Melanie Mallon

Melanie is a freelance editor and writer living in a small town outside Minneapolis with her husband, two kids, dog, and two cats. When not making fun of bad charts or running the Uncensorship Project, she spends her time wrangling commas, making colon jokes, and putting out random dumpster fires. You can find her on Twitter as @MelMall, on Facebook, and on Instagram.
  • Skepticism
    Screenshot of Tweet to Trump about his approval rating compared to bad movies

    The Return of Bad Chart Thursday

    I should probably title this “The Return of the Return of Bad Chart Thursday: This Time I Really Mean It,” because I’ve struggled to write this column as often as I’d like—ideally, every Thursday, but now that Trump has ushered in an era when reality is often indistinguishable from satire, getting a post up once a month would be a…

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  • Politics
    Children at border

    Bad Chart Thursday: Border Patrol Pads Assault Data to Falsely Claim Down Is Up

    Assaults on Border Patrol agents have been decreasing for years, but as Debbie Nathan of the Intercept reported earlier this week, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in fiscal year 2015, started quietly padding the data enough to make a downward trend look like an increase. Rather than assault numbers reflecting the number of incidents or officers assaulted, CBP multiplies…

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  • Politics
    DeVos Protest

    Bad Chart Thursday: DeVos’s Pyramid Scheme for Education

    US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appeared on 60 Minutes earlier this month, in part to plug her latest pyramid scheme: for-profit school choice. Yet DeVos couldn’t answer basic questions from host Leslie Stahl about how school choice was working for students in Michigan, DeVos’s home state, where she’s successfully lobbied for decades to implement for-profit charter schools with little to…

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  • Politics
    San Diego Crime bar chart

    Bad Chart Thursday: Crime-Fighting Border Walls Cause Cancer

    The justification for the border wall that Donald Trump wants to build at the US-Mexico border is that the wall would reduce crime. Though it’s well established that the immigrant crime rate is much lower than that of native-born Americans, and evidence suggests that immigrant-friendly cities tend to experience a lower crime rate than other urban areas, Trump and his…

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  • Skepticism
    table of voters, by race and gender

    Bad Chart Thursday: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being a Trump Voter

    Did you know that people of color are responsible for electing Trump? It’s true . . . if you lump people of color with white women. Just as falling out of chairs is a leading cause of death in the U.S. when grouped with cancer. Beanbags should clearly be mandatory. This blatantly misleading logic is the conclusion of yet another…

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  • Politics
    pot pie chart

    Bad Chart Thursday: From 0 to Pot Pie in 5 Charts

    I had so many terrible charts to choose from this week that it seemed a shame not to share them all, so here’s a quick rundown of my favorite data visualization fails this month, starting with the least egregious and working toward the worst chart ever to grace this site’s pixels. First up are a couple of charts that aren’t…

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  • Featured
    SteveKingIA tweet

    Rep. Steve King: Proud White Supremacist

    On Sunday, US Congressman Steve King (R-IA) retweeted the anti-immigrant fake news account Voice of Europe, adding his own white supremacist take on the original tweet: @SteveKingIA: “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” @V_of_Europe: “Hundreds of Islamists shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Wilders is right for…

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  • Featured

    Bad Chart Thursday: Pseudoscientific Chart Judges Science Reporting

    A chart purporting to rank credible science journalism uses the most unscientific means ever: opinion presented as fact. Editors for the American Council of Science and Health (ACSH), an industry-funded “science” site, and Real Clear Science (RCS), a news aggregator with some original material, co-created and published a chart using a design aesthetic beloved by marketers of online pyramid schemes…

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