The Miami Herald just can’t quit Rebekah Jones, even if it means whitewashing alleged threats to shoot up a school.
On Wednesday, Jones turned her 13-year-old son into the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office. He was wanted for intimidation, a second degree felony, because of threats he allegedly made to carry out a mass shooting at his own school in Florida.
Classmates of Jones’s son had said that he had repeatedly alluded to such a desire, including in messages that read:
“I want to shoot up the school.”
“If I get a gun I’m gonna shoot up hnms lol.”
“I’m getting a wrath and natural selection shirt so maybe, but I don’t think many ppl know what the columbine shooters look like.”
“Okay, so it’s been like 3–4 weeks since I got on my new antidepressants, and they aren’t working, but they’re supposed to by now, so I have no hope in getting better so why not kill the losers at school.”
In one instance, according to the Pensacola News Journal, he even delineated specific plans to shoot up the school prior to spring break.
After his arrest, Jones took to Twitter to claim that she and her family were the victims of political persecution.
“My family is not safe. My son has been taken on the gov’s orders, and I’ve had to send my husband and daughter out of state for their safety. THIS is the reality of living in DeSantis’ Florida,” wrote Jones, before going on to claim that the basis of his arrest was “a popular internet meme” captioned “Cops in their car waiting for the school shooter to kill himself, so they can go in.”
“They kidnapped my son,” she continued. “This state has already gotten away with pointing guns at my son during their raid. I will not let them hurt him again.”
But far from a kidnapping, video evidence proves that Jones herself delivered her son to authorities
And sat in a waiting room chair as he was handcuffed
In subsequent tweets, Jones has alternated between claiming that she “didn’t turn him in,” attributing the allegation to “Twitter trolls,” and repeatedly asserting that she “had to turn him in” because “the state put out a warrant.”
Still, the Miami Herald ran with Jones’s story. “13-year-old son of Rebekah Jones, whistleblower who clashed with DeSantis, arrested over memes,” blared the sensationalist headline from, irony of all ironies, two members of its investigative team.
The headline was eventually changed to note her son was arrested not for memes, but over a probe into “threatening internet posts.”
But not before the original headline traveled far and wide. One tweet linking to the story from the Herald’s official account was seen by 3.2 million. Another from Julie Brown, yet another investigative journalist, has reached over 700,000.
“Looks like the DeSantis bots are out in full furor today. Unbelievable,” remarked Brown after users questioned the accuracy of the story framing.
Of course, the Herald’s credulous treatment of Jones’s uncredible claims — and ludicrous framing of Jones being locked in a cosmic battle on behalf of good against Governor Ron DeSantis’s evil — is absurd. But it’s nothing new.
Jones was fired from her position in the Florida Department of Health in 2020 — where she worked on data presentation, not medical determinations or mathematical calculations — for insubordination, intentionally crashing the state’s Covid dashboard, and eventually alleging in a mass email that she was being punished for refusing to understate the Covid case and death counts on that dashboard.
After being fired, she brought that claim to the press, accusing DeSantis himself of seeking vengeance on her. Much of the media, eager to turn the governor into a villain of the plague years, rushed to champion her despite the lack of evidence she had to support her claims and being caught in lie after lie.
Her claim to having been asked to alter Covid data was debunked by National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke. Her allegation that police had aimed weapons at her family during a dramatic raid was disproven by police body-cam footage. And last December, Jones admitted to the initial wrongdoing that led to her ouster, agreeing to pay a $20,000 fine and attend therapy in order to delay prosecution against her.
But the outlets that celebrated Jones and her tall tales, including MSNBC, CNN, the Washington Post, and yes, the Herald, never admitted to their error.
“Employment lawyers say the state’s approach to Jones was excessive, and aggressive, for a reason. Someone wanted to send a message to any current or former state worker who might also have plans to speak out,” tweeted the Herald in 2020.
“Rebekah Jones whistleblower win against Florida’s DeSantis administration could be a win for all of us,” argued the Herald in a 2021 editorial.
Later, it issued a “SPECIAL REPORT” about “What Rebekah Jones saw behind the scenes at the Florida Department of Health.”
Is there any wonder why, as her latest lie collapsed around her, she directed followers to the Herald?
“Fool me once, fool me twice,” just doesn’t quite do it justice.