STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Survey Says: Americans Trust No One
By Philippe Gastonne - October 07, 2015

Four in 10 Americans say they have "a great deal" or "a fair amount" of trust and confidence in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly. This ties the historical lows on this measure set in 2014 and 2012. Prior to 2004, slight majorities of Americans said they trusted the mass media, such as newspapers, TV and radio.

Americans' confidence in the media has slowly eroded from a high of 55% in 1998 and 1999. Since 2007, the majority of Americans have had little or no trust in the mass media. Trust has typically dipped in election years, including 2004, 2008, 2012 and last year. However, 2015 is not a major election year.

This decline follows the same trajectory as Americans' confidence in many institutions and their declining trust in the federal government's ability to handle domestic and international problems over the same time period. – Gallup, Sept 28, 2015

The Gallup Organization goes to great lengths to tell us what we already know. Their latest national polling, for instance, says "Americans' Trust in Media Remains at Historical Low." The greater surprise is the other side of the coin. Some 40% of Americans think the mass media reports news fully, accurately and fairly. Their faith is touching but wrong.

Similar polls show Americans also doubt other societal institutions. Majorities distrust politicians, judges, scientists, doctors, lawyers, ministers, educators and business executives. The list is long enough to raise another question: Exactly whom do we trust?

My own non-scientific survey says the answer is frequently "No one." Many people I know, either online or in real life, say they want to be self-reliant, though few actually are.

This attitude is positive in one sense. A large part of our population has an unhealthy dependence on others for support. Adults who are not sick or disabled should take care of themselves.

Distrust that others will help you is the first step toward taking responsibility for yourself. Sadly, distrust is only a first step. Large numbers of people refuse to take the next one.

The result is a population increasingly afraid of its own shadow. To those who trust no one, everyone is a potential threat. Hence, the constant calls for the government to "keep us safe" from the latest imaginary enemy.

A society in which no one trusts anyone is a society that will soon tear itself apart.

Alternately, it will simply dwindle into extinction because its members don't trust each other enough to reproduce. That process is already well underway in Japan, Russia and parts of Europe.

Is this just how nature works? Maybe, but nature doesn't always favor the independent. Many species thrive precisely because the members trust and rely on each other. They can accomplish more together than they can as individuals.

Early humans fell in that category. At some point, we lost our natural trust. Will we ever find it again?

No one knows. We know only what will happen if we don't.

Posted in STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
  • dave jr

    What ever happened to trust being earned? It’s not a gimmee. Gallup could have asked what percentage of the MSM do Americans trust. Now I have to decide if I trust Gallup.

    • Bill Ross

      suggest NOT. Gallop and other polling organizations allegedly inform us what others think, so lazy followers can join the herd of monkey see, monkey do, lemmings over the cliff to collective non-survival.

      a further function of polls is to make the intelligent believe they are alone, in a sea of ignorance and therefor, “resistance is futile”.

      and Phillippe forgot to mention: Without trust that you can keep fruits of labor, well, why bother? Adios peaceful division of labor AKA: civilization.

      The only trust that has been earned is by natural law, consistently applying predictable consequences to actions such as: harm anyone, be prepared for blowback.

  • Guy Christopher

    In Louisiana, the most revered historical character is not Lincoln or Washington, but the pirate, Jean LaFitte, who regularly raided government shipping lanes and always found refuge among those living along Louisiana’s thousands of hidden inlets and bays. Louisiana’s children learn three things before beginning grade school: always be prepared for hurricanes, always lie to pollsters, and always incorporate before cashing the lottery ticket.

    • Diocletian

      Hmm…I wonder if Ayn Rand had LaFitte in mind when she created Ragnar Dannjeskold, the pirate in her novel “Atlas Shrugged”.

      • Guy Christopher

        Possibly. She hung out with Alan Greenspan, so he might know.

  • But how many let the media, authority and ‘the state’ dictate to them how they think and don’t even know it. Almost everyone I say, to a greater or lesser extent, including, being realistic, myself I guess in many ways too.

