Fair & Balanced?

Not exactly.

Mathematically competent?

Not one tiny bit.


best pie chart ever

Hat tip Flowing Data


Update: Here is the Video (Nov 23)

Category: Financial Press, Mathematics, Politics, Really, really bad calls, Television

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

46 Responses to “Fox News (Chicago) Makes the Best. Pie Chart. Ever.”

  1. Mannwich says:

    That about sums up FOX “News”.

  2. DeDude says:

    Not understanding that this type of data should be presented in bar graphs rather than pie chart form is the ultimate proof that these “journalist” are just pretty faces in pretty suits.

  3. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Pie charts are no longer a zero sum game.

  4. bobmitchell says:

    This is just proof of inflation. Exactly why I went 100% GLD in my 401K.

  5. Wes Schott says:

    that must be from the “entertainment” side of their programming, not the “news” side of their programming, which of course is impeachable….

    …..(remember the Jon Stewart take-down)

  6. Wes Schott says:


    funny you say that,

    but having 100% GLD

    is not the same as having 100% gold in your 401K

  7. Aeolus says:

    And they didn’t even show the 131% who are still undecided!

  8. PrahaPartizan says:

    If this is representation of the skills of American elites, it’s no wonder the Chinese are kicking our asses. Doesn’t anybody check the data this “network” puts out?

  9. Joe Retail says:


    I’ve said it for years: Journalists (or in Fox’s case, “Journalists”) shouldn’t be allowed to play with calculators.

  10. Lord says:

    I guess this means 60% will vote for anybody and 30% will vote for nobody.

  11. DeDude says:

    “Doesn’t anybody check the data this “network” puts out?”

    It passed their ideological check (Sara is cute and popular), so who cares about the data ;-)

  12. Jonathan says:


    I wish I could invest in GLD in my 401K (although not 100%). Mutual funds as the only choices stinks big time.

  13. quiddity says:

    No matter how you slice it, a Fox “News” pie is 93% larger than your typical MSM pie.

    May I please have another piece, Mr. Murdoch?

  14. bergsten says:

    OK. Fun’s fun, but here’s what the numb nuts did…

    Here’s a link to the actual survey, taken November 19, 2009:

    They grabbed off the three names they were interested in, and copied the percentage of Republicans who felt that they were generally favorable to each name (taken by itself).

    In other words, they asked, “Do you like A?” then “Do you like B?” then “Do you like “C”? You didn’t get to “vote for one.”

    In related news, they also got the name of the polling company wrong — it’s Opinion Dynamics.

    What do you care to bet that, no matter how many places you see this story, this is the only blog that will actually explain what happened?

  15. call me ahab says:

    well- if the question was to rate the favorability of a candidate then the answers could definitely be over 100%-

    that it’s represented in pie form- that i can’t answer

  16. kmckellop says:

    Hey, it looks like there is still run for Lou Dobbs..00ops I forgot he’s Mr. Independent.

  17. bergsten says:

    @Ahab 4:24pm — I suspect that a. Fox didn’t have the “A-team” working the holiday weekend (or the “B-team” for that matter), and b. Some poor intern probably gets the blame and what joking passes for his career is ruined.

    p.s. They also asked about Oprah Winfrey. God knows why:
    Democrats 80%
    Republicans 46%
    Independents 55%

  18. jeff in indy says:

    @Lord… isn’t that about what we got in the last election?

  19. bergsten says:

    @BR 4:45pm — Leaving aside the “Palin’s on top” joke (based on the video), the poll question never mentioned “nomination”:

    “I’m going to read you the names of several individuals. Please tell me whether you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of each one. If you’ve never heard of someone, please just say so. (RANDOMIZE)
    SCALE: 1. Favorable 2. Unfavorable 3. (Can’t say) 4. Never heard of”

  20. bergsten says:

    p.s. Speak of “selection bias” — this survey had (at least) 46 questions. Who sits still long enough to be asked 46 questions?

  21. call me ahab says:


    pass this along to Mr Sucks- 6’8″ model- quite the Amazon- might have a tough time pinning her ankles behind her ears- would require quite the reach-


  22. bergsten says:

    @ahab — I’ll try — kind of funny that this was reported in “Zoo Weekly”

  23. Christopher says:

    Faux News

    We Deceive….You Believe!


  24. SaulRosenberg says:

    “Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything,
    Kent. 14% of people know that.”
    -Homer Simpson

  25. Ponchovilla says:

    The real joke is that 96% of the Republican base believes this.

  26. Jonathan says:

    I just watched the video. Shame shame Barry. This is NOT from Fox News. This is the news program on a Fox network in Chicago.

    I would think you would do more research from you before leading everyone astray like this.


    BR: I’ll fix the title.

    Lighten up Mary, its a funny innumeracy issue, the type I have posted many times before — regardless of politics.

  27. Winston Munn says:

    Some people say that 200 is the new 100.

  28. madman130 says:

    Fair & Balanced?

    Not exactly.

    Let’s wait a little bit on that until the democratic wing of media (I mean the real journalists) starts talking about Acorn, Stimulus abuse and SRU email hack.

