The widely held perception that journalism is the least trustworthy of the professions, scraping the bottom of the honesty barrel somewhere between politicians and estate agents, has began to show signs of crumbling.
A survey by pollsters YouGov placed broadcast journalist very near the top of the list of professions “the public trust a great deal or a fair amount,” proving the stereotype to be a conditional one.
BBC News, ITV News and Channel 4 News journalists collectively elicit a great deal of trust from 81 per cent of the population, and not very much at all from 17 per cent, giving the profession a “net trust” value of 64. This placed them just below family doctors, trusted by 86 per cent of respondents, and above head teachers with 79 per cent.
Broadsheet journalists are trusted by 65 per cent and distrusted by 34 per cent, earning a net trust value of 31. Local newspaper journalists follow closely with 60 per cent trust and 38 per cent distrust, a net value of 22. However, this higher status was not conferred upon every type of journalist, as the mid-market and red-top newspapers drew negative values of -26 and -69 respectively.
The Daily Mail and Daily Express journalists are trusted by 36 per cent and distrusted by 62 per cent, on par with leading Liberal Democrat politicians. Tabloid journalists remain firmly at the bottom of the league, even below estate agents, with trust at 14 per cent and distrust at 83 per cent.
Estate agents, conversely, are trusted by 16 per cent and distrusted by 82 per cent, giving them a net trust value of -66.
Politicians fared only marginally better, with leading Tories at -58 and Labour ministers at -49.
Peter Kellner, author of the survey, said those who wielded power, or aspire to it, were less trusted than those who seek to monitor or control it.
“So national politicians European Union officials, civil servants, and company bosses score far less well than pressure groups, judges and upmarket and TV journalists.” “People seen as self-servers or axe grinders are trusted less than those thought to operate in the public interest. Again, bad news for national politicians, company bosses, and also for estate agents, car dealers and journalists on red-top tabloids; better news for teachers doctors, bobbies and people who work in charities.” The YouGov Trust survey was carried out on behalf of the Daily Telegraph.
By Wale Azeez