Jones claimed in 2020 that she was fired from her position in the health department for not caving to pressure to manipulate COVID-19 figures. An investigation by Inspector General Michael J. Bennett found her claims untrue based on the evidence.
“Based upon an analysis of the available evidence, the alleged conduct, as described by the complainant, did not occur,” Bennett’s report said. The governor’s office said she was let go for “insubordination.”
“A frequent phenomenon of our times is the flurry over an alleged scandal that on examination turns out to be false,” the editorial board authors wrote. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, R., was consistently criticized by the left during the COVID-19 pandemic for refusing to impose restrictions in his state.
The editorial board noted multiple headlines from media outlets that ran with the whistleblower’s allegations, including NPR, who wrote, “Florida Dismisses A Scientist For Her Refusal To Manipulate State’s Coronavirus Data,” at the time.
Cosmopolitan published a glowing profile about Jones in 2021, headlined, “Rebekah Jones Tried to Warn Us About COVID-19. Now Her Freedom Is on the Line.”
“Now the Florida Department of Health Office of Inspector General has exonerated Mr. DeSantis. The IG interviewed more than a dozen people who worked with state Covid data, including Ms. Jones’s supervisors. None corroborated her claims,” the editorial board wrote.
The Miami Herald editorial board also published a piece headlined “Rebekah Jones whistleblower win against Florida’s DeSantis administration could be a win for all of us,” which was heavily criticized.
The report also said that “if the complainant or other DOH staff were to have falsified COVID-19 data on the dashboard, the dashboard would then not have matched the data in the corresponding final daily report.”
It noted that the “discrepancy” in the data would have been detectable not only by staff in the Department of Health, but also “local governments, researchers, the press/media, and the general public.”
“One reason so many Americans don’t trust the media is because they have figured out that partisan narratives drive too much reporting. We wish they were wrong,” the editorial board concluded.
Jones appeared on CNN several times throughout the pandemic in 2020. She made at least nine appearances on different CNN programs. She appeared the most on ex-anchor Chris Cuomo’s primetime program.