead the public' about the safety of reopening rural counties. According to Dr. Roberson, this is 'patently false.' Emails show a state epidemiologist told Jones to temporarily disable data export from the dashboard to verify dates against other official sources. The data was aggregated from local public health authorities in 67 counties; it couldn’t be falsified or hidden.... Jones is now accusing Dr. Roberson of trying to conceal fatalities. 'The woman who told me to delete cases and deaths is now blaming DOCTORS for the death backlog,' Jones wrote in a recent social media post accompanying an article about Dr. Roberson. 'She’s the most corrupt, lying, incompetent and ignorant person that could be ever be put in charge.'

"Since her termination from the DoH, Jones has doubled down on her criticism of prominent epidemiologists — and in doing so, she has revealed serious gaps in her own knowledge of COVID-19. In July, Jones asserted that false negative antibody tests are 'worrisome' because 'you’re not aware that you have and can spread the virus.' Dr. Natalie Dean, an infectious disease expert, explained that false negative antibody tests carry no public health risk, but false negative antigen tests do. (Antibody tests show past infection, while antigen tests detect active infections that can be spread). Instead of admitting her mistake, Jones blocked Dr. Dean and contacted the epidemiologist’s employer to complain....

"Today, Jones awaits trial at her new home in an upmarket DC suburb. She invested part of her crowdfunding proceeds in a for-profit corporation, Florida COVID Action LLC.... Jones vows to campaign for DeSantis’ 2022 Democratic challenger.... She says she’s using donors’ funds 'to fight DeSantis, and anything else he throws at me'.... 

"Those desperate to see DeSantis fail, and Florida become America’s cautionary COVID-19 tale, want to believe Jones. This includes mainstream media acolytes.... The left sees Jones as the eye of a perfect storm: the GOP’s war on science, a corrupt Trumpian governor, the foolhardiness of any COVID-19 policy short of Chairman Xi-style lockdowns — and a telegenic 'whistleblower' to reinforce these tropes. Reality never stood a chance."

Read more: https://humanevents.com/2021/02/02/the-florida-covid-19-whistleblower-saga-is-a-big-lie/

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