Rebekah Jones’ firing is the COVID clickbait the media dreams of – but it’s all fake

Rebekah Jones’ firing is the COVID clickbait the media dreams of – but it’s all fake

By Brian Burgess, The Capitolist

Dozens of media outlets, both in Florida and nationally, published the sensational story of Dr. Rebekah Jones, a state Department of Health employee who was fired by the administration of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally, after – she says – she refused to manipulate data to support the governor’s plan to reopen the state.

But a deeper look at the underlying facts expose a less sensational, yet all-too-common narrative: a media feeding frenzy caused by a deep-seated desire to report on scandal and cover-ups, which Rebekah Jones’ claims delivered – if only they were true.

They are not.

Let’s pick through the individual pieces of wreckage from this crashed-and-burned narrative one by one:

Claim #1: Rebekah Jones was the “architect” of the Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The truth: Jones was more like the drywall hanger of the dashboard rather than the “architect.” The dashboard was built on the same visual mapping tool that Johns Hopkins University made famous at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. In fact, Florida’s tool looks extremely similar. That’s because Johns Hopkins University is not the “architect” of the dashboard, either. The tool is actually built not on any of Florida’s many data servers, but using ready-made modules from a subscription service called ArcGIS. Jones’ job was to load data into those modules and decide how it appeared to visitors.

Claim #2: Rebekah Jones was a coronavirus “scientist” 

The truth: Jones has a doctorate degree in geography. Her skill set, as applicable to COVID-19, was in mapping data, as we explained above. That’s it. No special skills in epidemiology, biology, or even public health. Depending on the narrative a media outlet wants to convey, using the term “scientist” in headlines about coronavirus carries with it a very specific connotation, leading readers to believe Jones was involved in the front lines of coronavirus research. If media outlets insist on describing her as a “scientist,” they owe their readers a fuller explanation of her role, and should, at most, describe her as a “data scientist,” though even that could be misleading and would still be misconstrued for political gain.

Claim #3: Rebekah Jones was asked to manipulate data to support the governor’s plan to reopen Florida

The truth: Jones was asked to temporarily disable the ability to export data from the dashboard so that it could be verified that the data matched other sources.

We previously gave credit to the Tampa Bay Times for accurately describing Jones’ role in managing the COVID-19 dashboard. They also accurately describe events leading to Jones termination. Don’t misunderstand – the Times is still guilty of trying to make Jones a martyr. Take a look at how they describe what happened:

[On May 4th] the [EventDate] column vanished from the “Person Cases” data, which lists anonymized records for every confirmed case in Florida. The Palm Beach Post reported the disappearance the next day, May 5.

The Tampa Bay Times automatically checks for changes in the data and archives new updates. Shortly before 10:12 a.m on May 4., data still included the EventDate field, showing records with listed dates that people reported symptoms as early as January 1. By 3:02 p.m., the column was gone.

For much of the next day, May 5, the column was either missing or empty, with every row listing “None.” Finally, it returned shortly before 8:02 p.m.

If you’re struggling to see what all the fuss is about, you’re not alone. By the Times own account, a single column of data became temporarily unavailable for a day and a half. The only other item worthy of note in the Times’ story is that the state’s official epidemiologist (i.e. an actual medical scientist, not a data mapper, like Jones) asked to have the ability to export data from the dashboard temporarily disabled while health officials verify that the dates match other official sources.

This is critical. The Tampa Bay Times had the full explanation for why the data was temporarily unavailable, but they and other media outlets decided to run with “coronavirus conspiracy” instead. In fact, the Times headline claims Jones was asked to “delete” data. No where in the story itself does the word “delete” appear. It’s another clickbait headline.

Claim #4: Rebekah Jones was fired because she refused to comply with orders to hide the truth about COVID-19

The truth: The idea that Jones is somehow a martyr for truth about coronavirus and a victim of a DeSantis administration cover up is a narrative too many media outlets were willing to jump on.

She was fired for insubordination, according to the DeSantis Administration:

“Rebekah Jones exhibited a repeated course of insubordination during her time with the department, including her unilateral decisions to modify the department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval from the epidemiological team or her supervisors,” DeSantis spokeswoman Helen Ferre said in a statement. “The blatant disrespect for the professionals who were working around the clock to provide the important information for the COVID-19 website was harmful to the team.”

Jones is no stranger to insubordination. In 2016, she was arrested on the campus of her employer, Louisiana State University, for refusing to obey the orders of a police officer:

On June 13, 26-year-old University staff member Rebekah Jones was booked on one count of battery on a police officer, one count of remaining after forbidden and two counts of resisting arrest, Scott said. Scott said officers arrived at the Sea Grant building when Jones refused to leave at the request of LSU Human Resources. Scott said Jones initiated physical contact against two LSUPD officers while resisting arrest and officers were forced to subdue her.

It’s not clear why LSU’s Human Resources department asked one of their own staff members to leave the area.

Jones also has an extensive criminal history in Leon County, where she’s been arrested and charged with three felonies, including one for robbery, and a handful of misdemeanor cases including “sexual cyberstalking,” a case where she created a website and used it to sexually harass her ex-boyfriend. The website has been taken down, but images from the case exist in Leon County court records.

Most of the charges filed against her came after she was hired by the Department of Health, so they would not have turned up in any background check.

The bottom line: Rebekah Jones was fired for performance issues, not for “refusing to manipulate data.” And her extensive criminal history, which predates her employment in Florida, lends credence to the DeSantis administration that she was just a troublesome employee who is now disgruntled and trying to get media attention about her firing. The easiest way to get media attention right now is to claim a Republican elected official is involved in a conspiracy to cover up COVID-19 data detrimental to reopening the state economy.

The media outlets listed above will not issue retractions. They will double down on the idea that DeSantis’s administration is withholding / manipulating / deleting / altering data. That, too is totally false. But mark these words, the embarrassment of touting Rebekah Jones as their coronavirus martyr will quickly fade into the mainstream media memory hole.

184 Responses to "Rebekah Jones’ firing is the COVID clickbait the media dreams of – but it’s all fake"

  1. Rebekah ain’t no dashboard architect. She just adopted an ArcGIS module. She ain’t no Dr. cause she got herself kicked outta FSU before writing a dissertation. She is a hot romance novelist with her sizzling essay. Read her steamy diary if you’re over 18 and not offended by frank detailed sex talk. She dated/sexted/had sex with a student when he was in her class which is real poor judgement and she blamed him 100% for the pregnancy. She got arrested at LSU, FSU and Tallahassee in a period of 4 years. Is that a record? Geographers are not scientists. Look at the curriculum. It’s a soft science in Liberal Arts College.

  2. ArcGIS is not a ready-made program. It’s a mapping service that allows you to do an incredible amount of data management, mapping, spatial analysis, and data visualization but users do have to build their sites “from scratch” using the capabilities of ArcGIS. Recommend you edit your first claim.

  3. I became suspicious of her because of her level of hostility to people who question her about her actions. Most people are not as gullible as she would hope. But enough are gullible enough to donate nearly a half millions dollars to her via two go fund me campaigns which she started.

