Thursday, December 02, 2010

Charts: Worth a thousand words of dissembling

I have my nomination for misleading chart of the month. It was in the article "Staying Power: The U.S. Mission in Afghanistan Beyond 2011" by Michael O'Hanlon in the September/October issue of the Foreign Affairs Journal. (Vol. 89 No. 5) on page 74.

The gist of the article was that the NATO mission in Afghanistan would require elevated troop levels far beyond Obama's proposed draw down date. And the chart seems to support it:

See anything wrong with that chart? Something like, oh, the first half of the chart covers four years, but the second half covers only one year? That really supports the thesis of gradual progress, doesn't it? What if I adjusted the scale so the slope of the lines was accurate?


I really expect better of them. I know it's not an academic journal, but this is something I'd expect of USA Today.


Blogger Noumenon said...

They totally got me with that one, even when I was looking for it. Great catch. I submitted it to Junk Charts.

7:50 AM  

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