Most Americans know that the US government spends an insane amount of their tax dollars on defense, but how do you show just how much they spend compared to all other areas in the country? In order to answer this query the authors created a visualization mapping federal spending against media coverage. They wanted to use a minimal approach with no labeling necessary. The design says it all and shows what almost 70% of a budget going to defense looks like compared to all other departments (Education gets around 1%).
The authors used the New York Times API to parse through all articles written in 2009. Using key words that dealth with characteristics of each governmental agency, they displayed their frequency usage in comparison with one another. The colors on the right rings are representative of their colors from the left. What we see is that all of the much less-budgeted agencies from the left ring are discussed far more in the news. The Department of Health and Humand Services, which was a major issue of discussion in 2009 with health care reform being heatly debated only accounts for about 4% of the US federal budget, though it's the most discussed issue in the media.