For those who doubt the power of graphs to tell a story, I just received this graph from Obama’s group, Organizing for America. This is a very nice example of how to highlight the information that you find important, and use data to back up a version of events.
I’d be curious what the political response is to something like this. The conclusion seems indisputable when presented in this form. Unfortunately, we probably won’t see an actual discussion at a high level of context in the press. It’s more convenient for them to respond to data out of context (last month’s job numbers, say), and let everyone have their say.
The classic text on this topic is Tufte’s. He’s worth checking out.