Thursday, October 1, 2015

If you see bullshit, say “bullshit!"

If you're on Twitter, you've probably have seen the discussion around the horrible chart below, by American United for Life. It was justly criticized by and other media organizations. The chart is being used by politicians willing to defund Planned Parenthood.

You can read more about my opinions in this post by Politifact, which gave this chart a deserved “pants on fire” score. It's even beyond that, I think:

This chart is so evil that it's difficult to decide which lie should be highlighted first. Let's begin with the dual axis, which absurdly distorts the data. The chart should have looked like this (by

Not only that. As Alex Furnas has pointed out, population increased by 6.4% between 2006 and 2013. If you take that into account, the increase in abortions may look even less impressive.

Finally, Emily Schuch looked into the source of the data and designed a chart showing all services Planned Parenthood provides. Here's her chart:

Emily also suggested that a portion of the variation of these numbers may be due to the Affordable Care Act.

Now, read the “explanation” by AUL, and feel your blood boil. It's the most disingenuous defense of graphic malpractice I've ever read, and it clearly shows that these folks are shameless spin doctors, or ignorant to the extreme. Or both. And, by the way, this is regardless of your ideological position on this whole debate. A lie is a lie.

As I say in my upcoming The Truthful Art —albeit with more presentable words—: If you see bullshit, say “bullshit!” As the old saying goes, we should all strive to tell the truth and shame the devil to create a clearer and cleaner world.