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‘It was all lies’: Rebekah Jones’ media enabled grift against Gov DeSantis utterly put to rest

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Charles C. W. Cooke, a senior writer for National Review, penned a must-read feature on Rebekah Jones, a former dashboard manager at the Florida Department of Health “who has single-handedly managed to convince millions of Americans that Governor Ron DeSantis has been fudging the state’s COVID-19 data.”

The piece talks about all the help Jones has received from Democrats and the media in perpetuating the far-reaching claim that DeSantis has been hiding the actual death toll from COVID-19 in the state. As Cooke wrote, the story starts and ends with Jones.

“If she falls, it falls,” he explained. “And boy does it deserve to fall.”

The piece proceeds to dismantle the claim made by Jones that she was instructed to alter the “raw” data. Cooke wrote that if the claim was true, “it would reflect one of the most breathtaking political scandals in all of American history. But it’s not true.”

Freelance commentary writer Drew Holden took the baton from Cooke in a damning Twitter thread explaining “how the grift went on for so long. My hunch: unscrupulous media attention. I thought it was time to revisit.”

On background, Holden explained that Jones “earned media fame after she was fired for, purportedly, refusing to ‘fudge’ the [numbers],” before adding that she “never had access to data at all,” linking back to Cooke’s article.

Holden then lists a number of examples of the media — see CNN and MSNBC — being quick to give Jones a national platform to regurgitate the claims.

He noted that CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who excused himself from reporting on a real scandal involving his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, allowed her to “push unfounded conspiracy theories without even a hint of credulity, forget pushback.”

“Will we get an apology for this sloppy reporting, now that we know Jones was lying?” Holden asked.

Making a solid case for why these media outlets had good reason to question Jones’ tale, Holden observed that she was allowed to push “a narrative that just so happened to undermine a potential 2024 GOP candidate the press doesn’t like.”

DeSantis is also up for reelection in 2022 for a second term as governor of Florida.

In further showcasing the media handling of the story, Holden shared a little about Jones’ background, such as being “fired for having sex with a student as a professor. Jones was married with kids at the time.”

Yet, national media outlets like the New York Times and NBC News ran with angles that painted Jones “as if she was both the victim and the hero.”

Showing just how widespread the collaborative effort was to hoist Jones up while undermining a popular Republican governor, Holden shared how Cosmopolitan too got in on the act, before noting that this “isn’t even the worst of it.”

“[Forbes] made her their Tech Person of the Year in 2020,” he added.

On and on it went, with Holden noting that the Washington Post “even plugged her GoFundMe!” He also showed political operatives and Democrats engaging, including a potential rival in the 2022 gubernatorial race.

And the blue check cabal of fraudsters, like David Hogg.

If you’re not picking up a Trump vibe form the 2020 presidential election, you haven’t been paying attention.

As is often the case these days, the real culprit is the wholly corrupt media, as Holden explained in concluding that amidst all the hullaballoo over right-wing conspiracies, left-wing conspiracies “should matter too.”

“As Cooke says, this is a classic case of a known fraud knowing her mark better than the mark knows himself,” he said. “While this may be an excuse for everyday people, that so many who are tasked with bringing us the truth fell for it is a damning indictment of media wishcasting.”

“I’ve talked lots about the ridiculous coverage of [Gov. DeSantis]. The treatment of Jones is an outcropping of the same impulse: a need for the facts to fit one’s politics, not the other way round. This time, it was all lies. And left wing conspiracy theories should matter, too.”

Tom Tillison

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