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Fox News Needs New Chart Maker

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By HVmedia on December 13, 2011

It’s mostly been bad news on the unemployment front for President Obama. He can’t get legislation enacted because Congress doesn’t want to spend more money, and the unemployment rate’s decline to 8.6 percent won’t exactly help him win the hearts, minds and votes of the jobless in 2012.

Be that as it may, the most recent unemployment numbers showed a remarkable drop of 0.4 percent in the month of November, which brought the unemployment rate to its lowest point in over two years. Granted, that drop was mostly due to people dropping out of the labor market, but still, it was at least a small, solid public relations win for the president.

Leave it to Fox News, however, to use a chart in its report showing no change from one month to the next. The November rate is lower than the March rate, but it’s shown to be level in this chart.

Here’s what the graph should look like, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Like most things with Fox News, the chart is yet another example of either outright lying or gross incompetence. Either one isn’t good when it comes to a highly rated journalism outlet. You almost have to prefer outright lying, because at least that’s easier to justify than incompetence.

While the non-change from October to November is the first thing that jumps out about this suspicious chart, it also makes the unemployment seem worse. Notice how the 9.2 June number on the chart is a line-and-a-half above where April’s 9.0 is; yet the March 8.8 figure on the chart is only about a line below the 9.0. That makes the June number seem arbitrarily higher, and hence worse, than it is.

Lies and incompetence should be the new fat and stupid. It’s no way to run a media outlet.

(via flowingdata via Media Matters)


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