Features Australia

Trust plummets in US

The same forces are at work in Australia

16 July 2022

9:00 AM

16 July 2022

9:00 AM

Gallup in the US recently released a survey of public trust in the country’s institutions. Not surprisingly, given the policy-making fiasco over the last two and a half years, trust is down across the board. Only the military and small business garner a ‘great deal or quite a lot of trust’ from over half of respondents. Doctors, religious bodies, public schools, the supreme court (before the leaked Dobbs case), unions, the criminal justice system and banks, all scored less than a third. Big business (the woke, virtue-signalling cowards who cave in to cancel culture) came third-lowest of all. The police, at 45 per cent, were third best – a hefty drop over a year, no doubt due to its members’ willingness to be co-opted into the heavy-handed, thuggish enforcement of stupid, irrational lockdown rules. Trust in the presidency was down 15 points to 23 per cent – which makes you wonder if the quarter of respondents who have confidence in brain-addled Biden were smoking something when they were polled. Central bankers – these uber-Keynesian,  money-printing addicts – were lucky they weren’t included because they would not have done well.

Most damning of all, Americans have lost virtually all trust in the legacy press. Newspapers scored 16 per cent (down five points in a year). Television news only 11 per cent (down five points). And members of Congress scored a laughable 7 per cent. And if you roll all these institutions together, the country’s trust in them has gone from just over 50 per cent a little over thirty years ago to 27 per cent today. And Gallup leans left and over-samples Democrats as a rule.

Who can blame people? Our so-called expert class has performed abysmally of late. Worse, it has largely succumbed to the notion that it’s okay to suppress views you don’t like. Professor Gupta at Oxford University with a distinguished chair in epidemiology has a different view on how to respond to Covid that she sets out with two other, world-class epidemiologists in the Great Barrington Declaration. What happens? Ad hominem attacks. Censorship. Of course, it turns out she got just about everything right. Sweden, which went down that no-lockdowns path, has ‘from the start of the pandemic to now’ excess deaths below average in Europe and on the best trajectory. And Australia is soon going to look worse than Sweden, overtaking them on excess mortality per capita early next year. This is what happens when elites won’t even listen to opposing views. Or think about the supposedly top-class journal Lancet whose editor flat out refused for almost two years to run anything that claimed the lab-leak theory was plausible and probably right. Know what? That is now the more likely than not answer. If you act like political thugs and censors regular voters lose confidence in you and your supposed expertise.

Things are even worse with the press because it is so blatantly partisan. The Hunter Biden laptop would have been everywhere if it had been one of Trump’s kids. Instead, a bevy of CIA experts claimed it was Russian disinformation. This was lying or incompetence on a scale that should see them all fired. But nothing happens – except trust in the elites plummets more and deservedly. The US press acts like the palace guard for the Democrats. President Biden can’t even read the teleprompter – he reads aloud instructions such as ‘repeat the line’ as if he were the lead in a Ron Burgundy movie. Meanwhile CNN and MSNBC reporters who would almost fight with President Trump asking surly, probing questions are like sheep with Biden, meekly agreeing to let the President only field questions from pre-arranged reporters. That’s partly why fewer than one in six Americans trusts the legacy media. It is more like a Pravda, or Democrat PR firm than a disinterested fourth estate.

The corollary of this is that the press simply doesn’t move the needle with voters. In 2016, Trump had basically no media endorsements save Fox (and even the daytime part leans Democrat). If you continually cry ‘wolf’ (or ‘Republicans bad!’), people learn to ignore you. (Take note Libs, grow a pair.)

The legacy press is also uncurious and fails to put events in context. How many readers know that if every mass shooting in the US – all of them – were magically ended right now, never to happen again, 99 per cent of US gun murders would still happen? That’s true. Almost all gun murders are of someone murdering someone he (it’s almost always a ‘he’, my pronoun any wokesters out there) knows. With a written constitution and entrenched rights (a set-up I detest and have argued against my whole career) there is virtually nothing anyone can do to change constitutional-rights calls, save hope for different judicial interpretations in future. But the faddish desire to ‘defund the police’ over the last two years has seen a huge increase in the murder rate in US cities. This increase dwarfs the numbers killed in mass shootings. And defunding the police is something that can be fixed through the legislature. Defunding cops has to be one of the dumbest policies implemented in the last half-century – supported, by the way, by all the usual forces of progressive virtue-signalling, including big chunks of US big business. (Look, again, corporate elites at your standing with the public above.) And, of course, by all the leading Democrats including Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.

In Australia, things are not as catastrophic as in the US, but they are bad, and it is wholly warranted in my view. I work in universities and in my view the leadership in all of them ought to be replaced. Their relentless quest for ‘diversity’ (of reproductive organs and of skin pigmentation) is driving out conservatives everywhere. Viewpoint diversity is an endangered species. Nine years of Coalition government and things only got worse. Maybe our Liberal politicians might read that figure of ‘seven per cent trust in politicians’ in the US and start focusing on fighting the culture wars and find some values, beliefs and principles and fight for them. Mark Steyn has long said ‘everything is downstream of culture’. He’s right. We conservatives need a few politicians who agree with Mr. Steyn.

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