Rebekah Jones, a former state health official in Florida, became a media darling during the coronavirus pandemic over her explosive claim that she was pressured by the DeSantis administration to alter the state’s data in order to push for reopenings. However, a damning new report suggests that she completely made up her allegations.
National Review senior writer Charles C. W. Cooke wrote a devasting piece that concluded Jones “single-handedly managed to convince millions of Americans” that Republican Florida Gov Ron DeSantis “has been fudging the state’s COVID-19 data.”
Cooke outlined Jones’ history of shady behavior and poked holes in her story, including the major revelation that she “did not have the ability to edit the raw data” in Florida’s COVID database. The report also accused her of highly dramatizing the police visit she had late last year as the result of a valid search warrant.
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However, much of the media elevated her profile and seemed to take her conspiracy at face value, especially CNN.
From May 2020 to December 2020, Jones made at least nine separate on-air appearances on programs like “New Day” and “Out Front with Erin Burnett” and received coverage on “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
But no CNN program booked Jones more than “Cuomo Prime Time.”
Chris Cuomo landed CNN’s first “exclusive” interview with Jones, who he spoke with on at least five separate occasions, most recently in December when the network pushed the narrative that she was the victim of a police “raid” in retaliation of the DeSantis administration when in reality she’s been accused of accessing and stealing government data.
Cuomo, notably, is the brother of Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who the anchor invited onto his program nearly a dozen times for chummy interviews during the coronavirus pandemic.
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CNN spent much of last year hailing Cuomo’s leadership during the pandemic while attacking DeSantis. But the pro-Cuomo network has since been put in an awkward position as the New York governor has been plagued with growing scandals in recent months, which have gotten uneven coverage, all while continuing its effort to slam the Florida governor, whose national popularity has been rising among Republicans.
Back in March, Chris Cuomo told his viewers that he “obviously” cannot cover his brother’s political woes despite praising the Democrat on-air in the early months of the pandemic.