A now-viral explanation/rant of the circumstances surrounding Florida’s COVID-19 data and the success of his re-opening plan has all eyes back on Governor Ron DeSantis.
The Governor, speaking to the press on Wednesday, was asked about the woman who was fired from her job running the data portal for the state of Florida. Multiple outlets, like NPR, painted her as a martyr and “scientist” fighting for truth when the reality is a whole lot more absurd.
In reality, Rebekah Jones was a geographic information systems (GIS) manager for the data portal. She is not a scientist, nor was she the one who built the entire website, instead working with a team to do so. Jones was repeatedly insubordinate and was inputting data that, according to DeSantis and his office, was not approved by the actual epidemiologists in the state.
During the blow-up on Wednesday, DeSantis pointed out that Florida is one of the best-performing states when it comes to deaths and death rates. The numbers are low, despite constant media coverage that the state would become the next New York.
The facts on the ground in Florida do not match the fantasy being conceived in the heads of the reporters in the national media. NPR and other national outlets are feeding into the insane narrative that Florida is fudging the numbers to make them appear lower, after spending months (rightly) attacking people on the right who were claiming the numbers were being made to appear higher than they were.
For months, the national press has been trashing DeSantis, proclaiming that everything he is doing is wrong and that Florida is going to be ground zero for the next major outbreak. That “analysis” has been wrong from the start, and worse yet, there are no retractions. Just more stories piling on, waiting for more people to get sick and die.
DeSantis should have trashed the media way more than he did yesterday. They deserve every bit of pushback they get thrown at them. They have been blatantly cheering for more people to get the disease in order to justify their attacks on Republican governors. DeSantis is only guilty of being a Republican governor in a state that is doing well in key categories of the virus: Rate of death and nursing home deaths.
I am sure it felt fairly cathartic to vent like that, and to his credit, he made sure to attack the real enemies here: the northeastern media centered in Washington D.C. and New York, and not the local media, which has largely not touched the story of Jones and the state’s data (that’s a pretty big indicator that this is more partisan than fact-based, by the way).
The media will feel no shame and will push back harder against DeSantis, but they are doing themselves a disservice. They whine and complain that no one listens to them anymore and that people just get their facts from Trump, social media, and anywhere else that isn’t their esteemed outlets. But they are the ones who have spent so long alienating the American public. They have chased their audiences away.