I volunteered to do Bad Chart Thursday today. I found this fantastic bad chart showing the results of the presidential elections from last Sunday in Venezuela. I had it all planned out in my head. I was going to show you the video that aired a few weeks ago on Venezuelan public TV of Hugo Chavez arriving in heaven and being greeted by Che Guevara and other historic figures from the Latin American left. I was going to talk about how Nicolás Maduro, the presidential candidate who is Chavez’s political heir (and his self-proclaimed son), said The Commander [Chavez] blessed him through a little birdie. I was going to comment on how Maduro put a curse on those voting for his rival, and I was probably going to make a snarky comment about his sartorial choices and his tiny constitution (featured image). I was going to call it ¡Viva la Distortion! and show you the chart Venezolana de Televisión, the main public TV station, decided to go with on their website the day after the election:
Yes, it is a ridiculously truncated chart. So ridiculous that they had to change it soon after hilarity ensued on Twitter.
But something happened that made me remember that most Bad Charts are created to purposely mislead the public: 7 people were killed in the protests following the election.
As a person who can read a chart (or numbers), you can tell that the results of Venezuelan elections were a really close call. So close, that the opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles, demanded a vote by vote recount, a position backed by the Organization of American States and the United States. People have gone to the streets to show support for their candidates, which is what lead to 7 people being killed on Tuesday, plus dozens injured, hundreds arrested, and property damage, including several universities. Capriles had to call off the rally planned for yesterday to demand a recount in fear of further violence. Instead he asked his supporters to go out to the streets every night at 8pm and bang pots and pans to show defiance. In response, Maduro asked his supporters to throw fireworks at the same time.
You can call me Debbie Downer in the comments if you like.