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TODD SMITH — American trust erodes for Congress, tech leaders


The public gives high scores to military leaders, public school principals and police officers on empathy, transparency and ethics, yet they rate members of Congress and leaders of technology companies lower, according to a new Pew Research Center report that examines public confidence in eight groups of people who hold positions of power and responsibility in America.

The new survey looked at trust in members of Congress, local elected officials, K-12 public school principals, journalists, military leaders, police officers, leaders of technology companies and religious leaders. It probed public views about several aspects of confidence in performance and outlook, such as whether these groups care about people, handle resources responsibly or provide accurate information to the public.

The survey of 10,618 panelists, conducted in late 2018, on Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, found that a considerable portion of the public give people in these powerful jobs low ratings when it comes to behaving ethically, dealing with ethical problems in their ranks and admitting mistakes. Half or more of Americans think these people act unethically at least some of the time, ranging from 50% who believe this about military leaders to 81% who feel members of Congress act unethically “some,” or “all or most of the time.” Additionally, 77% believe this about the leaders of technology companies and 69% think this about religious leaders.

Generally, the public has the most confidence in the way K-12 public school principals, military leaders and police officers operate when it comes to caring about people, providing fair and accurate information to the public and handling resources responsibly, according to the Pew Research Center. Some 84% think principals care about the students they serve “some of the time” or “all or most of the time.” Some 79% think police officers care about them at that level of frequency, and 73% have the same level of confidence in military leaders. The public places somewhat lower – but still relatively high – levels of confidence in religious leaders, journalists and local elected officials.

“Trust is not an on-off proposition for Americans,” said Lee Rainie of Pew Research Center. “They have calibrated and nuanced views about different groups and the way they conduct themselves. What gnaws at them most is a sense that those who hold positions of power and responsibility don’t act ethically as often as they should or face serious consequences when they are caught doing wrong. They also have a sense that many of these key actors don’t admit their mistakes and take responsibility for them.”


Key findings:

Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party are less likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners to believe journalists perform key parts of their jobs “all or most of the time” or “some of the time.”

Black Americans and Hispanics are more skeptical than white people about the performance of police officers.

Members of Congress and leaders of technology companies do not enjoy the same level of public confidence as other key groups when it comes to several performance attributes.

The public gives relatively high marks to all eight groups when asked about a key mission of each group, with military leaders ranking the highest and members of Congress the lowest. 

Partisan gaps apply to people’s judgments about military and religious leaders; Republicans are more positive than Democrats.


Snuffed Mic: Media Companies Extinguish E-Cigarette Ads

CBS, CNN and other major media companies are snuffing e-cigarette from their airways, as the death toll from a mysterious vaping-related illness continues to climb and health regulators across the world pull flavored vaping products off their shelves.

CBS decided to stop taking future e-cigarette advertising, a spokesman confirmed to CNBC. The decision comes nearly a week after CNN told The Daily Beast it would no longer allow vaping products to advertise on its network. CNN said it would reconsider the policy if research shows vaping products are not harmful.

CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia is also dropping e-cigarette advertising from its other networks. That includes cable channels TNT and TBS, which have both run ads for vaping company Juul in recent weeks.

According to ad measurement company iSpot, more than 20 networks have run Juul ads in the past few weeks, costing more than $2.2 million for more than 900 airings.

Last week, CNBC reported that Juul planned to continue running its “Make the Switch” ad campaign even after the Food and Drug Administration accused the company of illegally advertising its nicotine pods as a safer alternative to cigarettes. Companies can’t advertise their products as less harmful than cigarettes without the FDA first approving the claims, and Juul has not yet submitted an application with the FDA, according to reports.

Federal regulators and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have opened multiple probes reviewing Juul’s advertising and other practices. Health officials announced plans a couple of weeks ago to pull flavored e-cigarettes off the market while foreign regulators took aim at the industry.

At least nine people have died (as of this writing) and more than 500 people have become sick from a mysterious lung illness doctors have traced back to vaping, according to state health agencies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors say it resembles lipoid pneumonia, a specific type of pneumonia that occurs when oil enters the lungs.

Pulling these ads is the right prescription for a healthier path!

» TODD SMITH is co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Deane | Smith, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm – based in Nashville, Tenn. – is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, follow him @spinsurgeon and like the ageny on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deanesmithpartners, and join us on LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/company/deane-smith-&-partners.


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