Graphs - Framing the Data (and the President)

June 1, 2011
Posted by Jay Livingston

I assume that most people reading this blog have already seen Philip Cohen’s take-down of this graph that’s been spreading through the right-wing neighborhoods of the blogosphere.

(Click on the chart for a larger view.)

Check out Philip’s analysis at his Family Inequality blog (here).

It’s basically a “gee-whiz” graph. The examples I’ve mentioned earlier in this blog (here, for example) worked their effect by skimming the top of the y-axis. The food stamp graph also hacks off most of the x-axis. It’s not very sophisticated cheating, but it’s all for the noble conservative purpose of showing what Michelle Malkin calls Obama’s “mission of dependency.”

Philip provides the graph below to make visible what the right-wingers choose not to see. (I have added the yellow frame showing roughly the portion of the graph preferred and promulgated by Malkin, et. al.)

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