Changing the message without changing the data

Two formats, two messages. Time for a new example?

If you’ve seen me present in the last 3 years, you’ll probably have seen me show the Iraq Bloody Toll chart. Then you’ve seen me turn it upside down to create an entirely different message (full post here).

I still love showing this example to new audiences. I love seeing the light bulb go off as they realise that a data and a chart is just a method of communicating a message: facts are not neutral.

But it’s time to find a new example and for that I turn to you for help.

Have you got any other great examples of charts where the message can be transformed in as simple a way as this one? 

(Note: I’m only looking for examples that stay true to good practice. Truncating the y-axis doesn’t count!)

There are some older examples. Obama’s bikini chart was a cracker, described very well by Robert Kosara in 2012.

Do you know any others? If I can find enough, we could turn this into an entire blog post or webinar. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

Is Trump signing more executive orders than anyone else?

[UPDATE: I will be delving into my motivation for building this viz, and how I did it, in a #MyRecentViz webinar on Feb 7th]

Click to see an interactive version

As a left-leaning citizen, I watch in horror as Donald Trump dismantles Obama’s legacy. As a British person, the reports of Trump’s signing of a multitude of executive orders, actions, and presidential memoranda leave me in shock. How can a nation have a system where a president can pass laws without any checks or balances?

“Surely this level of activity is unprecedented,” I think.

Wary that drawing a conclusion based on media reports alone is risky, I sought the data to compare Trump to previous presidents. I got the data from the excellent American Presidency Project.

My data-driven, fact-based conclusion is disheartening: Trump is merely following the lead set by Obama 8 years ago. Barak Obama signed 9 executive orders in his first 10 days. He was the first president to get the pen out to dismantle the previous president’s legacy. Prior to Obama, George W signed two orders in the first ten days. Before him Clinton signed three.

8 years ago, I probably applauded those executive orders Obama signed. Little could I predict that he was setting a precedent that could be used by any future president.

For more on executive orders, Jurist has a good summary. About.com has a good summary of the difference between executive orders and actions.