Staged Data - How the Republican Debate is Already Skewed


One way that data is misrepresented is by treating all data equally, even when it’s not.

When you watch the Republican debate, with each candidate standing behind the same podium, the implication is that all of these candidates are equal.

Donald Trump's average polling numbers are just over 23%.

John Kasich's average is less than 3%.

These candidates are not equal (in so, so many ways). Yet they’re all treated equally when they’re on stage. And when all data is treated equally, that can be a form of misrepresentation.

The TV talk show host John Oliver illustrated this concept brilliantly when he hosted a debate about climate change.⁠ Instead of typical TV debates that feature one or two people on each side of an issue, Oliver decided to have a representative number of people on each side. So he invited 97 people to argue that climate change is real - and 3 to argue that it’s not. With that one simple action, he completely changed how the average person perceives the debate - which, we presume, was exactly his point.