  4. I love how you label it an “extensive” criminal history when she has NEVER been found guilty of a single crime!

    This very biased article completely misrepresents her claims. I’ve seen her discuss them specifically so I don’t understand how you could get something so wrong. She has spoken out about multiple issues.

    “She said the state made changes in April to support its initial reopening May 4, for example by altering the way it reports the positivity rate of testing in a way she disagreed with. Instead of showing the rate of all positive tests, it began showing the rate of new positive tests — filtering out people who previously tested positive.”

    “Jones also said she opposed how health officials decided to exempt rural counties below 75,000 population from more stringent criteria for reopening — such as showing a downward trajectory of new cases or case positivity in the past 14 days.”

    When you get something so basic so very wrong, you deserve to lose all credibility. Your blatant tone is disgusting and only hurts you.

    While she’s primarily a geographer, she does have a science degree and her doctoral emphasis was in data science. Oh and a geographer is a scientist whose area of study is geography. She actually IS a scientist. But you keep complaining about her being called a scientist. Because that’s what is important.

    What a ridiculous piece of trash.

  5. WOW! I haven’t read a more “fair and balanced” news article for so long that I can’t recall the last time, certainly long before I stopped paying any attention to FOX “news”!

    Thank you for being so open and honest, sharing ALL OF THE FACTS OF THE STORY, and letting us readers decide which version we prefer to believe.

    I am truly pleased to have discovered the Tallassee Reports and will become a subscriber as soon as I send this message of appreciation for your revelation of the true facts of this issue…

  6. “She’s not a scientist, she’s a geologist” is such an asinine point.
    ” ~ CAB

    If you had a rare heart condition, would you have cardiologist treat you or a podiatrist?

  7. “She’s not a scientist, she’s a geologist” is such an asinine point. That seriously just distracts from the better points this article makes.

    But again, DeSantis is a corrupt turd that clearly is not taking or has taken COVID-19 as seriously as needed, so this article’s point at the end saying it simply is not happening is baseless and false because he has already publicly lied about the state of the pandemic in Fla.

    And if this woman is such a non issue then why did state police raid her home?

    1. If you read the actual warrant, it shows that the FBI were involved, not just state police.

      It mentions that the emergency message system was accessed by someone with the same IPv6 address as her, and considering her background, it would make sense that it was her who did it. Pretty sure it is illegal to access the system after you’re terminated…

    2. Cab, She isn’t a geologist. She is a geographer and therefore studies spatial data. Like the article said, at best a “data scientist”

  8. Sounds like she has some vindictive tendencies if things don’t go her way.
    Women who are troubled like that can
    be very dangerous! She needs therapy.
    Looks like a payday for all the Left wing Democratic News Outlets too!
    When I first heard about it, I thought,
    “How could there be more cases, when
    the totals are too high from incorrectly
    posted data?” If you died from an aneurism
    and you carry the Covid antibody, they list
    you as a casualty of Covid so they could
    get a financial kickback.

  9. It’s too complex of an issue for reporters to follow, and the truth is too boring for reader interest, so they purposely make up a scenario that has a little intrigue. Bingo, more media political bias directed against the right.

  10. That was not my experience. I donated $10 plus $1 for the 10% required tip for gofundme services. No other fees applied. I used checking account though have used credit account before on the site and never experienced that issue

  11. If she was fired for legitimate reasons we would not even be discussing her criminal record unless directly related to her firing. DOH has already stated that she was fired for insubordination. Good rule of thumb, when someone purposefully attacks someone’s character it’s usually a last resort effort. Bringing up her run-ins with the law is desperate. Insubordination alone is enough for firing in FL (Right to work state).

  12. Warning: If you donate to Rebekah via her new dashboard, your credit card will be dinged for a cash advance fee instead of her paying the standard merchant transaction fee to the credit card company. My credit card hit me for $10.00 cash advance fee!!

  13. This story, this fantasy, a well-known strategy of discrediting women who hold truth up to the face of power. The items cited reflect ignorance of the writer (unnamed) about the technology and spurious, untrue allegations.

  14. Just so people know – the author (Brian Burgess) is not a journalist but rather a political consultant and former spokesman for Rick Scott (former Republican Governor of Florida). He also owns his own consulting firm called Right Hook Consulting so this article clearly is biased.

    More alarming is the fact that this article just attempts to character assassinate the subject (Rebekah Jones) rather than actually arguing why her claims are wrong. Parsing what the definition of “architect” or “scientist” has nothing to do with the validity of the claims being made by her.

  15. Wow it’s funny how you research top 5 most bias media in Florida and the capitalist is ranked number 5… Lean anymore right and you’ll fall of your chair!

    Really showing your true colors being the only website in the whole state of Florida that reports this slander which is catered to demonizing a data analyst who didn’t want to fudge the numbers.

    And look how quickly De Santis and his lackeys did a press conference before Jones hit the airwaves to say her piece. It’s also funny cause this is a catch and kill type move by De Santis and his team. If she was lying they wouldn’t have needed a damage control type response about a data analyst in they way they did it. It was a personal jab directed at her. If it was any other scenario of insubordination they wouldn’t have revealed her name and background to the public. That was done to disinform the public for political reasons and damage control any response Jones would give and call her a criminal and liar. It can be done to anyone but you keep drinking the kool-aid and I’ll be comparing the data to better make a decision independently without bias remarks!

    The facts just came out around the entire Nation on most media outlers… Florida in fact is withholding and altering covid19 data for the state opening purposes.

  16. So this is all about the Trumpetteers wanting to play god and manipulate the numbers.
    Weenie boy writer, nice try sucking up to DeSantis and smearing Rebekah’s name in the process.
    You rebel when you know things are wrong! Insubordination is a bull line people pull out of their fannies when you do not allow them to order you around. I refuse to live in a Totalitarian society like the one Trump has attemptEd to create.

  17. You can’t get any more biased than this article. It’s an opinion piece, plain and simple. A he said she said piece. Where are all the facts backing up the supposed claims in this article.

    Here’s a perfect example, No authors are listed so we have. No idea who wrote it and what their purpose may have been for writing it.
    Hilariously the non named authors list multiple charges against the woman, but it appears they can’t find any guilty verdicts, plea deals, etc. documenting that this woman committed any crimes.

    Facts count. A BS opinion piece by authors who refuse to name themselves does not.

  18. Seems like everybody is missing the point as to why people cared about this story in the first place. It looked like the Gov was in a rush to reopen the state without following CDC guidelines and this story provided a “whistleblower”; now a couple months go by and Florida records a new daily high for cases with each passing day. If nothing else, give the public credit for realizing their leadership was taking them down the wrong path and didn’t deserve much trust.

  19. It just came out that she had an affair with a student in her job at LSU, had his baby, published a 300 page manifesto about it, and posted revenge porn after he broke it off. She’s certifiable bat-sh— crazy. That says a lot more than this article.

  20. This article is a terrible hit piece. Claims #1 and #2 are incorrect and show the author doesn’t understand either computer programming or data science.

