Rebekah Jones, the laid-off Florida health official who became a media darling last year after dubiously accusing the DeSantis administration of pressuring her to rig the state’s COVID data, is at the center of a new report which describes worrying behavior after being praised by news organizations as a credible “whistleblower”.
National Review reported on Friday that Jones had launched a “smear campaign” against Jon Taylor, a doctoral student. candidate at Florida Atlantic University College of Business who tried to contact her last year while developing his own COVID tracker since finding out that the Florida Health Department setup was confusing to most people and showed signs of inaccurate data, he insisted that he was counting badly more cases and deaths than there actually were.
“By creating a tracker that showed the situation in Florida to be a little less dire than Governor DeSantis’ enemies preferred to believe, he had left academia and stilted to enter the world of politics, where facts are subordinate to. the question of who these facts might help and whom they might hurt, ”wrote Jack Crowe, editor of National Review.
LASH WASHINGTON POST CRITICISMS FOR SINCE THE STORY OF REBEKAH JONES AS A “QUERY” WITH DESANTIS
Taylor introduced himself to Jones via email in July 2020 in hopes he could probe her tracker methodology she developed after being fired as head of the Department of Health’s COVID dashboard from Florida.
However, not only did he not hear from Jones, but she started attacking him on Twitter two days later, calling him a “charlatan” and “fraud”.
After the two had a combative public exchange, tensions simmered until October, when Taylor’s COVID tracker gained local media attention. Jones, in response, took to Twitter and accused him and his academic advisor of helping develop the sexual harassment tracker, tagging their university, its president and the police. She deleted the tweets, according to National Review, but not before she emailed the dean of FAU College of Business.
“While most of the emails, which were obtained by National Review, contained only vague accusations, one was extremely explicit,” Crowe wrote. “In it, Jones repeated an accusation she first made on Twitter: that Taylor made” jokes that he would put his penis in my mouth to shut me up. “
“It crossed the line for me. I would never say that to anyone,” Taylor told National Review. “I’m just a good person. I would never do that anyway. I don’t talk like that, it’s ridiculous.”
MIAMI HERALD TORN TO WELCOME EDITORIAL WHISTLEBLOWER STATUS OF REBEKAH JONES, FLORIDA DOH EMPLOYEE
But the allegation, regardless of Jones’ credibility, sparked a Title IX investigation at the FAU, which Taylor indirectly learned of. And with low standards of proof for Title IX cases, Taylor was “terrified” that the student council would come out in favor of Jones and derail her college career as she used her career. high visibility and social media presence to pressure the university to take action against him.
Jones has denied ever attempting to smear Taylor or his academic advisor to the National Review, though the report also cites two anonymous academics who told the Conservative publication that they were both similarly targeted by Jones at cause of various dustings.
Critics reacted to the National Review report by blaming the media for raising her during the pandemic into some kind of anti-DeSantis warrior.
“Great reporting from @jackrcrowe here on Rebekah Jones and her attempts to ruin @prof_jtayor’s career,” responded Jay Caruso, Washington Examiner editor. “And shame on @MiamiHerald and other media for continuing to support Jones as an icon of truth. In power. She’s not just a liar or a nutcase. She’s a threat.”
“@ChrisCuomo should ask his followers to read this new post on his frequent guest,” Twitchy editor Greg Pollowitz said at CNN anchor.
CNN HAS STRONGLY PROMOTED REBEKAH JONES ‘FALSE CONSPIRACY ACCUSING DESANTIS ADMINISTRATOR OF MODIFYING COVID DATA
“Rebekah Jones is a monster, and the media loved her because she plays for the right team,” wrote Spectator contributor Stephen Miller. “All of Rebekah Jones’ power comes from the national and local media supporting her. That’s all. Without her, she’s just another social media sociopath. But they built her and once again refuse to d ‘admit their mistake. And all because of politics. “
Miller continued, “She’s got the same politics as them. Right at the bottom. It’s that simple. She’s a psychopath, but she’s against DeSantis, so CNN puts her on the air.”
“Your frequent reminder that Rebekah Jones is a complete psychopath. Good job everyone who made her a semi-public figure,” wrote Washington Examiner commentator T. Becket Adams.
Jones continues to receive favorable media coverage even after National Review issued a scathing report last month that dismantled its explosive allegations against Governor DeSantis.
Charles Cooke of the National Review concluded that she “was able to single-handedly convince millions of Americans” that DeSantis “faked the state’s COVID-19 data” but found that she “didn’t not the ability to edit the raw data “in the Florida COVID database. The report also accused her of heavily dramatizing the police visit she had at the end of last year following a valid search warrant.
JAKE TAPPER OF CNN RETWEETS CRITICISMS OF REBEKAH JONES AFTER PROMOTING HIS FALSE CONSPIRATIONS TO THE AIR
Since then, news outlets like the Miami Herald, Washington Post and NBC News have published sympathetic articles that have not refuted the National Review reports.
Even CNN presenter Chris Cuomo recently fought for her on Twitter.
“For those who have invested in right-wing fringe attacks on Rebekah Jones, here is a well-researched article on what’s true and what’s not true,” Cuomo wrote sharing the Herald report.
Jones has made regular appearances on MSNBC and CNN throughout the pandemic in an attempt to portray DeSantis as a corrupt politician who has mismanaged the COVID outbreak.
From May 2020 through December 2020, Jones made at least nine separate on-air CNN appearances on shows like “New Day” and “Out Front with Erin Burnett” and received coverage on “The Lead with Jake Tapper” .
But no CNN program has reserved more for Jones than “Cuomo Prime Time.”
Chris Cuomo landed CNN’s first “exclusive” interview with Jones, whom he has spoken to on at least five occasions, most recently in December when the network pushed the story that she had been the victim of ” police raid in retaliation against the DeSantis administration when in reality she was accused of viewing and stealing government data.
Cuomo, in particular, is the brother of the Democratic government of New York. Andrew Cuomo, whom the presenter has invited to his show nearly a dozen times for friendly interviews during the coronavirus pandemic.
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CNN has spent much of the last year praising Cuomo’s leadership during the pandemic while attacking DeSantis. But the pro-Cuomo network has since been put in an awkward position as the New York governor has been plagued by growing scandals in recent months, which have garnered patchy coverage, while continuing efforts to slam the governor of Florida. , whose national popularity has increased among Republicans.
Jones was arrested and charged with illegally hacking into Florida’s mail system in January and the charges are pending. She was also recently suspended for good by Twitter for allegedly using fake accounts to promote herself.