23 January, 2018
"The collapse of trust in the United States is driven by a staggering lack of faith in government", the survey said, adding that the remaining institutions of business, media and NGOs also experienced declines.
Ironically, this is happening at a time when the US economy is growing strongly, unemployment continues to edge lower and share prices are booming.
For the first time, the media have become the least trusted of all institutions globally, according to a wide-ranging survey of people's attitudes.
A survey released on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos found trust in U.S. institutions plunged during President Donald Trump's first year in office, dropping below China, and for some respondents, Russia.
The Edelman survey showed a deeper lack of trust in U.S. institutions among the "informed public" or people who are college educated, earn above-average incomes and consume news regularly.
In contrast, the country that saw the biggest trust gains among its citizens was China.
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One country where trust is rising is China, which now finds itself atop Edelman's Trust index for both the general population and the 'informed public.' In contrast to the USA, faith in government is leading the overall upward trends.
Axios said China scored high confidence in government and state-run media, which was matched by increased trust in business as China's middle class grew and as mega Chinese Internet companies like Alibaba and Tencent expand into worldwide markets.
Some of the starkest differences have emerged in the United Kingdom, where the survey finds that social media companies have lost the trust of most of the public. "The root cause of this fall is the lack of objective facts and rational discourse".
"The demise of confidence in the Fourth Estate is driven primarily by a significant drop in trust in platforms, notably search engines and social media", it added.
Business was seen as an agent of change, the survey results said. Sixty-three percent of respondents say they do not know how to tell good journalism from rumor or falsehoods or if a piece of news was produced by a respected media organization.
There was also a revival of faith in experts, with industry analysts and entrepreneurs recording credibility levels of 50 percent or above.
Edelman said it was time social media companies sat up and listened. This was matched by an increased trust in business as China's middle class grew, and as mega Chinese Internet companies like Alibaba and Tencent expanded their global footprint.