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When Scatterplots Invade Cable News

- February 23, 2011

I was told by several friends and colleagues that my graph from “this post”:https://themonkeycage.org/2011/02/the_relationship_between_union.html was cited by Chris Hayes on Rachel Maddow’s show last night. Above is the clip (thanks to Ellen Lathrop for sending it to me).

It’s interesting to see how Hayes presents these quantitative data to a general audience. Pivoting off a quote from David Brooks, Hayes sounds like a social scientist, essentially saying “let’s test this.” It’s also interesting to see how he chooses to explain a scatterplot — especially given the evidence that “people don’t always understand scatterplots”:http://www.iq.harvard.edu/blog/sss/archives/2007/11/beyond_scatterp.shtml. He compares pairs of cases that don’t illustrate the basic hypothesis of Brooks, Scott Walker, et al. Obviously, such comparisons could be misleading, but given that there was no systematic relationship depicted that graph, these particular comparisons are not.

Of course, there is more to the story in my “second post”:https://themonkeycage.org/2011/02/more_on_unions_and_state_budge.html. I can only hope for a recurring scatterplot feature on cable news.