    • Bill Ross

      Those of us of a moral persuasion, having intelligence face the risk of conceptualizing others by our standards, leading to benefit of a doubt. I was smited / burned many times by this false faith in humanity (a generalization, only individuals are REAL), a product of projecting faith in myself on others (Jung). Learned to avoid this folly at a young age.

      Now, when pondering new acquaintances (don’t want to be totally paranoid, a loner), I give them enough rope to hang themselves, something I can afford to lose and see if they bite. Pass many such tests and, you’ve got a new lifetime friend / ally.

      • Yep. Just never given them more rope than you can afford to lose.

        • Bill Ross

          like voting, taxpaying and allowing their crimes (supporting makes you accessory to crime) the illusion of legitimacy.

          • Applauding in an apparently vigorous way is defensible if you have a gun to your head

          • Bill Ross

            lack of liberty (ability to adapt and choose peacefully, correctly) IS DEATH

          • Lack of liberty is an excess of slavery and death is the end of life’s passage through time.

          • Bill Ross

            if life is just breathing, pretty worthless. As opposed to peacefully, by navigation using peaceful self-volition (choice) to chart your own destiny and actually create a meaningful life as opposed to facilitating predators who are anti-life (evil, live spelt backwards).

            Your life is all you touch, create and influence, your entire footprint on reality.

      • Kevin Tebedo

        “Only individuals are real”. True words. So why do we verbalize the blame on government, as though it is a third type of species? It is people who lie to people. Who steal, cheat and destroy. Thank you Bill for reminding me to be gracious.

        • Bill Ross

          There is only ONE species of (wo)man, differentiated by individual choices to be predator, submitting prey, or, unruly prey.

    • Kevin Tebedo

      We choose to believe what we want to believe. Facts change very little.

      • Bill Ross

        until we are smited by our strategic denial and ignorance, the school of hard knocks, as tyrants (with implausible, warm and fuzzy sounding excuses) are slowly, but not surely learning. The difference between fit and unfit.

    • jim

      I agree. My informal “polls” on this front indicate quite clearly that Americans of all ages have been psy-opped to be afraid at all times of straying from the herd.
      The mass mind-control mechanism is to define thru the media the “proper” mindset of the herd, then apply ostracizing terror tactics against anyone who deviates from that collective mindset.
      When asked delicate social questions, well over 90% of people indicate that they prefer to blend in with the herd, lest they risk being targeted. People actually say this!
      Which indicates they are fully aware that they have been cowed into this state. Yet they have been trained not to resist the terror and hold on to their individual sovereignty. To me, this is the primary tragedy of our current culture.

      • The ‘dark art’ of ‘the state’ is to take these natural human propensities and twist them to its advantage. There is nothing wrong with people wanting to be part of, blend-in with, the family, the tribe, a people even. There is nothing wrong with wanting to kick-back under a tree on a sunny day and snooze. But when those who would manipulate people, to their own aims, use people’s natural fear of rejection and intellectual laziness as weapons against them it is, if done well, almost an insurmountable attack. The only defence is not to allow these manipulators to usurp the power of ‘the state’ and the only way to be assured of that is to reject the belief in ‘the state’ as both illegitimate and dangerous.

  • L Garou

    I don’t for a second believe 60% is even close. More like 80%
    (the other 20% are likely government bureaucrat tax feeders)
    Fool us once shame on you, fool us 6 million times, shame on us.

  • Kevin Tebedo

    The “American people” are liars, cheaters, frauds, thieves and deceivers, just like the people whom we’ve granted governmental power. Why would anybody think there is any moral superiority in “the people” and moral inferiority in the people who are in government? The problem is endemic to the nature of all man kind. We are screwed no matter what and who.

