Enough already with The Edelman Trust Barometer!
While I have enormous respect for the amazing thought leadership the Edelman Trust Barometer generates I must say that, as is the case with most surveys, indices and rankings, it pretty much tells me what I already know. And, this year is no exception: the barometer reports confidence in CEOs is at an all-time low. Yawn.
I think it’s time to unleash the bizarro world version of the Edelman Trust Barometer. I call it, drum roll please, the Peppercom Distrust Barometer. And, unlike the original, our barometer doesn’t focus on lack or trust but, rather, explores whether there is any living person who still engenders trust.
Here are our initial findings, sorted by category. Note: the results reflect a sampling of street vendors, homeless people and New Jersey Transit train conductors, who were surveyed during a rain storm earlier this week. Our single question was both pointed and provocative: Who do you trust (fill-in the category). Here are the results:
1.) Entertainment: Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke. Betty White finished a distant third. Leo, Brangelina and the rest didn’t even register a blip.
2.) Sports: All National Hockey League players. These toothless, facially scarred nabobs of the North easily outranked their higher paid, egomaniacal peers from the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. Note: Derek Jeter finished a surprising 10th after Tonya Harding and Barry Bonds. So much for the captain.
3.) Politics: Any descendant of Theodore Roosevelt. Our respondents not only distrust ALL living politicians, they also suggested Peppercom rename its distrust survey in honor of Richard M. Nixon, the prototypical sleazy politician (note: our board of advisers is currently reviewing the suggestion).
4.) CEOs: Again, respondents went the Grim Reaper route, naming Steve jobs as the most trusted CEO. The late, lamented Jobs was followed by Mother Theresa, who apparently held an honorific title with the Roman Catholic Church circa 1980. (Note: the Church itself didn’t fare as well. In fact, the last 31 popes finished at the bottom of the CEO list alongside Carol Bartz of Yahoo, Chainsaw Al Dunlap of Sunbeam infamy and, of course, Dennis Kozlowski and Ken Lay.
5.) The media: Local traffic reporters such as Katie McGee of WCBS-TV in New York were listed as most trustworthy. Not surprisingly, meteorologists, Bill O’Reilly and Katie Couric finished dead last.
The Peppercom (nee Nixon) Distrust Barometer will be published annually, and is intended to shine the spotlight on those few individuals, living or dead, on whom we can still count.