The Wall Street Journal editorial board chastised the media for giving credence to Rebekah Jones, a former state health department employee who said she was fired for refusing to change COVID-19 data in Florida. Jones claimed she was fired from the health department in 2020 because she refused to follow demands to tamper with COVID-19 data. Inspector General Michael J. Bennett conducted an investigation and found her accusations to be false based on the evidence.
"Based upon an analysis of the available evidence, the alleged conduct, as described by the complainant, did not occur," said Bennett in his report. The governor's office argues she was let go for "insubordination."
During the COVID-19 outbreak, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis endured a lot of negativity from the left for refusing to impose limitations in the Sunshine State.
The editorial board cited a number of headlines from media outlets that covered the whistleblower's charges at the time, including NPR's "Florida Dismisses A Scientist For Her Refusal To Manipulate State's Coronavirus Data." Cosmopolitan also published featured a story about Jones in 2021, headlined, "Rebekah Jones Tried to Warn Us About COVID-19. Now Her Freedom Is on the Line."
Jones made appearances on CNN several times throughout the first year of the pandemic. There were at least nine appearances on different CNN programs and she appeared the most on ex-anchor Chris Cuomo's primetime program.
"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 claims.
In another report from the Miami Herald, "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 added.