    • RJ O’Guillory

      ..in a general sense I think you are correct. However…that is the mark of a great leader…the ability to put their own personal wants or needs aside, and do the ethical thing…depending upon the situation and the rules you’ve agreed to abide by. It is not that difficult, if you have a sense of honor, integrity and ethics.
      RJ O’Guillory

      • Bill Ross

        and, an implementable force field, to deal with lone, deranged gunpersons firing magic, laws of physics defying bullets.

        …becoming an effective leader places you at top of the list. Ask MLK, et al.

        • RJ O’Guillory

          …yes…I agree with your observation. So? Courage is also one of the hallmarks of a great leader, and it either has to come through naturally, or be forced upon you due to circumstances. I worked for US DoD for 24 years, all over their corrupt empire, and was a Federally Protected Whistle Blower for over two decades. Nothing big, or national security related…just petty theft, poor management & decision making…which often led to someone wanting us to clean up their corrupt mess. At every juncture, there were people who were terrified of losing their jobs, being demoted or transferred…and they were willing to give up their…..(soul, for lack of a better word, though I’m non-religious)..and to bow down to idiocy. I tape-recorded all of their conversations and threats, and sat in the little hearing room listening to them lie their ass off…and then got to play my tapes…and humiliated them. They came after me for 20 years, and each time I shoved their accusations and their illegal attempts to screw me…I shoved them back in their ear…and won. Besides, the worst they could do to me was fire me, and I was employable in about 1,000,000.00 jobs back then, so I told them to shove their corruption. The result was I had a great career, lived in Japan, Germany, Bosnia, Hungary…climbed Mt. Fuji…and received a personal tour of Air Force One…and they were forced to retire me at the age of 49, due to their corrupt actions against me. I guess this is just a long way of saying, if we don’t stand up now…when will we? If I were elected President, I’d insure that I never left The White House, I’d surround it with an entire Division of the US Army…and I’d have the US Military go in and clean out the FBI, CIA, DHS, FDA, DEA…etc., etc..,etc. After about six years of hosting people at The White House, and after all the treason trials, convictions and executions….I’d leave The White House to a new country, and a new spirit of liberty.
          RJ O’Guillory

          • Bill Ross

            email me if U want to comment on my current endeavors. Agree with U, hang em by their own actions.

  • martae

    Those 40% that trust the mainstream media are those that are getting the information they want to believe, so they do not wish to question it’s validity, and those who are too stupid, or distracted to notice much of what is reported is contrary to observable fact. Anyone capable of critical thought would at the least notice that there is almost never anyone interviewed that disagrees with government policy in any meaningful way. In the few cases where there are different opinions offered, they are ridiculed by other guests, or the host.
    Prime example is Peter Schiff on financial network programming, predicting the subprime crisis, and the crash of 2008. He was thoroughly ridiculed at the time. When he was proven right, he was briefly congratulated for his prediction in interviews, but the ridicule he received was never dealt with, and those who did it were not held to task.
    Those who critically think would also notice how often memes described as conspiracy theories are adopted by mainstream media, after they are widely enough accepted by the public that the MSM would lose what little credibility it has left, if it did not adopt them. The prime example is the manipulation of financial markets.

    • Bill Ross

      you BELIEVE any of these numbers? Talk to people in your ‘hood. NOBODY believes, but many claim to do, and some lie, just for “a pox on them all”, to screw them up, to remain below the predatory radar.

      what do you not get? FUBAR is the majority consensus, just waiting for a plausible action plan.

  • eyesofgod

    Trust is a key issue today. When I was young (1940s), little children (aged 4 and 5, e.g.) would run freely in the neighborhood, unmolested. When we ran out of a food staple, we simply went next door to borrow it. Doors were locked only when we left for vacation. When someone said they’d be somewhere at a certain time, they were there–in the understanding that if they were not, no one would trust their word thereafter. Nowadays, people routinely just blow it off when they don’t show up at all–no excuse given, no apology offered. What has happened to integrity? Various forces cause this loss of trust and personal integrity. It is easier to trust those we see on a very regular basis, those we depend on. We hold each other accountable. Small human communities were always like this. The current divide-and-conquer separate personal households, in environments where people are very mobile, work against this cohesion. These days, many of us barely know our neighbors–and often for good reasons. We need to restructure our living arrangements to where we can live very close to those we know and trust and love. We need to re-create our social physical environments to where they are comfortable and enticing meeting places. We must break our dependence on Big Corporate and governments by these means, including by growing our own food and creating our own group off-the-grid utilities. These and similar means will work toward bringing back trust.