  21. Whether this article is completely 100% the truth is not the point. The point is, the accepted narrative, that Rebekah Jones is some kind of martyr, when such a wild eyed claim is just not true. Whatever happened to accountability for your behavior in and out of the workplace? And her claims – like some kind of imputed whistleblower – are highly specious – given the nature of the CDC’s March 24th Memo, and the subsequent refiguring of state deaths in CO, NJ (and the Gun Shot deaths counted as covid deaths in WA State.) We’re supposed to BELIEVE that without question? And folks here want to talk about manipulation of data? Puuuuuhlease.

  22. This article neatly sums up the situation and essentially verifies that Bek Jones is FOS.

    What this looks like to me is someone who was too stupid to question why they were told to do something or understand its broader implications before disagreeing with actual public health officials who hold actual doctoral degrees. The praise of the dashboard received went to her head and she truly believed she actually had ownership of this thing (which as a state employee who takes direction from many superiors – nah). She MAY have actually believed she was doing the right thing, but it’s extremely apparent she just didn’t take the time to listen to or understand others and ran with her own narrative. She has now made an utter fool of herself and everyone who continues to believe her. The fact that she’s a horrible person aside with an extensive history of abusive behavior and a problem with authority, she is just plain wrong. As a moderate Democrat, seeing the media run with this after doing so little research is very disheartening. More fuel for the right and the fake news narrative (of which this is the essence). I hope she gets what’s coming to her, but she’ll probably be rewarded by those too lazy or blind to look at the facts. She is a megalomaniac and this pattern of behavior will doubtlessly continue, assuming someone is dumb enough to hire her again.

  23. Nothing but a mud-sling article.
    Take a guess who payed for it.

    I’ve written large applications with the ArcGIS API and it doesn’t just do everything for you. No software is written for “scratch” if every developer built mapping libraries from the ground up every time they need to make an app companies would never get anything done.
    Sounds typical of a non-programmer who is just talking trash about things they obviously know nothing about, if it’s so easy there’s plenty demand for it and it pays well so everyone should be doing it.

    I don’t care what her record is or her boyfriend issues were it has nothing do do with whether the state was trying to force her to cover up deaths.

    So to sum up the propaganda:

    Opening. Desantis (and I) support Trump (this is your queue to agree with what i’m saying)
    1. Non-programmer telling non-programmers how programming works.
    2. Non-scientist telling non-scientists how data science works.
    3. Desantis did nothing wrong (but instead of linking you to sources and evidence i’ll just add links to random articles that have nothing to do with this)
    4. I scrutinized her entire personal life to convince you she’s not a very nice person and therefore you should believe what I am saying.

    It’s sad seeing how people are willing to put their lives at the stake based on the words of a politician, I wouldn’t take medical advice from Trump or Obama. I’d rather listen to someone with a degree they didn’t buy, but I guess the worshipers need an article to link to, which is how I got here (and they’re getting a downvote for wasting my time).

  24. 1. Architect or not, she used a tool, much as a researcher uses a methodology based on a journal article. For that she deserves credit.

    2. That she is in geography matters, as one can be in one field and use information from another to make transdisciplinary efforts. That is best practice, not working out of her competency.

    3. This claim is weak and is based entirely on the state of Florida’s ultra right wing governor to be honest in why he dismissed her.

    4. Insubordination is a label used to smear. Just as disgruntled is. This claim is also weak.

    Can one expect a Florida source, Tallahassee Reports, whatever that is, and let’s use their own way of arguing, a bunch of MAYBE journalism majors judging outside their competence, a source that has no idea what transdisciplinary means and that attempts to smear by saying she used someone else’s tools to do her work, which is not only often done by scientists, but is a necessary part of research, tools she may have, and likely did, spent considerable time modifying for the site. The Tallahassee Reports shows its hand in their 3rd and 4th smears best, all based on the claims of a Trumpite governor, an incompetent who helped spread COVID 19 by his idiotic keeping open of beaches and businesses because, after all, money, the great capitalist God, is more important than lives. He is a death panel along with the rest of the craven people who argue opening up requires the death of the expendable, the elderly, the very young babies and children, and those with preexisting conditions.

  25. I think DeSantis is right in not reporting all the deaths in nursing homes and senior living places, it feeds in to the Democrats narrative about Republicans not doing a good job.
    Who would’ve known that China was going to make us sick? No, we will not report the acts of a terrorist nation like China!

    If Donald Trump and Governor DeSantis want to release data that is positive, that’s great! Stop hiding all the good news about this, OK? We want positive stories about how even the president is celebrating this Great Recovery and Re-Opening by playing a round of golf, even as a couple of really old people, who were on their last legs just happen to die.

    Stop Testing, Reporting of Deaths, people are going to die, so get over it already!!!

  26. As a Senior Writer and Research Analyst, this author and editing team should be utterly embarrassed. Just a wild lack of understanding of geospatial analysis; one of the most applicable positions to handle this. As a research analyst, this article would make me ashamed of myself

  27. It’s fascinating that there is literally nothing that happens these days, that isn’t looked at through the prism of Political Party’s and/or partisan ideology… that being said…

    There’s always the possibility that the woman was simply fired due to poor performance and insubordination… it does still happen you know.

    Ahh… the wonder of Occam’s razor.

    … carry on

  28. TR Staff…Be prepared. TD has either removed their article that accused Governor Desantis or has buried it, deeply within their on line pages. They are gearing up to present another story at some point and do everything within their power to dispute th truth that you put forth and the lies they will come out with be damned. Again…be prepared…as you always are.

  29. This story is a misleading hit piece.
    1. Someone using ArcGIS to build a reporting system is an architect of the data system. I have used ArcGIS.
    2. She has a doctorate, that makes her a scientist. She is a data scientist, which was often used to describe her. (The first two smears and all the error messages in this report I immediately spot show the lack of professionalism.)
    3. Data went missing. The state refused to comment on it, at first. Of course, everyone will report deleted.
    4. Wow. Interesting criminal history. “Most of the charges filed against her came after she was hired by the Department of Health, so they would not have turned up in any background check.” That appears to be a line fed to them by the Florida DofH or a Governor’s aide as a cover our asses statement. Really like the “most” in there. I thought people refusing to bow down to “the man” are usually seen as Trumpster heroes?
    5. What else would the D of H say but there was another reason why she was fired?
    6. I really think NPR, not my favorite new source due to their unwillingness to go hard on corporations who provide much of their funding and their bad business reporting, is a much more credible source on this story which is ongoing.
    7. Her criminal record is interesting and the fact the state is now trying to justify and explain what happened is good but the smears on journalists and scientists are the modus operandi for GOP conservatives now.

  30. “Other outlets, including MSNBC and NPR, reported that Jones was a “scientist.” While Jones was enrolled for over two years at Florida State University in a geography Ph.D. program, a university spokesman told the Tampa Bay Times the school had not posted any degrees for her, and Jones’s personal blog shows she is not set to complete the doctorate until 2021.”

