Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Shockingly, a new poll shows mistrust of politicians, corporate leaders, and major news outlets has reached epidemic proportions.
Americans' distrust of politicians and business leaders has reached an "epidemic" level, driven by the Iraq war, the disputed 2000 presidential election and financial scandals, a Reuters/DecisionQuest poll revealed on Wednesday.

The nationwide telephone survey of 1,100 adults found 61 percent of Americans had lost faith in leaders and institutions over the past four years.

The poll was conducted last week and had a margin of error of 2.96 percentage points.

The study showed politicians received "C" grades on a scale of A-plus, meaning totally trustworthy, to F, meaning totally untrustworthy. President Bush and Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry, locked in a tight race for the White House, both received C grades.

Amid business scandals ranging from Enron to Martha Stewart, trust in corporate executives was hurt the most, with 63 percent of respondents reporting a drop in confidence in them. Executives, along with lawyers and entertainment celebrities, received the lowest trustworthiness score -- C minus.

Newspaper and television reporters received a "C" grade for trustworthiness. TV reporters are trusted less now than four years ago by 43.8 percent of Americans, while 39.4 percent said their trust in print reporters had eroded.

A number of major U.S. journalism outlets, including CBS, The New York Times, USA Today and CNN, have been tainted in recent years by flawed and false reporting.
The sample for this poll is obviously quite low, but the results seem to accurately reflect what I've observed over the last four years. The question now is, is anyone paying attention, and will this change anything? I'm not holding my breath.