When Fox News tries to make a chart

What’s worse than Fox News’ attempts at reporting? Fox News’ attempts to convey information through images.

Media Matters’ Zachary Pleat highlights this doozy from the Republican news network today, which intends to show the fluctuations in the unemployment rate over 2011 to date.

It might be a little tough to see (click on it for a larger view), but the truly amazing this about the image is that it (a) shows no change between 9% unemployment and 8.6% unemployment; and (b) tells viewers that 8.6% unemployment is higher than 8.8% unemployment.

Fox cites Bureau of Labor Statistics data as the source, and lists the actual fluctuations in the national rate accurately, but somehow failed miserably to actually graph the data points correctly. (The fact that 9% and 8.6% were at the same x-axis point should have been a clue to someone at the network, unless the goal was to mislead Fox viewers, perish the thought.)

What’s more, as Pleat added, this new image fits into a larger pattern: “A few weeks ago, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics first reported that the unemployment rate had dropped to 8.6 percent in November — the lowest rate in more than 2 years — a Fox News graphic rounded up to 9 percent. In 2010, Fox News aired a staggeringly misleading chart suggesting that 15 million jobs were lost in three months. Three months.”

There’s a very good reason Fox News viewers are so confused, so often, about so much.