Rebekah Jones: Media Darling And Con Artist
Rebekah Jones: Media Darling And Con Artist
Just how much does the media hate Ron DeSantis of Florida? Up to this point, enough to keep propping Rebekah Jones up.
Who is Rebekah Jones? Well, if you have heard of the ongoing conspiracy theory, either explored with great interest or fully embraced by the media, that Florida was deliberately cooking their books when it came to COVID numbers, Rebekah Jones is the fount of that particular story. Charles C.W. Cooke of National Review took Jones apart in a lengthy column that detailed not just her lies, but her past criminal history, and the media’s wholehearted embrace of this loon.
Jones’s central claim is nothing less dramatic than that she has uncovered a massive conspiracy in the third most populous state in the nation, and that, having done so, she has been ruthlessly persecuted by the governor and his “Gestapo.” 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. On Twitter, on cable news, in Cosmopolitan, and beyond, Jones knows exactly which buttons to push in order to rally the gullible and get out her message. Sober Democrats have tried to inform their party about her: “You may see a conspiracy theory and you want it to be true and you believe it to be true and you forward it to try to make it be true, but that doesn’t make it true,” warns Jared Moskowitz, the progressive Democrat who has led Florida’s fight against COVID. But his warnings have fallen on deaf ears. Since she first made her claims a little under a year ago, Jones has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through multiple GoFundMe accounts (and, once she realized that she was losing a percentage to credit-card fees, through paper checks); she has become a darling of the online Left; and, by pointing to her own, privately run dashboard, which shows numbers that make Florida’s COVID response look worse than it has been, she has caused millions of people to believe quite sincerely that the state’s many successes during the pandemic have been built atop fraud. Stephen Glass, the famous writer-turned-liar who spent years inventing stories but got caught when he pushed it too far, could only have dreamed of such a result.”
But because Rebekah Jones had a breathless conspiracy tale regarding Florida and Ron DeSantis, she got the media to give her credibility and airtime – all as they attempted to hide the REAL scandal brewing in New York’s nursing homes under the orders of “their” guy, Andrew Cuomo. Any story about Florida hiding numbers? The media took it, hook, line, and sinker.
Some of Jones’s personal history was already known to the state of Florida (one deferred prosecution in 2017 for “criminal mischief,” and one pre-trial intervention regarding “battery of a police officer” in Louisiana in 2018), but as Cooke points out, Jones was not a high-level anything in the state machinery.
Had she applied for a more important role, the forest of red flags that Jones leaves wherever she goes might well have prevented this mistake—especially given that she did not mention any of them in her application. But Jones wasn’t there to fill an important role. She was there to run a website.”
That matters, for, with the enthusiastic help of the press, Rebekah Jones has unremittingly inflated the prominence of the position she held.”
This woman’s job was simply to do data entry for the COVID dashboard website for Florida, and make sure that it stayed up and running. However, in her own mind – and later, thanks to the media’s inflation of her role – she was styled as a “coronavirus data scientist” who was the whistleblower that they had been waiting for.
And yet, across outlet after outlet in the mainstream media, we saw this same framing.
Here’s @USATODAY, again, relying on a story that (if it were true) would be a huge deal, told by a well-known fabulist, with zero interrogation of the story’s veracity that has since imploded. pic.twitter.com/ERCD7fwj9O
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) May 13, 2021
Rebekah Jones was no whistleblower, because there was no scandal except the one that she invented. But because she gave the media what they were desperate to have, she was elevated as a media darling and rockstar. Just a little less than a year ago, she was being interviewed by all the usual suspects, giving her sob story of the brave whistleblower who got kicked out of her job by the EEEEEEEVIL Ron DeSantis, all because she DARED question the COVID numbers.
In actuality, Jones had created a personnel nightmare for her department by talking out of turn on social media about the data, had intentionally taken down the dashboard, and had locked her bosses out by making herself the sole administrator for the website. Cooke details the chain of events – and the paper trail by her superiors – that led to her firing, and her assumption of media martyrdom.
Having been asked what on earth she was doing, Jones claimed that she had set herself up as the sole administrator as the result of “security concerns,” and, under the impression that this excuse had been accepted by the department, she started playing nice. Two days later, Curry reported, “the entire team seemed to be getting along and moving forward.” At 9:30 a.m. on May 15, encouraged by the improvement in Jones’s behavior, and having got the dashboard back up and running, the FDOH (Florida Department of Health) decided that “Management Counseling was still the correct option for previous occurrences.” That decision would last for only a few hours: At 1:46 p.m., Jones sent a mass email to everyone who used the dashboard—many of whom were external to the department—explaining that she was no longer assigned to the dashboard and suggesting that she had been removed because she had refused to manipulate data. Within minutes, the press began crawling all over the story. Three days later, Jones was fired.”
And as soon as she was fired, the media interviews – like the video above – began. The media could not get enough of her, and there are receipts.
I wish I was kidding, but this isn’t even the worst of it.@forbes made her their Tech Person of the Year in 2020. They even excused the charges against her!@FortuneMagazine named her to their 40 under 40 list in healthcare, a subject matter she doesn’t have any knowledge of. pic.twitter.com/KhRr3axpx4
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) May 13, 2021
And then we get to the raid on her house by police. Despite her tales, the real reason Rebekah Jones had a search warrant out for her computer was for theft of personal information.
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.”
Stealing the personal data on your fellow Department of Health employees seems very different than “I am being persecuted for whistleblowing,” hmmm? Jones is currently awaiting trial on criminal charges, and has dropped her civil case against law enforcement relating to the search warrant for now. In her mind, she is the tragic heroine of her own story, it seems. In reality, she’s a 31 year old woman with a criminal past – including having a sexual relationship with a student while she taught at Florida State University, for which she was fired and is now charged with stalking her former student – who spun a tale that was too good to check for the media. Chris Cuomo alone gave her multiple interviews, and as we all know, there could be NO POSSIBLE MOTIVE for Chris Cuomo to believe the tall tale of COVID data manipulation in Florida. However, some at CNN would like the public to forget that they once embraced Rebekah Jones.
— Greg (@giggitygreg) May 13, 2021
Don’t ever let them forget it. Never let them forget that in their desperation to kneecap Ron DeSantis, they championed a liar because she told them exactly what they wanted to hear, and raised money via GoFundMe while doing it. Remember this, when they claim “facts first” and other such platitudes.