  29. madman130 says:


  30. Say what says:

    once again Ritholtz shows he is NOT fair and balanced when it comes to Fox news, Bush, Cheney, republicans in general…..

    oh but when it comes to Dems/CNN/MSBC….. BR is their guy, free passes all around,


    BR: I was named one of “The 14 Most Strident Critics of Obama.” So its safe to say I am an equal opportunity basher.

    Don’t let your own biases prevent you from seeing fair criticism as what it is — otherwise, you will be named just another “incorrect, no-research, partisan hack.”

  31. Here is another awesome display of how statistics and raw data can be manipulated for partisan purposes:


    Yes, Obama has spent much more than anyone likes. But to compare his first-year spending to Bush and Clinton is like comparing the cost of housing maintenance for regular tenants versus housing maintenance when the last guy burned the house down on the way out the door.

    Second, to compare the spending of Bush in year 1 versus Obama in year 1 is another joke. Let’s compare Bush year 4 and Obama year 1 since Obama year 1 is a continuation of Bush year 4.

    I really hope that in the next 20 years we can get a new crop of media outlets to do their jobs and stop acting as propaganda machines for ideologues. Then maybe we can get a nice group of independent Presidential candidates who are interested in serving the People rather than special interests …

  32. EAR says:

    The 193% surveyed where 100% from the Glenn Beck’s 9-12 protest and 93% from the footage of the Glenn Beck 9-12 protest Sean Hannity used as “footage” of the GOP’s 10-5 protest.

    There are humans, who’ve read this blog… who can read, that believe Bush & Cheney should be treated with fairness and balance? Fascinating.

  33. [...] by Charles II on November 28, 2009 (From Barry Ritholtz, The Big [...]

  34. Must have something to do with that “We need to grow the pie” analogy

  35. bergsten says:

    I passed a link to this thread to a friend, and his email reply is just too funny not to share…

    A pie chart? a PIE chart? a pie Chart! …

    Give me a minute, my mind is still reeling.

    This is a work of genius. The simple expression of the most colossal stupidity. Three pie pieces shouting to the world, “Look world! Behold the vastness of ignorance!” That piece of art belongs in a museum.

    I just know some arrogant asshole looked at the bar graph and said, “pie charts look better on TV.” Reply, “Good idea boss.”

    It seems the graph came from a local station in Chicago, home town of the smartest American president ever. Given the voting record in that town, a pie graph adding up to more than 100% would not be unusual.

  36. arthur.i says:

    In defense of Mr. Ritholtz – I have found his criticism to be non-partisan in the extreme. He seems to treat all moronic behavior with equanimity.

    The following video link (if it works) helps to make sense of the Fox pie chart. Their viewers are immune to its faults:


  37. bergsten says:

    @arthur (and everybody else making fun of Fox) — if you bother to go look at the actual survey this story was based on ( http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/112009_palin.pdf ) you may note two other interesting questions that were asked.

    The participants were asked if they would buy the Palin book and if so why (they asked the same for the Hillary Clinton book).

    In the Clinton case, a third said they would buy it because it was the popular thing to do.

    In the Palin case, 19% of Republicans also said they’d buy it for the same reason.

    Now get this, 39% (more than twice as many) Democrats said they’d buy the Palin book because it was the popular thing to do.

    Can anyone take this information and come away with the slightest pretense that the public gives the slightest amount of intellectual thought toward politics (or anything else, for that matter)?

  38. bergsten says:

    One last thing about this survey…

    Palin’s book is published by Harper/Collins, a subsidiary of News Corp., owners of Fox News.

    This whole flap is over a book marketing survey.

  39. bergsten says:

    Yeah, I know, but nobody’s reading this anymore anyway. But one more thing:

    What kind of crappy software allowsyou to create a pie chart with data that adds up to more than 100%?

  40. flipspiceland says:

    No thanks. Pass the pumpkin, and banana cream with ice cream, instead.

  41. Greg0658 says:

    I’ve been wondering .. those book signing lines – how many people are suppling books that were paid for by free coupons on up to full price and beyond*. That would be a nice pie chart (done right – ie round pie is no more than 100%).

    * Beyond — meaning wondering in the same breath – how many are looking to Ebay the signed book? Ty Beanie Babies aren’t re-selling like they were hyped. State Coin Bears – the new fad (saw at a garage sale this summer). I’ve got Nanook husky, Peace bear** and Unicorn on the shelf here at the castle. Someday I’ll trade ‘em for an Amero or two, maybe a smidgen of gold.

    Thanks for the link of Columbus, Ohio signing 11/20/09. Wondering where in the pyramid of intellect – who is saying “yes” to & “no” to these camera interview things … who the editors cut out for flavor … I could understand the “no thank you” folks (for many reasons) would be higher in the pryamid … all that said – reminds me of my Kmart bar code scene … we got our work cut out for us here in the good ole USA – for all colors and flavors.**

  42. StatArb says:

    No stories on our great economy today ?!?!?!?

  43. Climategate says:

    At least Fox News is covering the crime of the century, a group of left-wingers and greedy environmentalists defrauding the world — Climategate scandal — at the same time as biased liberal US media (CNN, ABC, NBC, etc.) is intentionally not covering Climategate.

    It just proves again and again how biased and politically motivated US media is.

    The entire world is covering Climategate (fraud of the century), but US media (except FOX News) is intentionally silent about it.

    Even Russian news agencies are covering the scandal.
    Hot Tricks: Climate change we can’t believe in?

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