Most Trusted Journalist

>> Thursday, September 24, 2009

This isn't new news this week, but I thought I'd follow up my blog post from earlier in the week about "most trusted brands" with my thoughts on the poll back in August about "most trusted journalists" because I think it rings true with consumer sentiment at the moment.

The poll came out shortly after Walter Cronkite's death, and it asked Americans in the aftermath of losing the first most trusted journalist who would now fill those shoes, so to speak. The answer: Jon Stewart (as has been widely covered, discussed, and debated).

There's a nice review of Jon Stewart's career leading up to this moment from The New York Times here: Whether you are a fan or not, it's an interesting account of the last eight years.

Even fans of Jon Stewart were surprised at first. But when you think about it in the context of current consumer attitudes and perceptions it kind of makes sense.

In many ways trust means being true to who you are, not deceiving people, and telling it like it is. The problem is that main stream news, which wants to be objective, really isn't all that objective anymore. And consumers know it.

Traditional news programming is filled with entertainment, often entertainment affiliated with the host network. Mixed in are the news stories certainly, but they seem to take second seat. The anchors pretend to be objective, but the consuming public is starting to understand where the network biases lie. Objectivity is not what it used to be in the days of Walter Cronkite.

Yes, bias. Enter Jon Stewart. Objective? No way. Biased, yes. But he is perfectly clear about his bias. There's no mistake about it. As a consumer, you know exactly where he stands and he is incredibly consistent and clear about it. You can trust that what he says is true in his opinion. You know where he is coming from and he doesn't hide it.

Very consistent actually when you observe how consumers are looking more and more to each other for help and advice online. The huge surge in user profiles, user rankings, user surveys that are influencing everything from shopping, choosing schools, and even healthcare. We are starting to trust others in situations similar to ours over those who appear to be more objective. Much like the ranking of eBay as the most trusted brand (

Just like Jon Stewart, for many people. Or at least enough people to catapult him to the top of this ranking.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


Anonymous,  September 24, 2009 at 7:36 AM  

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