Only One in Five Say They Trust Journalists to Tell The Truth

Ipsos's veracity index finds that trust in journalists has remained low for the last 25 years.

It's not true that trust in journalists has declined sharply in recent years. Trust in journalists hasn't declined, it's been low for 25 years at least, according to the nation-wide face to face surveys carried out by MORI (now Ipsos) since 1983. In 1983 19% of the British public said they trusted journalists to tell the truth. Now, 19% again. In every one of the last six years overall trust in journalists has been at 18%, plus or minus the usual margin of error of 3%. These figures come from the annual study of around 2,000 adults aged 16+ across Great Britain.* In November 2008 government ministers (24%) and politicians in general (21%) just come ahead of journalists at the bottom of the table of sixteen occupations measured. At the top of the scale, nine in ten people said they trust doctors (92%), an occupation which has hovered at this level of trust over the decade. It's been nearly ten years since the conviction of Dr Harold Shipman, murderer of more than 200 of his patients. Teachers (87%), professors (79%), judges (78%) and clergy (74%) completed the top five of those the public rated as the most trustworthy. Sir Robert Worcester, Founder of MORI, said "It is a media myth that people are losing trust generally. In the 25 years that MORI has measured the public's view of the `veracity' of these types of people, most have remained stable. Doctors are up 10 points, teachers up 8, civil servants up 23, trade union officials up 27 and Government Minister up 8. The only group down by more than five points is the clergy (down 11)". In a different survey, however, 9 people in 10 who are readers of the Daily Telegraph, of the Times, of the Guardian, say they trust their own newspaper to tell the truth as do two thirds of Mail and Express readers. Over half (55%) of Mirror readers say they trust their newspaper, but only three in 10 of News of the World and Sun readers say they trust their newspaper to tell the truth at least "somewhat". While nearly a quarter (24%) of men say they trust journalists to tell the truth, only 15% of women do and while 22% of 55-64 year olds say they trust journalists to tell the truth only 15% over 65 do. A quarter of ABs (those in professional and managerial classes of the country) say they trust journalists to tell the truth but only one in six (18%) of people in the working classes trust journalists, but then they're much more likely to read the red tops. Computer Tables (PDF; 877K) Veracity Index for 2008 (PDF; 109K)    Technical Note  Ipsos interviewed a representative sample of 2,029 adults aged 16+ across Great Britain in 210 sampling points, on its Public Affairs Monitor Omnibus study. Interviews were carried out face-to-face, in home, using CAPI (computer assisted personal interviewing) methodology. Fieldwork was from 13-18 November 2008. Results have been weighted to the known GB adult population profile.

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