    From an article in National Review

  31. Bill claims that this piece may be a hit piece from a conservative public relations guy. Well, no matter who wrote it, or what their political preference is, the article can either be contested or not. Did Ms. Jones manipulate data or simply pull it at the request of supervisors until it could be validated? Easy to check out. Did she commit the crimes they detail or not? Easy to check out. Is she the architect of the dashboard or not. Easy to check out. The title Coronavirus Scientist is a label the press put on her. That is not her title. By putting the title of Coronavirus Scientist on her, is implying that she is an expert on the Coronavirus. Is she, or is she a an expert on geography? Easy to check out. I’m tired of guys like Bill who default to their position based on their political leanings. That’s like saying all Republicans deny Watergate as partisan reporting because it was the Democratic leaning Washington Post reported on it. It was Republicans who went to Nixon and said…ITS OVER. Its not that complicated Bill…if its true its not partisan. If its reported as true and its not, it is partisan. This report appears to be true…and its easy to find out if it is or isn’t. But for sure…the reports of Rebekah Jones being the sacrificial lamb that came out from Florida Today were blatantly false…and thus very partisan.

    1. Yes,of course it’s a hit piece. Perhaps checking on this website would be a good idea too.
      But the sources he quotes have made mistakes too.
      1. The Tampa Tribune and NPR have the best reputations. Start there and assume they have employed fact checkers. If they didn’t it would be really quite unusual for a biased outlet like this to get anything right. And for goodness sake don’t waste your time reading anything else except the Herald.
      2. The commenters on what she did and what her qualifications are, are very, very far off the mark. A scientist is anyone with a PhD who does research.
      3. The ARCGIS article on her is from the ARCGIS community’s viewpoint. People who can’t respect a professional organization and its community of professionals are just meat puppets. That shortens this comment section to a handful of people.
      Just below, Mike accepts an article from the NR. What you guys have to do is pay attention to how many times people get things wrong – everybody does – and ignore those with too many mistakes. Look for bias.

  32. Keep in mind this article is from The Capitolist – a pro-DeSantis, self-proclaimed ‘center-right blog. It was written by a guy who runs a PR shop for conservative politicians.

    Objective journalism or hit piece from a conservative public relations guy?

    1. Keep in mind the “newspaper of record” in town is anti-DeSantis and a mouthpiece for the tax-and-spend illiberal left. If you’re looking for objective journalism, you won’t find it there.

      1. Keep in mind, it wasn’t the “the tax-and-spend illiberal left” who passed a sweeping tax plan that adds trillions to the deficit and helps no one but the wealthy, and I don’t care what mouthpiece you choose to listen to, that’s just a fact. The right dropped their deficit hawk moniker as fast as they dropped their “pro-life” position in the midst of a pandemic.

  33. Did a little digging on the Leon County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller,


    1st Petition | Dating Violence | Dismissed After Hearing
    2nd Petition | Dating Violence | Dismissed After Hearing

    Rebeka 1st Petition | Slander | Dismissed Before Hearing

    1st Petition | Stalking Injunction | Disposed by Judge (2017)
    2nd Petition | Stalking Injunction | Diposed by Judge (2019)

    Rebeka 1st Petition | Paternity | Dismissed Before Hearing

  34. Wow, just Wow! Can not believe what this story has turned out to be. I believed the original report as many media outlets were touting this as truth. It’s so sad that we can no longer trust any media outlets to investigate stories before they’re reported! What happened to investigate reporting and telling the truth based on facts?

  35. This is not an article, is Damage Control, this tells me all there is to know about the “writer”.

    The Capitolist | For People Whose Business Is Politics.
    Brian Burgess owns Right Hook Consulting, a media communications consulting firm, helping clients get the right message in front of decision makers, opinion leaders, elected officials, their staff, and the voters who put them in office.
    Guiding CEO’s, high-ranking government officials, law enforcement, non-profit groups and political candidates through some of the biggest challenges they’ve faced.

    Totally unprejudiced and unbiased. right!

  36. Classic Hatchet Job by this Tallahasse rag. Beginning with the picture used; very unflattering, the columnist makes no effort for neutrality, and leaves no stone unturned in his overzealous effort to discredit. and the Ohh Soo damaging rhetoric, and demonizing language such as “Her criminal record” All opinion devoid of factual data, Obvious political leaning, providing no proof of statements. conspiracy within a conspiracy, all to defend the indefensible: the inexcusably corrupt Trump sycophant DeSantis a confirmed anti-science politician attempting to conceal the inauspicious COVID-19 numbers on a dashboard, DeSantis obviously did not count on his subordinates integrity, which he calls insubordination. But how could he, Integrity it is no something familiar to him.

  37. Classic Hatchet Job by this Tallahasse rag. Beginning with the picture used; very unflattering, the columnist makes no effort for neutrality, and leaves no stone unturned in his overzealous effort to discredit. and the Ohh Soo damaging rhetoric, and demonizing language such as “Her criminal record” All opinion devoid of factual data, Obvious political leaning, providing no proof of statements. conspiracy within a conspiracy, all to defend the indefensible: the inexcusably corrupt Trump sycophant DeSantis a confirmed anti-science attempting the inauspicious COVID-19 numbers on a dashboard, DeSantis obviously did not count on peoples integrity, but how could he, it is no something familiar to him.

  38. She’s also under active criminal charges in the state of Florida. She’s being charged with cyber-stalking and cyber sexual harassment from June 2019

  39. The funny part is that the governor and his spokesperson released an email from her supposedly supporting their position, but they didn’t read it carefully and think about the nuances in it because it proves exactly the opposite!

    The email basically says that people were bugging her for support and explanations for sudden changes after she was removed from the project, so she did lie at that point to COVER for the administration’s real reason and to avoid repeating the implied accusation, but it was before they gave her their official cover story, so her attempt to cover for the governor conflicts with the official story. And why were they asking her about the dashboard anyway? This is where you are supposed to stop thinking and just know that your ideology has all the answers, because….

    …Oops! They proved her right, demonstrated that they are the ones lying, and they didn’t even realize it! Welcome to the Trump era.

  40. The reason LSU HR asked Rebekah Jones to leave campus is becuse they had just fired her for cause for behavior eerily similar to what the Densantis administration describes in this situation. She is a data scientist and nothing I’ve seen suggests she completed her PhD. Her claims should be carefully scrutinized.

  41. Who cares about all of this “science” and “scientist” crap? She LIED about why she was let go. It was NOT because she wouldn’t manipulate data. That is serious enough. So she is a LYING scientist/PHD/crappy ex-girlfriend and a generally dysfunctional human being. Governor DeSantis did an admirable job with COVID, especially given our large elderly population and the influx of fleeing NYers. I am just glad Gillum did not get elected. FL would be like other Dem states with lockdowns until Election Day, no school, businesses gone, and a ravaged nursing homes population that would equal NY and NJ and PA. Thank you Governor DeSantis for caring about the citizenry.

    1. Good call on the leftist visitors here posting their bogus claim that Jones is an effin scientist. Science = 2020 leftist code word for 8ull $hit.
      But wait theres more to smell here:
      Those agency dash boards are copy and paste versions of basically the same easily obtainable Xcel spread sheet. Hello she was not a code writing programmer she was a glorified bean counter…that is all.

  42. The Johns Hopkins dashboard was also constructed by a PhD engineering student with geography mapping background.

    Collection of data from established sources does not necessarily require an epidemiology background.

    The Claim #2 is very questionable on this basis.

