I’m better at graphs than FOX News

Via Washington Monthly, FOX News recently published a chart showing how terrible of a job Obama’s done recently of improving the unemployment crisis.

Interesting graphing there, FOX. Very 80s feel with your choice of colors, fonts and such. I took the numbers on that chart and built my own. Took me about thirty seconds in LibreOffice Calc. I spent most of the time playing with the colors and fonts, setting the axes and making sure I used the same graph style as FOX did, or as close as I could get without making the fonts absurdly large for visibility on the 14″ CRT TVs that their viewership uses primarily. I think ultimately, mine’s much nicer.

Plus it has the advantage of not having wildly misrepresented any of the data. If, you know, accuracy is your thing. Which I understand is not really FOX’s particular bailiwick, since their goal is to disinform and misinform their viewers in every way they can, so as to benefit their Republican masters. Reality has a well-known liberal bias, after all.

I’m better at graphs than FOX News

14 thoughts on “I’m better at graphs than FOX News

  1. 5

    Greg: yes, I’m saying there are two data points that are obviously dragged around to make the overall trend seem flatter than it is. The second point, February, is also lower than it should be compared to the rest.

    The funny thing is, that 0.4% that they totally wiped out by FOX dragging the last data point up, represents 594,000 jobs. This is no big deal to FOX though. They also did a graph claiming the US lost 15 million jobs in Q4 2010.

    As for the FCC stepping in, the US Supreme Court says they’re allowed to lie on-air.

  2. 6

    i see no error bars on the plot. also the vertical axis is zoomed in which artificially enhances the apparent variation.

    can’t draw any useful conclusions from that crappy graph.

  3. 7

    It’s from census data, they don’t generally include error bars on those graphs. Though I admit there could be miscounting involved.

    What’s REALLY interesting is, November 2010’s unemployment rate was 9.8%. If you look at November to November, the rate dropped 1.2%, which is huge.

  4. 8

    Huge, but still not necessarily meaningful. U.S. unemployment rates don’t count people who aren’t actively looking for jobs. That means that anyone who’s given up isn’t counted. Interestingly, OWS is large enough to be having an effect on our unemployment rates if people consider that more effective than job hunting.

  5. 10

    @ #4 RyanG,

    My presumption would be that these data points are from seasonally adjusted values. That’s pretty much the standard way they are reported. Otherwise, they’d be mostly useless.

    Not that I would be surprised to see Fox use the raw figures if that made the graph a better bit of propaganda.

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