Cuomo Brings on Discredited Florida Employee to Spread Anti-DeSantis Conspiracy Theory

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Apparently, when he’s not violating basic journalistic ethics by interviewing and goofing around with his brother, CNN’s Chris Cuomo thinks a productive use of his show is to bring on conspiracy theorists who pretend to be whistleblowers, as he did on Friday. That is, so long as they don’t blow the whistle on his brother Andrew.

Despite the fact that the media had portrayed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis a science-denying Trump sycophant who was going to get Floridians killed, Florida’s coronavirus numbers have done better than expected and far better than Andrew’s New York.

However, according to one recently fired employee, Rebekah Jones, that was because the state is lying about its numbers.

Jones’ story has been debunked, but that didn’t stop Cuomo from bringing her on anyway and repeating Jones’s false interpretation of her own importance: “Jones says she spearhead the launch of Florida’s COVID-19 data portal. She says she was fired after she was quote ‘asked to manipulate, delete and hide data, and refused to do so.'” No snarky CNN chyron with a parenthetical, “She didn’t” on that one.

Cuomo asked Jones, “Do me two favors, one let’s keep it out of the weeds because data stiff gets dense really fast and let’s name no names because I haven’t had chance to get responses from all the players. Alright, so to be fair. So the simple question is, what exactly were you asked to do that was so unusual and improper, and in your opinion wrong?”

Jones responded by alleging that the numbers were altered to justify the pre-determined desire to reopen. In reality, the actual scientists, the ones CNN is always telling us to listen to, wanted to make sure it was accurate.

Later, as the segment came to an end, Cuomo asked Jones, “Would you want to go back there?” Jones replied, “No, not unless there is a change in leadership. No.” Of course, her open cyberstalking and cyber sexual harassment cases might render that point moot. 

Cuomo concluded:

So you got to figure out what you do next. Rebekah Jones, I know a lot of this stuff is convoluted. I know this has been very hard for you to be in the spotlight. There are a lot of big accusations coming your way, so thank you for taking this opportunity to help us understand what this is about and what it means for the people of Florida. Thank you.

Here is a transcript for the May 22 show:

CNN

Cuomo Prime Time

9:47 PM ET

CHRIS CUOMO: Jones says she spearhead the launch of Florida’s COVID-19 data portal. She says she was fired after she was quote “asked to manipulate, delete and hide data, and refused to do so.” Jones provided CNN an email she sent to her former colleagues on May 15th reads in part “my office is no longer managing the COVID dashboard, I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency.” This, of course was dynamite for the situation. Rebekah Jones joins us now. Thanks for taking the opportunity. 

REBEKAH JONES: Thank you for having me. 

CUOMO: Do me two favors, one let’s keep it out of the weeds because data stiff gets dense really fast and let’s name no names because I haven’t had chance to get responses from all the players. Alright, so to be fair.

JONES: Understood. 

CUOMO: So the simple question is, what exactly were you asked to do that was so unusual and improper, and in your opinion wrong. 

JONES: Well, the first time I was asked to do something improper was in April. And when I was brought basically what the results of whether or not each county could open to superiors they essentially told me they did not like the results. The results — 

CUOMO: How so? What didn’t they like? Help us understand

JONES: The results didn’t match the report for reopening that had already been written, basically saying that a lot of rural counties because of a wide range of reasons didn’t meet the 
criteria that the state had outlined in order to qualify for reopening. Whereas some more populated counties did meet that criteria. And I was told that specifically – this is a quote – “we can’t tell Jackson and Franklin County they can’t reopen but Broward and Miami-Dade can.”

9:57

CUOMO: Would you want to go back there?

JONES: Which is helping people. No, not unless there is a change in leadership. No. 

CUOMO: So you got to figure out what you do next. Rebekah Jones, I know a lot of this stuff is convoluted. I know this has been very hard for you to be in the spotlight. There are a lot of big accusations coming your way, so thank you for taking this opportunity to help us understand what this is about and what it means for the people of Florida. Thank you.

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