Like many others who have been dragged onto facebook by a variety of people, I find myself bombarded by a variety of political posts from my friends still on the lefty side of things. Lo and behold, this post from “The Centrist Word” was popular:
When you think you have seen everything, that is when you find yourself shaking your head in disbelief. Since the general election campaign has kicked off, I have been following politics really closely to see what dirty tricks emerge. Well, I have found one – and in the age of social media, its a big one.
Yesterday I noticed a chart on a right-wing site that had an article that had been posted to Digg. In the post there was a chart. The chart was supposed to show deficit information about the last 6 presidents. I though to myself ‘wow that doesn’t look good for Obama’ but then I noticed something rather odd. The numbers did not match the chart. When I plugged the same numbers into excel, the chart looked completely different.
This piqued my interest. Was this just a one-off, or were there more to be found. It took me all of 15 minutes to find another one. However, this one used a different technique. This chart claimed to use data from the CBO. When I looked the information up on the CBO web site, the data for Obama was off by 25% for 2009 and 45% for 2010.
Mmmhmmm. Heads nod knowingly.
Wait a sec.
The only link in the entire post is to an Obama campaign site — the Truth Team. Funny how a right-wing site has no issue with linking to all sorts of sites, but one labeling itself as “centrist” can’t link to right-wing sites or demonstrate what they’re criticizing.
I see they have a handy list of numerical “untruths” I will get around to unpacking in later posts.
Anyway, as the only link was to the Truth Team, I decided to go there and see which graphs people had in mind. Hmmm, I see some graphs they did themselves, and I think I will make some new graphs, too, using the same data sources.
But come on guys, this is more annoying than vaguebooking. At least gossip blind items are dishing on something juicy. “Somebody’s graphs are sexed up” aren’t enough to go on without you pointing me to the graphs in question.
Here’s my offer: I’ll be a mini-truth team. I loathe misleading graphs, even when they supposedly support my preferred policy positions.
Suspicious of a graph? Post the link. I’ll check it out.
To be sure, all I’ll be checking is whether the graph is being distortionary of official numbers-sources. There are questions of how reliable certain numbers are.
I will NOT be checking out projections, by the way. I’m talking about checking out numbers of things that have already occurred.
So send along those suspicious graphs, whether left or right. If not, I’ll be checking out the items listed in the post I linked, as well as a few items I found on the Truth Team site.