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Credibility shifts in response to declining public trust, survey says

January 23, 2013

Public trust in business, government and media leaders has fallen in the wake of financial and political scandals, according to the 2013 edition of the annual Edelman Trust Barometer.

This latest survey found "a very significant crisis of leadership," said Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman. "Leaders are just not seen as leading."

People perceive institutions to be more credible than the people in charge, the survey indicated. While 50 percent of respondents trust businesses to do what is right, only 18 percent trust business leaders to tell the truth — a 32-percentage point gap. Only 41 percent of respondents trust government to do what’s right.

Since people no longer believe leaders will tell the truth, they increasingly turn to other sources of information, such as academic experts or even social media. "The crisis of leadership is leading to people having a very different view of who they may listen to,” Edelman told the Associated Press.

Sixty-nine percent of the informed public group view an academic or expert as a credible spokesperson, while 61 percent look to "a person like yourself." CEOs lag at 43 percent among this group.

Read the full 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer here.


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