Trust in United States institutions down dramatically, survey finds

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The lack of faith in media has also led to an inability to identify the truth (59 percent), trust government leaders (56 percent) and trust business (42 percent). Trust among the informed public plunged 23 points to 45, making it the lowest of 28 countries surveyed, below Russian Federation and South Africa.

"No country saw steeper declines than the United States, with a 37-point aggregate drop in trust across all institutions". Of 28 countries surveyed, 20 lie in "distruster territory", one more than in 2017.

More than half of Brits worry about fake news, Edelman said, while 64 per cent said they could not distinguish between proper journalism and fake news. "Failure on their part to act risks further erosion of trust and therefore public support." said Ed Williams, chief executive of Edelman UK.

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.

One country where trust is rising is China, which now finds itself atop Edelman's Trust index for both the general population and the 'informed public.' In contrast to the US, faith in government is leading the overall upward trends. In the USA, it fell 14 points to 33 per cent.

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Richard Edelman, the company's president and CEO, said on CBSN that trust in the media has declined because "people are looking for objectivity and seeing opinions, and on social and search, they're seeing such of a difference of opinion that they can't get [anything] fact-based". "The root cause of this fall is the lack of objective facts and rational discourse", he continued.

Edelman's report follows Facebook's decision to tweak its algorithm to favour more personal content rather than news, promoting posts from family and friends ahead of those from businesses, brands and media less prominent. That puts it at the lowest of the 28 countries surveyed, below Russian Federation and South Africa.

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

"Leaders are going directly to the people, bashing the media as inaccurate and biased". In France, the year which saw the rise to power of President Macron also saw an eight percent increase in trust in government - albeit to a total of only a third of the population.

He explained further, "Record rises in the stock market and the lowest unemployment rates in 10 years have been juxtaposed with stagnant wage growth, and public concerns over jobs, mass shootings, sexual harassment, and police treatment of black youth, not to mention the emerging fears on the global stage over North Korea, job migration and US isolationism". The survey found that confidence in CEOs rose sharply by seven points to 44 percent.

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