The media needs a new narrative and a new outrage every day.
One of its gimmicks had been using Rebekah Jones to attack Florida’s successful management of the pandemic under Governor Ron DeSantis. Jones, whose job was to run a state coronavirus numbers dashboard, was misrepresented by the media as a “data scientist” and a “whistleblower”.
The media’s narrative very quickly collapsed in the face of some basic facts.
Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t know who Rebekah Jones was Tuesday afternoon when reporters asked him for comment on her firing.
But by Wednesday afternoon, the Governor offered an authoritative prosecution of the case for firing Jones, who had worked on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, with cause.
DeSantis disparaged her, saying she’s “not even a data scientist … not involved in collating data, she lacks the expertise to do that. She is not an epidemiologist. She is not the chief architect of our web portal, that’s another false statement.”
Tallahassee Reports, no right wing site, clarified the facts.
Jones was more like the drywall hanger of the dashboard rather than the “architect.” The dashboard was built on the same visual mapping tool that Johns Hopkins University made famous at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. In fact, Florida’s tool looks extremely similar. That’s because Johns Hopkins University is not the “architect” of the dashboard, either. The tool is actually built not on any of Florida’s many data servers, but using ready-made modules from a subscription service called ArcGIS. Jones’ job was to load data into those modules and decide how it appeared to visitors.
All of this got worse when Jones’ criminal record came out.
On June 13, 26-year-old University staff member Rebekah Jones was booked on one count of battery on a police officer, one count of remaining after forbidden and two counts of resisting arrest, Scott said. Scott said officers arrived at the Sea Grant building when Jones refused to leave at the request of LSU Human Resources. Scott said Jones initiated physical contact against two LSUPD officers while resisting arrest and officers were forced to subdue her.
Jones also has an extensive criminal history in Leon County, where she’s been arrested and charged with three felonies, including one for robbery, and a handful of misdemeanor cases including “sexual cyberstalking,” a case where she created a website and used it to sexually harass her ex-boyfriend.
The media just doubled down on its narrative while ignoring the facts. Because that’s how you do things nowadays. When your entire claim has been utterly discredited, you just keep repeating it and amp it up.
Now that Jones is back in the news over a law enforcement raid on her home, the media is back to recycling its false claims that Jones is a “data scientist” and a “whistleblower”, while giving her a platform to compare law enforcement to the gestapo.
There actually wasn’t a “raid”. Law enforcement came with a search warrant to seize some computer equipment. Jones refused to open the door, but was ready to film. Considering her record, it’s not too hard to imagine why the authorities might be there to grab some computer equipment. Of course the media won’t report any of this.
And then it shakes its hard over why there’s so little trust in its fake news.