  43. What you describe in your article is exactly,hat is called architect of a dashboard. Dashboard are not the graphics but the data that is pushed in them. The graphics are always made by a company or people not related to the data. You have splunk dashboard, SQL server dashboard, etc. The creator of the dashboard is the one that put the data in.
    Now, all of this is about geography. Collecting data and mapping them is the job of people having a PhD in geography. She has done it with hurricanes and other stuff. Now with covid19.
    Clearly you lack the knowledge to write on this matter and your fast internet searches will not help you know better. You simply lack the experience of a job. A real job.
    This smear campaign against that smart and honest employee is just another political attack to hide the truth and change the facts to please Trump and help him being reelected despite his incompetence exposed to all with this preventable crisis.

  44. This article has made be realize that she clearly is being ‘tossed under the Trump bus’. The level of nit picky detail of her past wrongs shows that they want to do anything to discredit her. WELCOME TO CHINA!

    If she has a PhD is geography then data is her life blood and ARCgis software is her native language. You can tell she is the type of computer nerd that can’t leave work and that Human Resources has to resort to police to get her to leave. Now I am really scared

  45. Insubordination to her supervisors and the team of epidemiologists who really cares about the functions if this dashboard. Well, what if those epidemiologists take her side? Still insubordination because she was ultimately working for the governor and her supervisors, but that one little detail changes the entire story from “insubordination” to “fired for refusing to lie” so it’s not an insigificant detail we can bury in the list of arguments that supposedly break the narrative.

  46. There are all sorts of ways companies spin exits like this. But one thing I 100% believe is that someone asked her to modify the data to show a preferential view. I believe this because I have been in the role of a data scientist and analytics designer for over 12 years. The number of times I have been asked to do something similar with my data are PLENTIFUL. I have HUNDREDS OF TIMES been blatantly asked to modify data or displays to show an inaccurate but preferential view. The number of times I’ve heard “let’s exclude this record because we don’t believe it paints an accurate picture”… In my experience, 50% of an analytics role is finding/correlating/displaying good data, and 50% is defending against the corruption of that data for internal political gains.

    Doesn’t it start to feel more like a spun political narrative when they have to bring up her past private relationship issues to discredit her? Isn’t that how politics work? Someone rises as an opponent of your views and you dig up dirt on whatever bad behavior you can find in their past and plaster it all over the media? Gotta smack down her credibility in order to promote the idea that her narrative is false. For anyone to enter a public arena, knowing all your skeletons are going to be exposed, and to do it anyhow…that to me seems like a person who is willing to sacrifice a lot in order to maintain data integrity.

    We do a lot of “throw the baby out with the bath water” and not enough of independent data validation.

  47. On #1, she literally was the architect, not only the architect, but the builders too. She single handedly designed not only that application but the entire infrastructure supporting it. Processing and updating the data fed into those applications was hundreds of lines of code. Saying she wasn’t an architect is the same as saying modern architects aren’t architects.

    #2, not all GIS practitioners are scientists. Those that have an MS in geography, professionally design data systems, and conduct scientific GIS research are. Not all scientists have lab coats… most don’t.

  48. I have met this woman a few times and I think she is extremely annoying and self absorbed.

    The DOH dashboard is not the greatest example of an esri dashboard. It’s not that complex, or well styled, so if she worked 16 hour days for 2 months, she was doing a lot of things wrong.

    You can be both a developer and a data scientist in the GIS field, but I seriously doubt either titles can be applied to her. Her own statements give the impression she doesn’t have the first clue about data analysis. You always, always ensure public numbers match in all places they are provided. That’s just very strange to think there are duplicitous intentions by trying to be consistent with data releases and if they disabled the ability to download raw data from her dashboard but not other places, then that implies her numbers are bad.

    I don’t like that this story got politicized. I’m not the biggest fan of DeSantis, but this whole thing is just someone who got fired for repeated bad behavior and tried to play herself up as a victim.

  49. She is obviously a self promoter, judging by all interviews and activities about this dashboard which is based on a tool already built by a private corporation. I have been a GIS professional at the University level for 25 years, and the Florida’s dashboard is very poorly designed. The way the data is summarized and displayed is very primitive and at times meaningless, compared to what the potential for it is. The accessibility of the data is cumbersome and it leads the user to the servers of the private corporation i.e. ESRI that is promoting her work, in order to be able to download public data. So, even her claimed work, does not convince one that she is a ‘scientist’. She is a manager by job description, and before that she was just a GIS analyst. Neither get even close to being a ‘scientist’ of GIS or any other field. This is not to say that there may have probably been an attempt of data cover up at any point, but her credibility is very very dubious to me.

  50. What is your proof for the felonies mentioned? I could not find anything on the court site of the Leon county.

  51. Click bait, just like Rocky feeding misinformation to Jeff Burlew then the Democrat printing Rocky’s misleading information Rocky lied to state and federal authorities but his damage was done. Anyone that supports Rocky is supporting someone who purposely filed knowingly false information to win an election.

  52. Glad to see all these comments. New folks to respond to Tall. Reports. Keep reading TR and join us in other issues. We need as much interest in getting our school system back on the right track.

  53. CLICKCRAP Just more horse pucky from the left reported by the liberal agenda to make the Governor look bad.

  54. A hardcore conservative wrong about science? Color me shocked. What are your scientific credentials, Mr Burgess?

    Nice hitpiece though. Go for the ad hominem when your party once again has mud on its face.

  55. Governor Ron has doggie do on his shoes, and is trying mightily to wipe it off. However, it still smells

  56. What’s also odd to me is why you’d terminate someone who is obviously doing something good, right in the middle of a crisis. It’s hard enough to get really smart and competent folks, why get rid of them? If there is a problem, well that’s where you discuss it. At this level of work, I would expect it to take months before someone is terminated. Not days.

    I would imagine Rebekah Jones won’t have trouble finding her next job.

  57. Nowhere in this article does it say what the results of all the arrests and charges listed were. And you don’t even bother to ask Rebekah Jones for her side of this story. A very biased and therefore unreliable article.

  58. As a Geographic Information Systems Professional your rebuttals to claims #1 and #2 are completely wrong. As are Rob Crawford’s comments, haha!

  59. You’re sympathetic to her because she is criticizing a Republican. Let’s be honest about it, at least.

    1. Sounds like you’re sympathetic of a governor withholding important information of a pandemic spread and then demonizing a Floridian for what? Political reasons duh. Has anyone even considered the fact of what would happen if he is caught red handed in this hit piece/cover up story? If she was a liar and a insubordinate employee. A smart governor who knows he didn’t mislead the people of Florida wouldn’t have to make a podium appearance just to defame and discredit 1 employee. Unless it’s purposefully done as damage control for when she says her part of what happened?

  60. Ms. Jones’s geography degree makes her more qualified to be “the architect” of the site than most state website designers. An epidemiologist or other healthcare scientist would NOT be qualified to build such a site unless they had also learned to use the ArcGIS tools by training or on their own.

    The “drywall hanger” slam demonstrates that the author is as guilty as those he criticizes of making huge assumptions, in this case about how websites are designed. Almost all websites with changing data are built with large suites of tools. The designers pick from lists choices much like altering the colors of things on a computer desktop. There is little to no actual programming involved.

