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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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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