humor, politics

How to Visualize Veracity

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As John Adams noted long ago, facts are stubborn things.  So are misconceptions.  Tossing dull little facts against a seductively simple misconception is like tossing pebbles against a window.  To break the window, U must organize the pebbles into something like a chunk of concrete.

One way to organize facts is to create a clear and colorful visualization that sums up the take-away.  One kind of visualization is a bar chart where all the big bars have the same length but are divided into little bars of various lengths.  Perhaps a green little bar shows the percentage of my daily protein that comes from breakfast, while yellow and red little bars show the percentages that come from lunch and dinner.  Another big bar shows those 3 percentages for somebody else.  This kind of bar chart can be very helpful when there are more kinds of little bar than just breakfast/lunch/dinner, if the chart marker chooses colors well.

An excellent example of this kind of bar chart is in a Daily Kos post by Auriandra dated 2016-10-05.  The whole post is a good read; the chart is shown below, in a cropped screenshot.


Contrary to what many cartoonists and progressive purists (not to mention right-wingers) proclaim, Hillary Clinton is relatively truthful, among the pols considered.  (None of them deserve high marks by the standards of scientific research or testimony under oath.)  By far the least truthful is Donald Trump.

If voters eventually notice and heed the veracity difference between Clinton/Kaine and Trump/Pence, the loss will leave Trump angry at the fact checkers.  How can someone with his skillset (blustering; lying; swindling) get back at them?  He could try for yet another Pants-on-Fire rating, with a lie about the fermentation capabilities of his microbiome.

Revenge for Fact Checking
|Donald Trump could say
|his farts and his shit smell like
|warm cinnamon rolls.


7 thoughts on “How to Visualize Veracity

  1. Hey Mel, I’m beginning to think you don’t like Trump.

    I am astounded that everyone is so surprised and shocked as the latest hidden camera video is revealed. Why are we surprised people? How is this new? He has been saying the same thing, in effect, in public in the full light of day for months and months now. My theory is it’s just the shock of him using the “p-word”. So what? The sentiment is the same: misogyny, and demeaning of others. I think the time is way past for Republicans to have disowned Trump to have kept any of their respectability.

    I think it will be some time now before I can eat a cinnamon roll. Thanks Mel !!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Your theory about the p-word sounds plausible to me. It is strange that vileness from 2005 has more traction for shocking people than vileness from 2016. Maybe it’s a tipping point thing. Anyway, I am glad that some people finally woke up.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sad state of affairs when people choose to ignore facts, deflect, and demean each other. The most disturbing thing to me is the fact that there are so many seemingly sane and intelligent voters, who support all this hate for anyone different than themselves. This election season has made me take a much closer look at people I know! And I am disappointed in quite a few of them.
    As for me, I’m with her! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I found this a very interesting post. I’ve often felt that Hillary Clinton is held to a much higher standard than everybody else. The most amazing thing about her recently-released emails is just how little of interest there is in them. I’ll bet had a similar number of emails been stolen from just about any other politician, we’d be treated to all sorts of juicy scandal.

    As for Donald Trump, I can’t understand why around 40% of people seem prepared to entrust the safety of the entire planet to his hands. I wouldn’t trust him with a box of matches, let alone a nuclear stockpile. I was about to add that he’s incapable of telling the truth, but I see from your chart that he does manage it perhaps four percent of the time. I can only assume Politifact must have included his statements on the bus in their calculations.

    I loved your haiku, by the way. Sadly, not only could he say they were like cinnamon rolls, but 40% of people would believe him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comments. Glad U enjoyed the haiku.

      Yes, many people do hold Clinton to a higher standard. While I have strong objections to many of her actions and policy positions, I am flabbergasted that so many people who should know better do not see a dime’s worth of difference between neoliberals like Clinton and pseudoconservatives like Trump.

      Yes, the roughly 40% of voters who are Trumpniks would believe the cinnamon rolls claim. The issue of TIME for 2016-10-17 has an article on page 28 about how “political debate has become unhinged from reality” that includes some real examples just as bizarre as my snarky joke. The Trumpniks are frighteningly similar to those who voted for Hitler in 1932. One small encouraging sign is the fact that the TIME article departs from the usual MSM obsession with being even-handed and presenting both sides, no matter how loony and dangerous one side might be. While there is much goofiness on the contemporary Left, it is not remotely comparable to the insanity on the contemporary Right.


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