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Monday, December 09, 2019

Chaffetz: My Graph Wasn’t Misleading!

House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) trotted out one of the most bizarre and dishonest graphs ever during this week’s hearing on Planned Parenthood. Now he’s responding to the widespread criticism — by totally standing by what he did.

The graph depicted Planned Parenthood’s abortion services skyrocketing way ahead of cancer screenings, with one arrow overtaking the other to much greater heights. The problem: The number for abortions was 327,000; while cancer screenings were still a much higher figure at 935,573.

“So the chart you put out yesterday [Tuesday] was misleading,” Wolf Blitzer said during an interview Wednesday evening on CNN. “If you had a do-over, you would’ve done it differently, right?

“No, I disagree,” Chaffetz responded. “I don’t think it’s misleading.”

Blitzer again laid out the problem with the graph: “It makes it look like there’s a whole lot more abortions than there are cancer screenings — whereas there’s three times as many cancer screenings as there are abortions.”

Wolf even showed a rendition of what the correct graph would look like (we did one as well), based solely on those numbers, in which the line for abortions would remain well below that of cancer screenings the entire time.

In addition, as Blitzer pointed out, cancer screenings have gone down because the relevant federal guidelines changed to now recommend they be done less frequently than before. (And this doesn’t even take into account the many other services Planned Parenthood provides, such as STD screenings and contraception, which if factored in with preventive services would have made the slopes of the lines virtually identical.)

“The number of abortions increased — the numbers were exactly accurate,” Chaffetz insisted.

Blitzer responded: “The numbers are accurate, but the arrows seem very misleading.”

“I stand by the numbers,” Chaffetz said. “I can understand where people would say that arrows went different directions, but the numbers are accurate.”

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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