Sure, I like making up measurements, facts and figures as much as the next guy. But when the numbers aren’t real, we award The Boner of the Week! to the most outrageous news I read during the last seven days.
So, I’m researching content last week and stumble across this attention-grabbing headline: Gallup State Numbers Predict Huge Obama Loss.
I’m a political junkie, so I bite on the link.
And it’s our Boner of the Week.
Know why? This chart doesn’t state that the President will lose. This states that the editorial writer (and the board that allowed this garbage to pass as news) is apparently hoping President Obama will lose.
As both of my readers already know, this isn’t a political post and this certainly isn’t a political blog. I’d love to get my hands on a similar graph from the other side (I’m sure they exist). My goal isn’t politics at all. It’s just to teach an important lesson:
It’s important to know that professional people use charts and graphs ….err… creatively…. to lure away your money, your votes, or your trust. We can “prove” lots of points with a misleading chart.
What Does This Graph Really Prove?
- The President’s approval rating ain’t high. (alert the press)
- If the election were against his approval rating instead of against an actual opponent, he’d get his ass kicked.
Not quite the hard-hitting news originally implied by Senior Editorial Writer, Conn Carroll (Conn’s name might have been more apropos if it had just been Con).
Let’s Show You a Magic Trick
I’ve asked PK from DQYDJ.net, a charts and graphs wizard and fellow political junkie (AND you WILL get political discussion galore on his awesome site), to build us some clever graphs.
The chart below shows CBO data on unemployment numbers (a hot topic right now and relates to overall financial health of the United States economy). This graph projects unemployment for the next several months.
PK, how about a magic graph from DQYDJ:
Any guesses why this graph is misleading? Use the “comment” section below to fill in your answer.
((PK has included at least FOUR techniques to mislead you here. We’ll show them all in tomorrow’s thrilling conclusion!))