Edelman Trust Barometer Reveals Record-Breaking Drop in Trust in the US

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On a scale of 0 to 100, trust among the general US population fell nine points to 43, placing it in the lower quarter of Edelman's 28-country Trust Index.

Edelman said the decline in trust levels in the U.S.in the past year is even "more profound" than after the global financial crash in 2008, when the USA economy experienced its most pronounced recession since the 1930s and millions of people lost their jobs. The general public (18 years or over) in China however do not feel the same as China gains 7 points, placing it in the top few countries on all the indexes. Of the 28 countries surveyed, 20 lie in "distruster territory", one more than in 2017.

"The root cause of this fall is the lack of objective facts and rational discourse", said Edelman. But a closer look at the numbers found that the public's trust in journalism has risen 5 percentage points while trust dropped 2 points for social and search platforms.

For the first time media is the least trusted institution globally.

The Edelman survey showed a deeper lack of trust in United States institutions among the "informed public" or people who are college educated, earn above-average incomes and consume news regularly. As well as nearly 70 per cent of respondents were concerned about false information being exploited and used as a weapon.

Trust in business, media and nongovernmental organizations also fell between 10 and 20 points, according to the survey.

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Ed Williams, chief executive of Edelman UK, said: "After a flood of negative headlines in 2017, it's time these companies sat up and listened".

This year saw a revival of faith in experts and decline in peers. "There are credibility problems for both platforms and sources".

Only a quarter of the population now say they trust the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as a reliable source of information.

Business is now expected to be an agent of change. And 64 percent believe a company can take actions that both increase profits and improve economic and social conditions in the community where it operates.

High-profile politicians accept only the facts that advance their ideological positions.

The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer offers an annual snapshot of a country's trust in its government, media, businesses and NGOs. This show of faith comes with new expectations; building trust (69 percent) is now the No. 1 job for CEOs, surpassing producing high-quality products and services (68 percent). Institutions must answer the public's call for providing factually accurate, timely information and joining the public debate.

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