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Now FloridaToday Starts To Tell The Truth.

Rebekah Jones

After a few weeks of trying to push the narrative that state employee Rebekah Jones was terminated from her position because she refused to “manipulate the data” when it came to the COVID-19 cases and deaths in Florida, the paper is doing a 180 degree turn.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The woman who raised questions about Florida’s COVID-19 data after being ousted as the data’s curator had been reprimanded several times and ultimately fired for violating Health Department policy by making public remarks about the information, state records show.

Rebekah Jones’ comments over the past week and a half in emails to researchers, interviews with a handful of media outlets and blog posts have sought to sow doubt about the credibility of the data now that she is no longer in that role.

Sought to sow doubt?

The FloridaToday paper was fertile ground for Jones and false accusations.

Jones was told to resign or be fired last Monday and her last work day was Thursday, after a pattern of overstepping her duties as data manager. The final straw came May 15, when she vented in emails to researchers and other data recipients that she’d been reassigned, suggesting they should now doubt the data’s integrity.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show a supervisor warned Jones on April 9 after she posted a message on a newspaper Facebook page about the dashboard. She was told she needs approval before publicly discussing the work. Less than two weeks later, she was warned again when a mapping company’s online magazine published an extensive interview with Jones. Her supervisor later found a public blog in which Jones discussed the dashboard, released unauthorized charts and added “political commentary” in posts that appear to have been taken down.

The supervisor, Craig Curry, detailed each incident in an email to the department’s human resources office on May 6 and was told he could begin the process of firing her. But in that same email, Curry also praised Jones, saying she did “fantastic work.”

Lots of people in this world get fired because they spoke to the press, created dissension, or made false public statements that reflect negatively on the organization that employed them.

Jones is no different nor should she be treated differently.

She lied to the press about writing the code for Florida COVID-19 dashboard.

She lied to everyone concerning the claim that the State and State officials wanted to “manipulate data.”

Perhaps most telling about the type of person she is, Jones made public statements to people that moving forward the data – data that would be checked, verified and inputed into the dashboard – could not be trusted. As the head of the team that was doing that work, Jones declared her team members to either be incompetent or liars.

Who wants to work with someone like that? Who wants to have a “leader” like that?

Who wants to have a person who thinks rules and employee guidelines don’t apply to them because they are “special?”

Maybe her reaction to being asked to temporarily pull data from the dashboard was skewed and overwrought because she had been working too much. That happens, but what that exhaustion doesn’t account for is throwing her own team under the bus to the rest of the world.

In case you missed it, the FloridaToday has now stated – as have other outlets – what the pulled data was:

Deputy Secretary for Health Dr. Shamarial Roberson said that Jones’s pushback was over the “EventDate” category, which is when a patient reports first remembering having possible symptoms and is separate from when the illness is confirmed.

“Event date is not the important field,” Roberson said. “A case is deemed when you have that laboratory result as positive.”

Even Jones is now admitting that the data was not removed permanently

With an expertise in geography and tropical storms, Jones, 30, also has cited her dismay over Health Department officials taking down a category field in line data for individual COVID-19 cases — but says all data was restored later unaltered.

In short, her claim that data was manipulated is false by her own admission.

The bottom line is that for whatever reason, Jones thought she was above everyone else, and just as importantly, everyone else was below her in many ways. In her mind, the rules didn’t apply to her and for that, she was terminated.

The story that the FloridaToday and other media outlets have tried to push that the State wanted data manipulated is falling apart.

At one point in time, we suppose that the story the FloridaToday printed was interesting, but “interesting” and truth are not the same thing.




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