Mark Duckenfield points me to a post by Robert Farley entitled “Worst. Graph. Ever” in reference to this stunner from the Economist:

The good news is that the graph is so incompetent, it probably won’t confuse too many people. If they really wanted to fake people out, they should’ve just made up all the numbers. Heck, they could just make up the entire curve, as in this beauty:

This graph (which, let me be clear, has zero documentation and, as far as I can tell, is entirely made up) was good enough to fool Ted-talking rich guy Peter Diamandis.

The mistake the Economist made in the top graph above was to put in actual numbers and give a source for their data. In all seriousness, that top graph above is saved by its clunkiness.

P.S. Just to be clear, the problem with the top graph above (the reason why Farley called it the worst graph ever) is that the lines are drawn to look like Russia is spending a lot more than European NATO, but, as the numbers show, European NATO is spending much more. I’m saying the graph is not so horrible because at least the numbers are right there for readers to see. Whether the comparison makes sense at all is another story. I agree with Farley on the main point here, I’m just saying that things could be worse (as in the second graph above)!