  • tom

    Human beings evolved to live in groups (families, clans, tribes) of probably 100 or fewer. Thus our instincts are actually very simple and clear: trust members of the group; distrust all others. Unfortunately those instincts don’t serve us well in a society of hundreds of millions or billions – especially when some people make a lifetime study (and great quantities of money) out of finding ways of cheating us into wrongly trusting them.

    • Bill Ross

      If we refused to allow them to breach our personal sovereignty, then they could not slice and dice portions of our lives and affairs to appease others (and themselves). Matters would simplify immensely. Democracy could not fight over pieces of someone else’s lives (pie), democratic excesses (eg: Nazis) would be controlled and we could all be on the same common interest page, living in peace.

  • The fact it is so easy to disprove much of what the msm shovels out, makes me wonder why anyone believes a word they publish. It just goes to show, so long as the politicians continue to pass legislation to dish out more and more money (and I use that term very loosely), the sheep will continue to march along blindly.

  • disqussted999

    “Four in 10 Americans say they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust and confidence in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly.”–Wow!!…well, that means that 40% of this country is still brainwashed, braindead, willfully ignorant, or makes their living from the mainstream media, ie, the Ministry of Truth, as Orwell would call them, the Propaganda Arm of the Executive branch. I, too, have a great deal of confidence in the mass media to report the news exactly as they are told to.

  • Danny B

    Oh Great Bell, I haven’t been around much. I’m glad to see that you are still on track. I found an excellent article that I want to post. We have all heard about all the “tools” that the FED has at it’s disposal. That toolbox is full of rusty, useless tools. http://www.businessinsider.com/federal-reserve-paper-on-the-replicability-of-economic-studies-2015-10
    Keep up the good work. Dan

    • Joelg -still dissed by disqus

      The Congress should do to the FED what they did to the Export-Import Bank, and more. The FED is a de facto Soviet-style Central Planning Politburo for the Money Supply that is owned by the private banks via the Legislative Blessings of USA.gov. Revoke these mandates, which the Congress can do, and let the FED be more a banker’s club devoid of Policy-Making mayhem of the boom and bust variety. The Country would be better off if the FED was an economic discussion group dedicated to research (e.g. replication of studies), and devoid of Policy Implementation. Less Monetary Politburo and more of the messy mechanics of the Free Market.

  • Joelg -still dissed by disqus

    The MSM propaganda machine and the professional elite is only one slice of the larger societal pie. People are right not to trust those who are mainly self-serving and do not deserve to be trusted. It is a healthy sign, this lack of trust, as it shows people are waking up from the Matrix. Lack of trust should not be viewed as a problem, in this case. All evidence points to people still trusting those whom they feel are trustworthy. Society will not collapse because people no longer trust the liars. Celebrate this as a positive.

  • Guy Christopher

    Nothing says ‘I don’t trust anyone’ like swat teams taking out a kid in a Halloween costume:

    http://eagnews.org/swat-descends-on-co-school-over-students-halloween-costume/

  • Danny B

    Oh Great Bell, you already know that I am a neo-luddite. Efficiency is killing job niches at a very fast pace. I have found a new scenario that I think you should take a good look at.
    http://www.energeticforum.com/280956-post1026.html

  • Hey you

    Yes, the society will tear itself apart.
    In fact that is what is happening. The will be secessions from the USA Federal system shortly, like in 3 to 4 years. It is probable that the USA will split into several regions. It is surprising that has not already started. My guess is that Utah goes independent first.

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