Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a release titled, “New Report Ends Corporate Media’s Favorite False Narrative About Florida’s Successful COVID-19 Response, The “Florida COVID-19 Whistleblower” Story: Media Myths vs. Facts.”
In the release, DeSantis’ Press Office says, “Journalists have one job: to report the truth. That so many amplified an obvious lie, solely to score political points, is an indictment of modern journalism.”
“Florida’s COVID-19 death rate is lower than the national average — without draconian lockdowns, unscientific mask mandates, or invasive vaccine passports. To discredit Governor Ron DeSantis’ successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the corporate media has embraced an absurd narrative for the past year, claiming that Florida is manipulating COVID-19 data to hide the real numbers,” said the release.
The single source for this conspiracy theory was a disgruntled former employee, Rebekah Jones, of the Florida Department of Health.
The Free Press readers may recall that back in December, Jones was served a search warrant at her homes and videotaped a small portion of the search warrant being served at her home. TFP obtained the entire body-worn camera footage from the FDLE officers involved in the search warrant, which crushed the narrative of a ‘brutal’ and ‘inhumane’ takedown by law enforcement.
However, Jones was able to raise a whopping $302,223 under the title of ‘Help Florida Scientist’ on GoFundMe.
Governor DeSantis’ office says, not so fast. A comprehensive report by the National Review tears into the ‘Scientist’ and the narrative pushed by mainstream media.
“Rebekah Jones was not Florida’s “COVID-19 data chief,” nor was she a “data scientist.” Jones couldn’t have manipulated data — even if she had been asked to — because, according to National Review, “Jones did not have the ability to edit the raw data. Only a handful of people in Florida are permitted to touch that information, and Jones was not among them. Instead, each day she was given a copy of the data and charged with uploading it into the system in a manner determined by the epidemiological team,” said the release.
National Review reported, “As Jones herself confirmed on Twitter: ‘I use DOH’s data. If you access the data from both sources, you’ll see that it is identical.’ She just… displays them badly. In order to increase the numbers in Florida’s case count, Jones counts positive antibody tests as cases.”
Per the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), antibody tests are not used for a diagnostic test. Likewise, Jones claims that Florida is hiding deaths because it does not include non-residents in its headline numbers. In fact, Florida reports non-residents pursuant to CDC guidelines, which say that individuals should be counted according to their state of residency.
To be clear, the data that she claims is “wrong” is the exact same data that she herself uses on her dashboard. The difference? Jones includes presumed deaths and out-of-state cases that are not, according to the CDC, to be attributed to Florida.
There was never a “coronavirus catastrophe” in Florida. The numbers are in: Governor DeSantis’ policies, protecting high-risk groups while letting Floridians freely live their lives, have proven to be the right approach. If the national COVID-19 death rate were as low as Florida’s, more than 50,000 Americans would still be alive today.
“The real “coronavirus catastrophe” was in New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, where governors sent COVID-positive patients back to long-term care facilities, resulting in thousands of deaths. California also had a “coronavirus catastrophe”: Six months into the state’s tyrannical lockdown, more than 40,000 small businesses had closed. Today, California’s unemployment rate is nearly twice as high as Florida’s.”
“Corporate media failed to scrutinize negligent pandemic policies in these states, instead elevating outlandish conspiracy theories to attack Governor DeSantis. Sadly, many fell for this deception. According to National Review, by pointing to her own, privately run dashboard, which shows numbers that make Florida’s COVID response look worse than it has been, [Jones] has caused millions of people to believe quite sincerely that the state’s many successes during the pandemic have been built atop fraud.”
The National Review report concluded that Governor DeSantis and FDOH leadership have been right all along: “There are no ‘whistleblowers’ anywhere in this story. There is no scandal. There is no grand fight for truth or justice.”
There is only a corporate media narrative that elevates disinformation at the expense of the truth. That narrative has imploded.
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