Crappy Graphics Are a Sign That NSA Is Focusing on Its Core Mission

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Matt Yglesias is upset about the quality of the intel community’s PowerPoint skills:

I don’t have much to say about the substance, but note that nothing from America’s national security agencies seems to get published without some incredibly lame infographic….There are obviously bigger policy issues in play, but I have to say that I think well-run organizations wouldn’t rely on this kind of garbage in their internal presentations.

I’m on the opposite side: I’m perfectly happy that America’s spy agencies aren’t wasting their time polishing their graphical skills. If they haven’t been to Edward Tufte’s latest gabfest on chart junk, that’s fine with me. People worry about this stuff too much. Who cares if managers in both the private and public sectors are enamored of crappy-looking infographics and PowerPoint decks? Pretty much no one except us tech-savvy journalistic types, who traffic in charts and images for public consumption because it’s part of our jobs and we know our peers will mock us if we produce 90s-era craptacular graphics. That’s fine for us, but we should leave the rest of the world alone on this.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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