Jorge Camoes has an article on his Charts blog about whether all the fancy points and rules about visualization are really worthwhile and can be used for general audiences. The conclusion is that audiences need to be educated slowly; a graphic intended for everyone needs to tend towards eye candy rather than a sophisticated presentation of data:

If a single chart can save the world, it will not be a Few’s or Tufte’s 100% compliant chart. It will be a glossy Xcelsius pie chart.

(Wow, that’s depressing…)

I’ve heard NY Times graphics people say repeatedly that they can’t put a scatter plot in the NY Times because people don’t understand them, even though a scatter plot is probably the single most useful type of graphic. Jorge continues:

Here is my Pandora box: give the audience what it expects and understands, even if that hurts your data visualization soul (OK, give it 90% of what it expects and use the remaining 10% to educate it.)

There is an interesting back and forth in the comments as well.