    Ms. Jones was reportedly fired for “insubordination” by making changes go the website without approval? Website designers and maintainers constantly make changes. Which kinds of changes require preapproval from the “stakeholders” varies by site and often changes over time.

    To state that her firing was “for performance issues”, as if that explains everything and is entirely justified, is a tried and true mantra of managers everywhere to cover up the real reasons. Those reasons may be legit and may not. We don’t know.

    I personally have experienced managers demanding instant results that do not allow time to do the job correctly and my pushback being called insubordination so I’m sympathetic to Ms. Jones until proven otherwise.

    The “criminal history” stuff at the end is a blatant attempt to discredit by calling acts of civil disobedience “criminal”. Technically correct, but acceptable and often revered in our culture.

    Employees don’t pushback against their managers without reason. I’d really like to hear the details of what she was ordered to do that she refused and why.

  61. You all are over anaylising and engaging in wild speculation.
    This is all gonna do a quick fizzle and disappear so quickly.
    Its gonna be like a few days a week at the most and you all gonna wonder “what ever happened with that Dep of Health lady”???
    Why do I say this?
    Its right under your nose just take a look at the picture. If thats her then she’s not of the proper ethnic background to interest the media much more than a week. And regardless theres some unhelpful background baggage the lady brings to her big virtue signaling bash DeSantis “reveal”.

  62. Calling her a “scientist” gives her more credence than calling her a “geographer” because readers would likely assume she’s an epidemiologist. So it’s an attempt to mislead. We know how the game is played.

  63. You don’t necessarily have to have the degree in hand to be a PHD. Often if your in the process of defending your dissertation, you will be referred to as doctor (as you completed all the steps and years of work.) Looking her up, apparently she has dual master degrees…which is insanely difficult.

    1. This perspective is not quite true, as the vast majority of institutions would not refer to someone as “Dr.” until they have at the very least successfully defended their dissertation. At best she would be ABD, which would put her as having completed coursework and passing any examination required to continue the program. After two years of coursework, that would be the most appropriate title, or “PhD student” if she had not yet passed her exams, but there is no evidence she should be called “Dr.” at all.

      1. Someone who has completed their Ph.D. program’s coursework and exams might colloquially be called an A.B.D. (All But Dissertation), but formally they would be called a Ph.C., or Candidate of Philosophy. I received a Ph.C. diploma after completing my exams, and before finishing my dissertation and receiving my Ph.D. diploma.

    2. I don’t know anyone with a PhD who thinks you get to call yourself doctor before your dissertation is approved. And being ABD (all but dissertation), if I applied for an academic job and called myself doctor, I’d get laughed out of the room.

    3. Unless you graduate you do not have a PhD. No one calls themself “Doctor” unless they earned it. The dissertation is the final step and once it isapproved, along with satisfying any other previous requirements, then you graduate. I have a PhD

  64. Funny. You folks read an article about false claims in her being fired, ignore the false stories, the dubious past, and decide to argue over whether or not she’s actually a scientist. How about opening your eyes to the real problem? Reporting to fit a narrative, rather than what actually happens, is the news media’s biggest problem. And it’s killing their business.

    1. You hit the nail on the head there, Bud. Doubling, tripling, & quadrupling down will obliterate the Fake News Media during the current decade.

      Keep the GAME BALL.

    2. I am a Dr. of Dog Walking. Extensive experience, read some about it, studied hard, made a website. I am a Dr. now. Of Dog Walking.

  65. Well that’s a solid hit piece, considering she doesn’t actually have a criminal record; all of the cases that the author highlights were nolle prossed or no info’ed, and wouldn’t be admissible in any court, except the court of public opinion. This was 100% a character hit piece.

    I’m not arguing the merits of her claims, in fact I find it dubious that such a verifiable set of data sourced from other, local, data sources is subject to willful modification, given the political backlash it would bring but everything from “she isn’t really a scientist” to “she isn’t the “architect” of the dashboard” is just kind of a farce intended to distract from the issue at hand.

    Either she was told to modify data or she wasn’t, and the article was pretty short on verifiable facts there, just conclusory opinions. But hey, I might have been asking too much from the author (The Capitolist): An “insider” news aggregation blog purporting an “authentic conservative voice” written by a guy who runs a PR shop for conservative politicians. Bound to be viewpoint neutral, right?

    1. She does have a criminal record. She’s been arrested multiple times. That’s record. It’s obvious she has problems with authority and maturity. So you missed this part, “Rebekah Jones exhibited a repeated course of insubordination during her time with the department, including her unilateral decisions to modify the department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval from the epidemiological team or her supervisors,”.

      What, do you have a crush on her?

    2. Pretty clearly states in the article that she ” asked to have the ability to export data from the dashboard temporarily disabled while health officials verify that the dates match other official sources.” I’d hardly call that “modifying data” try reading more carefully before you get on your high horse.

    3. the “solid hit piece” clearly states that she was ” asked to have the ability to export data from the dashboard temporarily disabled while health officials verify that the dates match other official sources.”. Maybe try reading more carefully before you get on your high horse.

    4. She does not have a criminal record, Bill, she has an arrest record. My damn grandmother has an arrest record. The point is that until you’ve been convicted in a court of law, a mere arrest wouldn’t qualify as a “record” if this author had any journalistic integrity. You’re not a criminal until you’ve been convicted of a crime, “innocent until proven guilty” ring a bell for you?

      Chuck and Chad, y’all are missing the forest for the trees here. I know what the article says, I read it, I’m arguing its veracity (that means truthfulness), and it’s viewpoint neutrality (that means it wasn’t written to fit a particular political agenda). It’s something adults generally expect from their news media. The author makes claims about what Ms. Jones was asked to do, and it doesn’t comport with what Ms. Jones is claiming. The article provides no proof, sources, or quotes from persons who would have firsthand knowledge as to what Ms. Jones was or was not asked to do. It merely parrots a PR statement issued by the Governor’s office, who is clearly, you know, doing PR. That’s the point. This isn’t investigative journalism. It’s a hit piece. I’ll stay right up here on my high horse, thank you, I wouldn’t dare get into the pile of manure you manage to wade in all day.

      1. Thank you for speaking the truth Adam.
        It’s a 100% character hit piece.

        It’s election year too, so everything is hyper politicized.

  66. FWIW, calling someone who loads data into an ArcGIS dashboard a system architect is similar to claiming you’re the architect of your Facebook page. It’s not completely false, but definitely misleading. Only govt would use a PhD for a role that’s performed by technicians or low level analysts in the private sector.

  67. Regarding claim 2. First, you do not need to have a PhD to be a scientist. She is what we geographers would call a Geographic Information Scientist. Period. On her CV it clearly states that she has extensive scientific research experience, including being published in peer-review journals (for those of you that don’t understand what that means, these are publications that are reviewed and approved by other experts in the field…). The journals she lists are respectable. There is a undisciplined in Geography called health or medical geography, such scientists look at health data that has a geospatial component. COVID does indeed have a very spatial component. You can look at the major scientists in academia publishing on COVID and they are largely health geographers. Ms. Jones’ research background shows that she has experience in disaster mapping applications and given her training and credentials on the CV would make her qualified for the job she was doing.

    1. An epidemiologist is also a “data scientist”. Their data specialty is the study of disease – including spatial distribution.

