Wednesday, February 5, 2014

More visual lies (or 'errors') paid for with taxpayers' money

The Spanish public broadcasting company, RTVE, is a constant source of examples of how to distort data —mostly to fit the needs of ruling parties, as I explained in a previous post. The latest one is the chart above, which displays how the predicted vote for PP (center-right party) and PSOE (center-left) has changed in the past few years. Guess which party rules Spain nowadays.

Side note: One point I'm going to make in my upcoming keynote at Tapestry is related to cases like this. I believe that visualization and infographics designers shouldn't just make fun of visual lies and blatant errors, or publish them in WTFviz. Satire is good and fun, but it's not enough. We have the responsibility to denounce them and perhaps even explain why they are wrong, something that might be a bit too obvious here.

UPDATE: Sergio Martín, who runs the program in which the graph was shown, has apologized for the "error" on Twitter. Good for him, but not good enough. On-camera retraction —in front of the same audience misled by the graphic— would be much, much better if he wants to remain credible.

UPDATE 2: After some backlash in social media, it seems that Sergio Martín has just mentioned the graphic and promised to show a new version tomorrow.

h/t Josu Mezo, Gregorio Fernández, and Guerra Eterna