With what will surely be known as one of the most baffling, awful years in recent history finally coming to a merciful end, I figured I’d wrap things up with a (very) short list of the 2016’s biggest cowards, at least according to me, and presented in no particular order:
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#10 – “There Was An Emergency Preparedness Drill/Exercise Nearby”

Mentioned at least three times in “Nobody Died At Sandy Hook”, FEMA’s “Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters” is alternately mischaracterized as a “drill” or an “exercise”. In reality, “Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters” is a six hour independent study course, based on material taken from this document by Save The Children. While FEMA offers the course online, some state organizations also teach it in a classroom environment, which means that it ends up looking a bit more like this:

Than this:

If you’ve got a sharp eye, you may be able to spot a couple of differences!

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Disgraced former professor James Tracy spends much of this chapter harping on the kinds of errors and inconsistencies frequently found in breaking or early news reports; an age-old problem that has been greatly exacerbated by the 24 hour news cycle. These issues are so commonplace that entire books have been written on the subject, including Howard Rosenberg’s “No Time To Think” and Craig Silverman’s “Regret the Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech”. If they’re somehow a shock to Tracy, that puts him firmly in the minority.

So rather than spend my time pointing out the glaringly obvious – that misinformation thrives in chaos – I’m going to try and limit my fact checking to claims that are not based solely off of those early, flawed reports. There will be exceptions when I believe they are necessary, or the claims are particularly egregious.

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