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Evaluating the media: Trust and the media

PR geekiness - the tools & techniques to gain insights from PR exposure

Friday, September 15, 2006

Trust and the media

Trust has again cropped onto the agenda with the announcement this morning that the Committee on Standards in Public Life have found that politicians have a lower level of public trust than estate agents.

The realities of these property-price inflated days could have the effect of promoting the profile of estate agent; however politicians receive a public mandate to exercise the plans for which they were elected. It follws that if they do not affect their promises then the public will lose trust in their abilities. Without getting into a discussion about whether manifesto promises have been broken and alternative agendas pursued, it is worth appreciating the role of the media in creating or dashing public profile.

John Lloyd, editor of the Financial Times magazine, spoke in his book ‘What the media are doing to our politics’ about how the media's primary objective was to expose and embarrass. Whether or not you support this somewhat cynical view, it is worth considering that the media is becoming more hostile; something I understand which was supported by research undertaken by Echo Research a few years ago.

We should bear in mind that we are only now emerging from a period of relatively benign political opposition. The Liberals and Conservatives were racked with their own internal crises and it is arguable that the media spotted the opportunity to become the unofficial opposition to the government. The relative merits of this are questionable and with a more efficient opposition now in place so they need to re-establish their role as purveyors of impartiality.


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