Edelman Study Urges CEOs to Lead as Trust in Government is Low; Trust Index Way Down in U.S.

The start of the year means many things: new goals, fresh opportunities and, of course, the Edelman Trust Barometer.

For the past few years this indicator of global attitudes has been a sobering read. The 2013 report was called “Crisis of Leadership.” The 2017 report was subtitled “Trust in Crisis.” This year’s tome seems slightly less depressing; its subtitle is “The Battle for Truth.” In short, trust in U.S. institutions (see middle chart) fell the most, trust in China’s institutions rose the most.

With the rise of social media and branded newsrooms, an often-cited section of the report in PR circles is the one that looks at trust in media. On that count, though, this year isn’t all bad. The 2017 mark for trust in media in what Edelman calls “the general population” was 43%. Although that’s a low mark—nothing is lower, actually—the 2018 grade is exactly the same, 43%.

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