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Trust in legacy media nose dives during the pandemic: survey

Journalists ranked in the top spot for least trusted professions by Canadians according to a new study published by the public relations firm Edelman.

The 2022 Canadian Edelman Trust Barometer says a majority, 61% of people polled said that journalists are “purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.” Distrust in journalists grew by 12% compared to last year.

Canadians also felt other groups are trying to misled them such as Business leaders 60% and government 58%.

The number of Canadians that said they were concerned with “fake news being used as a weapon.”  is at 71%

Trust in legacy media has taken a nose dive and decreased through out the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly half, 57% of Canadians in 2022 said they trust traditional media, from from 71% in 2019.

A majority, 59% of Canadians also agree “people in this country lack the ability to have constructive and civil debates about issues they disagree on.”

Overall trust in the least trusted groups has journalists and reporters sitting at 50%, while only 43% say the trust government leader and a massively low 36% had any trust for CEOs.

More people viewed government and media as divisive opposed to unifying. 45% of Canadians said government did more to divide society and a low amount of only 32% said that it was working to unite people. 

In terms of the media, 44% of people believe it is working to divide people, while only 32% believe it is working to unite them.

“The second year of the global pandemic has put institutions to the test in unprecedented ways. We have seen an increase in the expectations Canadians have for CEOs to lead on societal issues; persistent societal fears which has led to a lack of economic optimism; and the battle for truth, alongside the rise of disinformation.” wrote Edelman.

“Rebuilding trust is the key to societal stability, and to restoring the ability for the four institutions to function well and address societal challenges. Business must recognize that its societal role is here to stay. Canadians want more business leadership, not less.”

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