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America: ‘Reporters are a Bunch of Liars!’

Gallup Poll HonestyHey, those aren’t my words. As most people who backpedal would say, “Some of my best friends are reporters.” (But seriously folks, as I loosen the knot in my tie, some of my best friends are reporters.)

Gallup polled a litmus test group of ‘Mericans about the most and least trustworthy professionals in this country.

As you can tell by the professionally graded graph to the left, nurses rock. Because you never had a nurse tell you, “Oh no. That rash will stop itching in a couple of days.”

It’s nice to see that with all the ballyhooed press about “bad cops,” that clergy ranks below them on “honesty and ethical standards in professions.” Nice to have hope these days. Below them are: judges, day care providers (?!), nursing home operators (?!?!), auto mechanics, bankers and …

TV reporters, who incidentally rank below lawyers, because they’re known for being pillars of truth, right?

Your friendly neighborhood beat reporter shivering in the dead of winter reporting about dimwits on the highways rank at 20 percent of Americans believe they are honest with “high to very high standards. BTW, members of Congress and car salespeople are in the cellar. Stay classy, gang.

So, why are reporters considered such silver-tongued ne’er-do-wells? Good question. Gallup looked into this (according to Poynter), and this slippery slope of disdain for reporters has been eking downward since 1976.

Seems grim for journalists, but look now at those numbers going back to 1976, when Gallup began conducting the poll. In 1976, 33 percent of those asked gave journalists (TV and print, we’ll assume; Gallup hasn’t returned calls or emails yet) a high or very high ranking. That number dips to 23 percent in 1988, then back up to 30 percent in 1990, back to 20 percent in 1994, and it stayed in the low 20s until 2001. The poll, that year, was taken in November, and 29 percent of people ranked journalists as high or very high for honesty and ethical standards. The numbers since have gone up and down in the 20s. In 2012, it was at 24 percent.

Candidly, I believe this poll is talking about the gaggle of talking heads on the national news networks. Because that isn’t news — it has become a stump of personal feelings, prepubescent angst and political diatribe. There’s no unbiased reporting. There’s no both sides of a story. There’s no news. It is taking one side of a two-sided, I-am-right-and-you-suck-because-I-said-so, no-one-wins-argument and debating it into the ground.

I have hard time trusting people like that too. They are called “Uncle Gerald” and the occasional “parent.” But I love them, so reporters it is.

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