The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals the largest-ever drop in trust across the institutions of government, business, media and NGOs. The annual study found that 2016 saw the largest-ever drop in trust across the institutions of government, business, media and NGOs. Trust in media (43%) fell to all-time lows in 17 countries, while trust levels in government (41%) dropped in 14 markets; government is the least trusted institution in half of the 28 countries that were surveyed.
The study was recently released by Richard Edelman, President & CEO, Edelman, to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The credibility of leaders also fell, as CEO credibility dropped to an all-time low of 37%, with declines in every country studied. More than half (53%) of the study’s respondents believe the current overall system has failed them, while only 15% believe it is working. Approximately one-third are uncertain.
The report further says that the cycle of distrust is magnified by the emergence of a media echo chamber that reinforces personal beliefs while shutting out opposing points of view. Respondents favour search engines (59 percent) over human editors (41 percent) and are nearly four times more likely to ignore information that supports a position they do not believe in.
"People now view media as part of the elite," said Edelman. "The result is a proclivity for self-referential media and reliance on peers. The lack of trust in media has also given rise to the fake news phenomenon and politicians speaking directly to the masses. Media outlets must take a more local and social approach," he added.
“The implications of the global trust crisis are deep and wide-ranging,” said Edelman. “It began with the Great Recession of 2008, but like the second and third waves of a tsunami, globalisation and technological change have further weakened people’s trust in global institutions. The consequence is virulent populism and nationalism as the mass population has taken control away from the elites.”
The survey was done by research firm Edelman Intelligence and consisted of 25-minute online interviews conducted between October 13 – November 16, 2016. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer online survey sampled more than 33,000 respondents consisting of 1,150 general population respondents ages 18 and over and 500 informed public respondents in the U.S. and China and 200 informed public respondents in all other countries across 28 markets.