Rebekah Jones, the architect of Florida’s once praised COVID-19 dashboard, has been succeeded by Gov. DeSantis’s basement epidemiologist of choice.
Firing the data journalist on grounds of insubordination, DeSantis’s latest hire, Kyle Lamb, embodies the unproven science regularly espoused by former President Donald J. Trump, DeSantis and their orientation of pseudo-scientific pandemic deniers.
Lamb frequently spouts his beliefs on Twitter, levying sophisms in-common with most Republicans in Congress. From debunking lockdowns, touting hydroxychloroquine as a cure, and accusing the Chinese of “biowar,” the Ohio sports-blogger holds nothing sacred.
In Twitter DMs obtained by the Miami Herald, Lamb states he began studying the virus in January while working as an Uber driver.
One thing has led to another for Lamb:
“It’s my pleasure to announce publicly that this morning I officially accepted an offer to go work for Gov. Ron DeSantis in the Florida state capitol,” Lamb tweeted on Nov. 6. “I will be doing data analysis on several fronts for them including but not limited to Covid-19 research and other projects.”
DeSantis has been met by inflamed Florida House Democrats disturbed by the snake oil for sale under DeSantis’s newest state-level data analyst.
“Given that Lamb is an unqualified conspiracy theorist, his role as a member of your COVID-19 response staff is inexplicable and grossly irresponsible,” the letter, signed by 10 of 13 House Democrats including former Florida DNC chair Wasserman Schultz, D-FL., states. “We call on you to immediately remove Lamb from this critical role.”
The Tampa Bay Times reports fellow sports-bloggers on their pay-wall site were “floored” when hearing of Lamb’s new day job in the Sunshine State. His theories, presumably valued by the ranks of Florida legislation, are described by his colleagues as “laughable,” and “unhinged.”
“The firing of Jones, a qualified expert aiming to protect the well-being of Floridians, and the hiring of Kyle Lamb, an unqualified conspiracy theorist, leaves us with no choice,” the letter states, “but to question your hiring practices and conclude that you are putting the health and safety of Floridians at risk.”
Marshaling politics over policy, Florida’s Republicans once again forget their spines in the backrooms of pollsters, borrowing the smoke and the mirrors from Trump’s pedagogy for conspirators and conmen.
DeSantis effectively invalidates his state party in a political motion so fatal, incorporating bad faith and viral conspiracy into the state’s very legislation, that it openly betrays the general principles of credibility and decency.
In response to the letter, Lamb’s attorney, Scott Essad, called the Democrats “a bunch of goofs.”
In an email, Essad stated it was “sad” that politicians doing well for themselves financially would remove a “low-level, entry position guy” from his employment for saying “the same sorts of things on Twitter that a substantial portion of the country has also said in the past eight months.”
This new low for local politics is in fashion with the election of QAnon promoter Majorie Taylor Greene, R-GA., along with other newly-elects having received Trump’s endorsement, and in turn the zeal of the cult.
Lauren Boebert, R-CO., fellow “Q” promoter, also found a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives following Trump’s plaudit.
Trump’s norm-shattering endorsements have implicitly legitimized a new generation of misinformation czars and right-wing vigilantes, who although deriding at it, depend deeply on “the media” for their sensation.
Republicans in Congress are consistent in one way, and it is in a loud and emphatic appeal to ignorance, evidently unchallenged in sheer size.
In and of itself a bonafide rite of the GOP, distrust in the media becomes the entire nation’s prevailing irrationality. America picked up from thick-skinned demagogues the brazen ignorance to abandon the burden of proof, nerfing statewide pandemic response at large.
Lamb’s appointment is a part of DeSantis’s (and his friends’) broader rebellion against public health communication.
Hand picked from the obscurity of the blogosphere, Lamb is only the tail-end of DeSantis’s questionable—“expert”— appointments and response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Jayanta Bhattacharya, a Stanford medical professor and addition to the governor’s Re-open Florida Task Force, was previously under investigation by his institution for slanting the fatality rate of COVID-19 research in political pursuits.
Democratic city leaders across the state of Florida have recently urged the governor for more leadership, criticizing him for his hands-off approach to the pandemic.
“The herd immunity that is being advanced by some of the advisors of the governor really isn’t working,” City of Miami Beach mayor Dan Gelber said in a video conference with four other Florida mayors. “It’s not protecting the vulnerable, in my small community we’ve had 13 seniors die in a nursing home.”
Choosing to bypass reporter questions and pleas from city leaders in favor of video messaging through the state’s emergency alert system throughout the end of 2020, DeSantis’s post-presidential election disappearing act has left Florida without a clue in dealing with the statewide surge which has earned us a embarrassingly high spot on a domestic travel restriction list.
DeSantis had been holed up for over months somewhere before taking questions from the press in January. In that time he made only one appearance on The Weather Channel to respond to tropical storm Eta.
True—it may be difficult to tell where exactly DeSantis’s mismanagement of COVID-19 begins and where it ends (from dysfunctional shutdown strategies to reckless vaccination rollouts), the points at which he ceases to manage the affairs of the state altogether are glaringly obvious.