Graphs can be manipulated…..

Graphs can be manipulated….

   In my early work career, I worked for several advertising agencies. One of my clients was a mutual fund company. Mutual funds were fairly new, they relied on printed prospectus reports, and annual shareholder handouts. There was no internet at that time, (yep, I’m old). So we tried to put out flashy reports that could show information in the most positive way. Graphs and charts were a big part of the presentation. Who reads the fine print?
So it was my job to produce these reports, as far as the graphics portion.
The higher ups would constantly impress on me, that we needed to show growth. If there were bad months, wasn’t there a way we could minimize the  the appearance of a loss. Don’t fudge the numbers, just either expand the scale or shorten the bar graph height to make loses seem minimal, and in the grand scheme of things, seem to be insignificant.
And you could do that. Either shorten the space between reference points when applicable, or lengthen them when it made a better presentation. So I did.
I did not feel at the time that it was wrong, it was just the way to enhance performance tracks of the funds, and downplay the weak figures. I was pretty good at it.
So, I can say from experience, graphs and charts can be made to show almost anything.
When I watched the backflips that Dr Birx attempted today at her news conference, I felt two things. Was she a willing participant, engaged in the practice of deceiving, or was she coerced to shine the best light possible on the state of this countries crisis? Knowing the track record of this administration, I have my opinion.
But you can decide. The one thing I can tell you is this. Around 6 o’clock, everyday, I get information straight from someone in the field. I can tell you, numbers are being conflated. Different test results are being lumped together, to make the graphs and charts look “better”. The Covid-19 positive test results are being lumped together with the antigen test results and the antibody test results. They are very different. The  number of deaths are being segregated from state medical examiners, morticians, and health departments. Nursing homes fall into a separate category, VA Hospitals have another method for reporting cases and deaths. All the numbers are being manipulated, like the simple graphs I used to do.
Just to be clear. There are more deaths, more positive cases of infections of Covid-19 than the government numbers show.
I’d still wear a mask, I’d still social distance, but, if you want to gather with hundreds of people over this Memorial Day Weekend at the beach or campground, or hang out with your buds without protections, some of you are going to get sick, and some of us will die. Have a great holiday! Our President seems to think you deserve it.
Flying the flag at half-mast…..is rich. (Think John McCain)