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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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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