      Your statement, “An epidemiologist would not have a clue how to build such a dashboard” is evidence of your ignorance.

    2. She absolutely identified herself as a doctor in other articles, and she’s identified as such in this one which is why some (probably former colleagues from FSU) are taking issue with it.

      1. Good job staff!

        The Democrats just keep digging themselves in deeper.

        Democrats protected this man for years and even gave him a job at the Florida Department of Children and Families…

        Biden’s treasonist affiliations
        will soon come to light through a subpoena, yet he is the Democratic party nominee for president.

        When are they going to realize that humanity is what is needed for public service and not silly Democratic Party political partisan nonsense?

        Democrats should be rushing to change their political party affiliation.

        1. That’s some powerful kool-aid you got there. Did your Q buddies leave you crumbs to come up with that information? Pretty far reach there. Almost sounds like you took Out Hillary’s name and put Biden in for this so called subpoena? Same bias comment as if every democrat is the problem and every republican is a saint. You forgot to add the pope is an alien and the earth is flat oh yeah and dinosaurs didn’t exist.

    3. “An epidemiologist would not have a clue how to build such a dashboard.” I know plenty of epidemiologist (or similar statistics based specialist) with advanced coding skills (R, Python, Java, SAS etc.). They must have such skills to perform advanced data modelling, visualizations, and reporting; more advanced than required for a Geography grad student.

      Many could actually code their own dashboards (using Pyhton, Dash, R Shiny, etc.). Such dashboards could be much more advanced than what Rebekah has created. She basically augmented an ArchGIS Online template produced by Johns Hopkins, which is a somewhat limited platform. In the data science and GIS industry, this is not a particularly advanced feat. Time consuming and hard work, Yes. Advanced and complicated, No.

  68. Claim 2 is a bit disingenuous, geography is indeed a science. That being said, even a quick search shows no evidence she has a PhD. Given her limited time at FSU, and history of sexual misconduct, I doubt that institution would want to keep her around.

  69. Your debunking needs some debunking. Geography is a science. Jones has a BA and MS in geography and is pursuing a PhD. It’s accurate to call her a scientist. The coronavirus dashboard was obviously the effort of geographers. That’s what they do and she’s qualified to do it.

    1. Except that with tools like ArcGIS, all you do to generate a map is create a table with some geographic identifier (say, ZIP code) and some data value (say, number of cases). Then you feed to data to the GIS tool and it generates a map. There’s no “science” needed; it’s not even particularly advanced computer usage.

      Any “geographer” work was done by the vendor, and most likely it involved digitizing maps or translating government-provided databases into their own format.

      1. That’s more the case for ArcGIS online. Not really for other mapping applications or software. And just because she didn’t do anything particularly advanced in this instance, doesn’t mean she’s not trained in the science of doing so.

      2. Rob- As someone who has a background in GIS, data science and computer science, I think you are selling short what’s involved. ArcGIS is a tool and saying it’s easy to use it is like saying it’s easy to build a house if you go down to Home Depot and get some lumber. There’s quite a bit involved here, starting with data modeling (same as you need to do with a SQL database) and more generally understanding the problem domain. This is most definitely advanced computer usage.

        I also would say that the article by Tallahasseer Reports is selling Jones short in Claim #1 saying this is not a work of architecture. Nope, this is rather complex, much like building a house or in this case a new building. Sure you can look at similar works, like what Johns Hopkins did, but it still needs the hand of an architect, a GIS architect if you like, to get it right. Just like you bring in an building architect to build a new building and all that goes into doing that.

        GIS is a combination of Geography and Computer Science. Some term this a computational science. It’s certainly more complicated than either one, as you need to have a deep knowledge of both to do something new.

        1. I have background here too. Understanding how to load data into a GIS system and manipulate it confers no added expertise in epidemiology or public health. Yes, managing a GIS system can be complex (though in this case the platform is ArcGIS with a templatized dashboard so much of the heavy lifting was already done), but it’s like saying a database administrator has some insights into the authenticity of financial data provided to them for loads into a Business Intelligence system. It doesn’t diminish the skill of the DBA, it’s more that the domains of expertise overlap far less than you’re alluding.

          Hope that helps…

        2. Rick, as a data scientist you should know “architect” implies backend code development. Given that she is not an ESRI Developer, calling her an architect oh the app is a big stretch.

          I would also like to point out that she was not doing the data modeling either. She was curating the data coming from the epidemiology team.

          Basically (and you should get this if you are knowledgeable enough): she is Arcade, an architect would be Python/java.

    2. While true, geography is a science, so calling her a scientists is accurate. Where the other media failed is to disclose that she is not a scientist in a health related field and is a GIS level scientist.

      They had an opportunity to present all of the facts. The question is, why not? It can’t be due to space because the digital versions do not have such space limitations. Makes one wonder why?

      1. The first two sources listed for claim #2, NPR and The Guardian, both mention what her doctorate is in.
        NPR: “You know, she has a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in geography”
        The Guardian: “Jones, a data scientist with degrees in geography and journalism”

        1. Tell me how many semesters of statistics and calculus she has and I’ll tell you if she’s a “data scientist”. She may work with data, and may create dashboards, but I’ll bet she’s not statistically analyzing data to tease out correlations and causality from the “noise” inherent in any data set like this.

    3. Arguably, having a degree in a science field does not make one a scientist, in the same way having a degree in Education will not make someone a teacher.

    4. So anyone with an MS can can himself a scientist?

      I consider a scientist to be a person who spends his time doing science. Generally that means his primary occupation or vocation is a scientific endeavor. Receiving remuneration for one’s ‘scientific’ work significantly supports the idea one is a practicing scientist.

      Having a Ph.D is not a requirement but lends support to the claim of being a scientist.

      Being recognized as doing real scientific work by one’s peers is not a requirement but also supports the claim.

      Being a low-level ‘data manager’ with the Dept. of Health futzing around with data presentation on a website that has nothing to do with your undergrad or grad degrees does not scream out “Scientist doing science!” To me…

    5. I think in today’s world, calling someone a “scientist” working on something COVID-related implies that she’s on the same level as, say, a doctor or epidemiologist. It gives her an air of expertise in the disease. In fact, she’s not a scientist in any position to make judgements about health data. That data is fed to her by public health officials, thus she is in no position to make any judgements on the data itself. Maybe she can take issue with how it’s mapped, but the infection and death totals and causes of death are not things she is qualified to express opinions about.

  70. I’d also like to comment on “Claim 2”. I have not been able to find evidence that she ever graduated with a PhD from Florida State University. Her curriculum vitae states a “Dissertation working title” and previous articles mention that she has (only) completed course requirements, not that she has passed any milestone exams. Do you have source that she is indeed Rebekah Jones, PhD?

    1. If PhD stands for “Piled High & Deep,” then I believe she qualifies.
      This didn’t pass The Maven’s Smell Test yesterday, which is why I wrote what I wrote.

      1. I don’t know how your comment got pass the moderators.
        You must have gone to a different University if what you say PhD stands for is what Doctorate you ‘earned’ Lol.

