Posted by Jay Livingston
Kaiser Fung posted this graph on JunkCharts The question is: after Florida passed a Stand Your Ground Law in 2005, did gun deaths increase or decrease?
The Reuters designer who created the graph was not intending to deceive (she tweeted her rationale here), and maybe she wanted to show that more red blood was spilled. But, regardless of intent the inverted Y-axis requires extra effort on the part of the viewer, and even after we have figured out what’s going on and we know cognitively that gun deaths increase, that picture of the descending line may still have some effect. Our brains figure out one thing, but our eyes tell us the opposite.
UPDATE, May 3: The alleged Fox graph below was a hoax. No doubt my own views of Fox news made me fall for it. But having no archive of Fox broadcasts, I could not very well fact check it. In addition, the graph was convincingly done; the hoaxter is identified by WaPo as master Twitter provocateur @darth. More importantly, Fox's history of misleading graphs (as compiled here) made this one easy to believe. The moral of the story is twofold: check your source; check the axis.
(HT: Laura Kramer)
UPDATE: For a compendium of misleading Fox graphics go here. Media Matters watches Fox so that you don't have to. Then they extract the funny stuff, like these graphs.