The Senate testimony of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was unlike anything we’d seen before from someone poised to be confirmed to the highest court in the country. After a woman accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, Kavanaugh refused to answer direct questions about the incident in question. Meanwhile, the woman, Christine Blasey Ford, was straightforward in her answers.
I wanted to capture this disparity with a single, striking visual by analyzing the text of the hearing.
What makes this project innovative?
We were able to capture the ineffable observations of the hearing in a data analysis within 24 hours of the hearing, and create a striking visual that ended up becoming the iconic image to show Kavanaugh's lack of candor.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
The story itself got millions of views, but this chart had a life of its own. It was shown on virtually every major television network, it was shared in so many places that we couldn't even keep track of all the times it was screenshotted and shared on its own. And one woman even crocheted this chart as an art project. In these heated political debates, it can often feel like we are being gaslighted about the things we observe. One of my goals is to offer some data-driven context to ground our observations in reality. And when we do it really well, we end up creating iconic images that crystalize historical moments.
Source and methodology
Transcripts of the Kavanaugh hearing, which we analyzed ourselves
Google Sheets HTML, JS, CSS, basic Python Coffee
Alvin Chang, Amanda Northrop