    2. Do people actually have “exams” when studying for a PhD though? If the entire purpose of the PhD is to add to the worlds knowledge base, so you’re essentially studying something that nobody has done before.

      I’ve never encountered a “taught” PhD which would be subjected to examinations, they’re all research based. Sure, at the end the thesis is submitted to a board whom ultimately decide if you’re to be awarded the PhD though.

      1. Yes, but you have to defend a dissertation in front of a committee, to be deferred a PHD. Given this gal’s record, it’s not too much of a stretch to believe she may have lied on her resume…

        But what about the hiring manager?? Especially if those arrests pre-dated her hire. OOPS.

      2. Most Ph.D. programs include classes that are followed by a general field knowledge or breadth exam, followed by a research-oriented depth exam in a chosen area, followed by the writing and defense of a dissertation. So yes, most Ph.D. students have two milestone tests before they write and defend a dissertation. I did.

  71. I can appreciate the different point of view on the issue, but your narrative on “Claim 2” seems pretty off base to me. Geography, by definition is about as close as your can get to being a scientist. And while she may not have degrees in virology, epidemiology, or those suited to the biological side of the disease, geography is very much involved in the research. Knowing how and why the disease moves from place to place is exactly the kind of work geographers and GIS persons do.

    I also waiver on the idea she was fired for performance issues. I don’t believe she was asked to manipulate data, but rather censor it until reviewed.

    Overall, I appreciate your piece. Gives a better understanding of the situation than what is reported on by most outlets, just thought I’d weigh in on a few lines.

    1. That’s like claiming your PHD in Philosophy somehow makes you a credible authority on Brain Surgery. Please.

    2. She was definitely not the architect of the program although definitely a liar and it appears a felon.

    3. Geography is NOT a science! Science is information that was gathered using something called “the scientific method.” In real science, hypotheses about reality are tested by carefully constructed tests called “experiments.” Experimentation, data gathering, analyzing data and then using that information to either confirm or reject a hypothesis is the definition of “science.”

      How does any of that describe freaking geography? “I hypothesize that Florida is next to Iceland!” (Looks at map…) “Guess I was wrong about that…”

      1. A PhD in geography is not just making maps and naming countries, just like a PhD in biology is not just making body parts. Here are some examples of distractions A data scientist is called that because they are indeed scientists. I think trying to say she isn’ta scientist is silly, but specifying that her expertise is mapping and analyzing data rather than epidemiology is a good idea.

      2. That’s because ArcGIS spatial software requires computer science knowledge. ArcGIS is is the application of computer science in the field of geography.

        There are even many job positions with the title GIS Scientist, it definitely exists.

      3. Excuse me, I think you’re wrong. I hope this provides some clarity:

        Geography (from Greek: ?????????, geographia, literally “earth description”) is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets.
        Studies of human-land relationships, and the Earth sciences. Geography has been called “the world discipline” and “the bridge between the human and the physical sciences”.

        1. If she was on the PhD program in matural or social sciences the subject matter is more technical and more quantitative. Research which can be theoretical is often applied or quantitative with heavy stat techniques whether its sociology policies or gepgraphy

      4. Someone needs to go back to school cause geography is a science course. I know because I had to take it in order to reach my science credits for my associates degree. Such a shame even though we have the internet people still don’t fact check before they type away on their comments

    4. #2 undermines the credibility of the writer and shows an incompetence in gathering even the most basic of information. Every sector of the economy uses GIS, and most of those people use ArcGIS. The fact that she was using ArcGIS to create the dashboards does not mean she didn’t know what she was doing. The whole point that she isn’t the “architect” of the dashboards is asinine and should be removed, or maybe, according to this hack, thousands of GIS technicians, analysts, and database managers should find a new career because their jobs and expertise are fake.

      1. It actually doesn’t. It’s actually quite analogous to a DBA, responsible for a finance-related ETL process claiming some expertise on the finance data. Yes, they move it around and manipulate it, but they’ve no involvement in its sourcing or initial calculation.

        They are very separate things.

      2. “The whole point that she isn’t the “architect” of the dashboards is asinine and should be removed”

        I have developed many apps over the years and presented at ESRI conferences on the topic (ESRI is the company that developed the software Rebekah uses). Anyone using ArcGIS Online (AGOL) to develope an app. (Like Rebekah’s) would not be referred to as an “architect” in the industry.

        Why? The AGOL dashboard is a built in template. At most, she would have chosen where maps and charts were placed in the template, and maybe used some Arcade scripts for dynamic symbology and popups.

        To call her an architect would mean she had a hand in the back end coding and development of the app’s underlying platform; which she did not.

    5. As somebody who took Geology and Geography for the two required lab science classes at Valdosta State, Geography is a science. However, when you tell people that you are a scientist, that’s not what they commonly think of.

      Also, according to a Desantis interview i saw today, he stated that she refused to put up data given to her.

    6. Tyler:
      She was data entry personnel. She was not the team leader on this. Manipulate data? based on what information? Stop making excuses for bad behavior. It was clearly an attempt to do political damage. You need to admit that.

    7. No, how a disease moves through a population is one of the things (a main thing, actually) that epidemiologists study, not geographers. Geography doesn’t require deep knowledge of either biology or infectious diseases and that’s what’s necessary to understand spread in a population.

      1. All employees of any State of FL agency are supposed to inform their employer of any arrests. Even if they don’t any arrest is reason alone for being fired. You sign an ethics clause when you’re hired. So the dept could have just cited her arrests as a reason for firing but I understand why they wanted to explain away her false statements. Also, staff writer correction! She did not complete her PhD program, please do not refer to her as Dr.

    1. “Most of the charges filed against her came after she was hired by the the Department of Health, so they would not have turned up in any background check “ that was stated in the article.

      1. Still, you’d think being arrested and forcibly removed from her last job would raise some red flags….

        1. The article says that her extensive record was after hire and a paragraph later says it was post hire. Hmmmm….

          1. I know right? Someone forgot to proofread. Government jobs do a federal background check so anything from her LSU days would have come up quickly and they would have been well aware when they hired her. After hiring her, subsequent arrests immediately get flagged and addressed for any government employee.

          2. Arrested and charged do not equal convicted. I thought in this country an accused was innocent until proven guilty. Yet there was NO mention of conviction. Also, there is likely a lot more to this story than is being told from both sides. I give Dr. Jones the benefit of doubt. There seem to be a lot of inconsistencies on both sides AND in the writing of this article. Journalism has taken a deep dive for the worst. Fact checking just doesn’t happen for whatever reason – expediency, no resources, too hard. Yes, it has become very hard to fact check. All sides are not willing to cough up the truth and all of us can choke on the output.

      2. But like… getting arrested while being forcibly removed from your last job should probably raise some red flags.

        1. Even if all these events, getting arrested, gong to jail, getting Baker Acted, restraining order, etc. happened after she was hired, how can someone hide all of that from their employer? Lots of questions to be answered here. I am guessing this is just the tip of the iceberg for good “Dr” Jones.

    2. Good question. If she was arrested in 2016 and hired in 2018 ergo the arrest actions were pre-hire not post-hire.

    3. Her conviction à were after she was hired by the State of Florida. So the convictions would not have appeared on a background check. It’s stated in the article.

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