The chart above shows the summary results of Gallup’s annual survey of the public’s trust in various professions. The venerable polling organization has set out to measure the public attitudes toward the honesty and ethical standards of professions and occupations since 1976. The poll, conducted between December 3 and 12, 1,025, asked U.S. adults, as Johnny Carson’s quiz show didfrom 1957-1962, “Who Do You Trust?” and also “How much?” The survey has never revealed whether and how much any of these groups should be trusted, for trust is often irrational, and based more on perception than reality. If you want to be cynical about it, you can conclude that it only tells us who does the better job of conning those who depend on them.
As in every year for two decades, (with the exception of 2001, when firefighters were on the list after the 9/11 terrorist attacks) nurses topped the list. Before that, pharmacists and clergymen exchanged yearly titles for most-trusted. I have wondered if pharmacists lost votes once “It’s A Wonderful Life” started being shown on the networks every holiday season, with old Mr. Gower shown drunkenly loading pill capsules meant for a sick kid from the contents of a jar labeled “POISON.” However, there isn’t much mystery why public regard for the clergy’s ethics has dived. Continue reading