The Miami Herald is just like most big-city newspapers in states with Republican governors and/or GOP-controlled state legislatures. They're a smug, liberally biased news organization and their first order of business is to paint said Republicans in the worst possible light – no matter how weak or non-existent the supposed “evidence” against them is.
Just like national media outlets such as CNN and MSNBC, the Herald has worked overtime to try and knock Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis off his game, and when he has the nerve to fight back by turning their arguments to his advantage, it only makes them hungrier to find something – anything – with which to hang around his neck like an albatross.
Along with that hunger has come frenzied desperation, and an embrace of questionable sources they may not have if some of their earlier hit pieces had panned out. But they haven't. One shining example was in how the Herald's “Ron DeSantis prioritized seniors over all others on vaccine distribution” attack (maybe the dumbest on him yet) backfired, which was compounded when 60 Minutes got involved with their own “investigation,” which was completely undercut by a number of factors, including key Florida Democrats.
As to the questionable anti-DeSantis sources the Herald has embraced in their quest to get him? Among the worst is none other than national media darling and fully discredited (and fired) Florida data tech Rebekah Jones, who is so bad at what she does that last week she undermined a central argument to her “case” against DeSantis about how his administration allegedly demanded she manipulate Florida's COVID dashboard last year.
My colleague Brad Slager noted last week how the Herald presented Jones as a credible source in a deceptive hit piece on the Florida Dept. of Health's accreditation status despite “how thoroughly discredited she has become over the past year.”
But the Herald didn't stop there. Six days later, the editorial board penned a laughable piece in which they celebrated the fact that the state's Inspector General had granted Jones official whistleblower status. I'm going to dissect some of it below:
1) “The DeSantis administration has worked long and hard to discredit Rebekah Jones, fired last year from her job as a data analyst after she accused state health officials of pressuring her to manipulate certain coronavirus numbers.”
How dare he defend himself from allegations of wrongdoing! And to be clear, Jones has done her fair share of discrediting herself.
2) “She has stood her ground for a year, and last week, the Florida's Office of the Inspector General firmed up the earth beneath her feet.”
This is where the Herald makes the IG's decision out to be more than what it was. As conservative writer Charles C.W. Cooke pointed out in response to the news, to be granted whistleblower status is pretty easy in Florida. It's “a status available to anyone who (a) has worked for a Florida state agency, and (b) wishes to advance allegations of wrongdoing that, if proven, would be criminal.”
Also, she has not “stood her ground.” The woman accidentally admitted a few days ago that she lied about being asked to delete COVID deaths from the dashboard, for crying out loud!
3) “In a world that likes a clear, bright line between the heroines and the villains, Jones, like her nemesis DeSantis, is not perfect. In January, she was arrested and charged with allegedly hacking into a state messaging system and encouraging people to ‘speak up.' Trumped-up charge? Who knows? She also has a cyberstalking charge in her past, but no convictions.”
LOL. I should note that there is more evidence that suggests Jones is indeed a cyberstalker, did indeed hack into the messaging system and is indeed lying about DeSantis than there is that DeSantis prioritized “rich senior Republicans” and ignored poorer communities when it came to vaccine distributions.
4) Then there was this claim: “So far, DOH emails reviewed by the Miami Herald show Jones was asked to remove data from public view after receiving questions about it from the news organization.”
Just like Jones, the Herald is deceiving readers. This is the story behind the “removed data”:
The Tampa Bay Times said as much about the data being temporarily removed and put back in place within a day's time last May.
5) Lastly, there was this: “Jones will need to vigorously back up her allegations and the state, its defense.”
Ms. Jones has been blasting off about what she alleges happened every chance she gets, whether it's during media interviews, on social media, wherever. She's had a full YEAR to “vigorously” make her case to the public. Instead, her credibility has been shot to hell – in many instances by her own hand. Simply put, if there was any “there” there, we'd know about it by now.
So what the Herald is really saying here is that they're hoping and praying Jones can at some point finally make the case she's tried and failed to for the last year because all of their attacks have fallen flat.
There are two big reasons for this:
1) The Herald knows they're running out of time to “get” DeSantis. The 2022 gubernatorial race will kick into high gear soon, and there's also the strong possibility that DeSantis throws his hat in the ring for president. The longer it takes to find mud that sticks (if any) the more well-oiled the path will be to DeSantis' reelection and possible GOP nomination for president on down the line.
2) The Herald wants to be vindicated for the 1000s of hours they've spent digging into the DeSantis administration and finding next to nothing to use against him.
It says a lot – and none of it good – that the Herald is hanging their hopes of finally nailing DeSantis to the wall on a fraud like Rebekah Jones. Then again this was the same paper that viewed vulnerable seniors getting the vaccine before everyone else as evidence of DeSantis' supposed devious nature, so I guess we shouldn't be too surprised.