During the height of the pandemic, a new internal study debunked left-wing media reports claiming that Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tampered with COVID-19 data.
According to a former dashboard manager for the Florida Department of Health, Rebekah Jones, she was let go in May 2020 as a result of her refusal to forge coronavirus numbers at the governor’s request. There were no significant problems with COVID data in Florida. According to a New York Post report by Charles C. W. Cooke after her dismissal, Jones established her own dashboard that featured exaggerated figures heavily inflating statistics.
Jones frequently made the rounds on MSNBC and CNN to promote her claims against Governor Andrew Cuomo. She took part in at least five interviews with former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who censored nursing home deaths during the covid pandemic to help his brother former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The Miami Herald drew criticism for an editorial called, “Rebekah Jones’ victory over the DeSantis team could be a win for everyone,” which claimed that the DeSantis team fired her in order to “discredit” her.
“The DeSantis team has worked hard and long to smear Rebekah Jones, who was fired from her job as a data analyst last year after she accused state health leaders of pressuring her to falsify coronavirus numbers. She’s been standing her ground for a year now, and the Office of the Inspector General in Florida has just given her a solid foundation on which to stand.”
Jones was let go for distributing and updating COVID data without permission, according to the governor’s office. In May 2020, Jones put invalid information on the state coronavirus portal, according to DeSantis.
After doing interviews with many people who gathered state COVID data, including supervisory personnel for Jones, Inspector General Michael J. Bennett found her claims to be false in a recent internal report. Some stated that because she did not have direct access to the raw data, her allegations didn’t make sense to them.
“The OIG discovered no proof that the DOH misled or deceived the public about how positivity rates were calculated,” according to the report. “The definitions for overall and new cases were given on the Health Metrics Overview and Data Definition sheet, which were both connected to the dashboard, and they corresponded with testimonial evidence collected by the OIG.”
In light of Jones’ discredited assertions, a Wall Street Journal op-ed stated that Americans’ growing distrust in the media is based on politically tainted reporting.
“One of the reasons so many Americans do not trust the media is that they’ve learned that partisan agendas drive too much coverage,” reads an op-ed. “We wish they were wrong.”