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Bad Chart Thursday: CNN Pot Pie

We are living in the age of the infographic, and no chart is safe, least of all the ordinary pie chart. Making the chart visually appealing comes first, and clarity comes second . . . if at all.

If you’ve got information to display in a pie chart, you can make the chart into any image you like–a doughnut, a planet, a basketball, a festering boil.

You can even put your weed in it.

CNN recently did just that in a chart they tweeted as part of the publicity for a series about the legal pot industry, High Profits.

CNN weed chart

Now, sure the percentages don’t add up to 100, and it takes a while (and perhaps a search for the data source) to realize that the percentages are out of 100% surveyed within each age group,* making the pie chart a terrible format to begin with, but LOOK, it’s a pot leaf for a chart about WEED!

Following CNN’s lead, I decided to create my own highly reliable chart depicting how exactly the CNN chart ever made it to the public:

CNN emp tried weed

* Gallup did not survey anyone under 18.
H/T to Nicole Gugliucci and Frank Bi for not bogarting this chart.

Melanie Mallon

Melanie Mallon

Melanie is a freelance editor and writer who just moved to a small town outside Minneapolis with her husband and two young kids. When not counting how often the words "pride," "liberty," and "freedom" are used in local business, road, and pet names, she spends her time wrangling commas, making colon jokes, and raising her two kids to be critical thinkers. She is the managing editor of Skepchick Events, a Grounded Parents admin, and a Skepchick contributor. You can find her on Twitter as @MelMall, on Facebook, and on Google+

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5 Comments

  1. June 4, 2015 at 6:39 pm —

    Should be a bar chart. We at the Bad Chart Thursday Appreciation Society have previously determined that bar charts are the appropriate representation for anything involving alcohol, and weed is in the same general category (recreational psychoactive substances), so bar charts are copacetic. Bongs might look good for the bars, but with the traditional tie-dyed color scheme, it is hard to tell how full of water they are, and that doesn’t make sense anyway. Fill it above the bowl, and the water all leaks out and soaks your hit. So I propose joints, though that doesn’t make much sense either. The groups without many pot heads would be represented by itty bitty roaches, and the heavy users would be represented by full J’s, when it should be the other way around. This requires some thought…. Oh, hey, look, that’s a really cool cloud!

    • June 5, 2015 at 3:01 pm —

      Leaks and all, the bong bar chart is my favorite idea ever.

    • June 6, 2015 at 3:43 am —

      Special brownie bars?

    • June 6, 2015 at 8:43 pm —

      Such enthusiasm! Is that why you are called Buzz?

      Also, copacetic is my new favorite word.

      • June 7, 2015 at 1:46 pm —

        A joke which stuck, based on a rant about parsecs versus lightyears on Bad Astronomy many years ago. I claimed (without evidence) to be Buzz Lightyear’s evil twin (hence the beard). No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate.

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