We noted earlier this week that Fox News aired a chart on unemployment data that fails the basic standards of graphic communication. Fox must have invested significant resources into the creation of the chart (indeed, it is a piece of work), because rather than let this outstanding display of incompetence pass quietly away, Fox aired the chart again on America's Newsroom yesterday (albeit with a revised title) and again today, on Fox & Friends:
That straight red line is lying to you. Fox distorted the scale of the horizontal and vertical axes and included only four data points, omitting any information from the 15-month period between March 2009 and June 2010. All that work just to falsely inform viewers that the unemployment trend has still not changed since the beginning of the recession.
As we noted, if you use an accurate scale and recreate Fox's chart with those same random data points, you get this:
And if you actually want to provide an accurate picture of how the unemployment level trend has changed since March 2009, you make a chart with 30 months of data over two-and-a-half years, rather than Fox's four, and you get this:
Fox & Friends' co-host Brian Kilmeade aired the chart this morning after asserting that the stimulus “doesn't seem to be helping.” (Fortunately, there are economists out there whose methods of assessing the stimulus go beyond asking whether it “seems” to be helping. Unfortunately, Kilmeade doesn't know any of them)
Kilmeade said that since the stimulus “came out,” the “unemployment numbers have gone up.” He added, “Lets take a look at these figures ... I mean this has gone steadily up since it's been released.”