- Thomson Reuters
- A new study finds that the US public’s trust in institutions, such as business, government, and tech, has plummeted, led by a drop in public trust in government.
- The drop in confidence comes as the US economy has actually performed well, and trust in public institutions in China soars.
- The least trusted institution of all, as seen by the survey, is the media, which 22 out of 28 countries don’t trust.
Trust in US institutions, including the government and media, is imploding, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer published ahead of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
“No country saw steeper declines than the United States, with a 37-point aggregate drop in trust across all institutions. At the opposite end of the spectrum, China experienced a 27-point gain, more than any other country,” the study reads.
Despite low unemployment and a booming stock market, the US saw trust in major institutions decline heavily over the course of 2017, and now just one in three in the US trust the government, according to the study. However, Americans displayed a higher degree of trust in businesses.
China, which came in first with 74% of the general population trusting the country’s institutions, had its highest level of trust in the government with relatively low trust in business, presenting the inverse of the US’s standing.
But the real loser in 2018 is the media, which is distrusted in 22 of 28 countries, and it could be tied to the US’s leadership.
“The United States is enduring an unprecedented crisis of trust,” Richard Edelman, the CEO company that produced the study, said in a press release.
“This is the first time that a massive drop in trust has not been linked to a pressing economic issue or catastrophe like the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In fact, it’s the ultimate irony that it’s happening at a time of prosperity, with the stock market and employment rates in the U.S. at record highs. The root cause of this fall is the lack of objective facts and rational discourse.”
While the US economy has done well, the “lack of objective facts and rational discourse,” described by Edelman may relate to President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media and frequently counter-factual assertions.
The study contacted 1,150 adults in each country. For a complete summary of the study’s findings, click here.