Distrust of political leaders, media and business is sweeping the world

Trust in government is collapsing, especially in democracies, according to a new global survey.

Why is this important: People also don’t believe the media or corporate leaders are telling them the truth, and this suspicion of multiple societal institutions pushes people into smaller, more insular circles of trust.

Details: Government leaders and journalists are considered the least trustworthy social leaders, according to Edelman’s new 2022 global “Trust Barometer”, a survey of 35,000 respondents in 28 countries.

  • A majority of people around the world believe that journalists (67%), government leaders (66%) and business leaders (63%) “deliberately try to mislead people by saying that things that ‘they know are false or rude’.
  • People around the world fear that the media will become more sensationalized for commercial gain and that government leaders will continue to exploit divisions for political gain.

Between the lines: People who live in democracies are rapidly losing trust in those democracies, while trust in authoritarian regimes – in China, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, for example – is growing among people living there.

  • As confidence in democratic institutions declines, doubts about capitalism also grow. Developed democracies specifically lack economic optimism, according to the survey.
  • A trust gap has also widened between wealthy and low-income populations.

What to watch: As people become more skeptical of institutions, they increasingly turn to tighter circles of trust.

  • Throughout the pandemic, survey respondents say trust in people from other countries and people living in other states, provinces or regions has declined, while trust in neighbors and co-workers has increased. .