January 19, 2010
We’ve spent the last hour or so on the marriage and divorce rate in the Netherlands. So, I did a google search and found an image that gets most of this data. The defense chose 1994 as their first year to show data, but if one is to be honest, it is clear that you have to go back much further to get the real trend.
The point of all this seems to be that from 1994 to 2008, there was some dividing line at around 2001. Of course, there are huge problems with this logic. First, there were year to year shifts in the past that were much larger than the shift in 2001. Further, the trend is very clear that since around 1970, the trend for marriage has been markedly down.
But instead of showing the larger context, they choose 1994. It’s like something you would see in the USA Today. It’s Fun with Numbers. Numbers are very powerful, but you can play with them, make images look very powerful depending on the scale you use on a chart, or the time period you take. But numbers need context, and fortunately, David Boies is doing a pretty good job of this during redirect.