Thursday, May 25, 2006

Whom Do You Trust?

For the last few years the Reader's Digest (okay, not the most prestigious of journals) has published the results of an Australian survey into who we trust, conducted by The Leading Edge. According to this report, the survey
was conducted between February 23 and March 1 this year. The Leading Edge surveyed a sample of 1502 adult Australians asking them to rank 100 individuals, 30 professions and 119 brands. Half the sample was asked how they trusted the individuals and professions in the poll and half about the brands and professions they trust the most.

The survey was also covered by Radio National's Life Matters where it was revealed that the professions we trust the most are ambulance workers and firefighters (pilots, nurses and pharmacists take the next few spots). We trust call centre workers the least, who rate worse than politicians. Tellingly, trusted only just above call centre workers are psychics. So it seems their true worth (ie none at all) is recognised by the population at large.

Apart from call centre workers, these results are the same as last year:
The annual survey of trust, now in its fifth year, found ambulance officers, firefighters and mothers were the most trusted professions, while politicians, car salesmen, real estate agents, psychics and journalists are the least trusted. [...] Reader's Digest editor-in-chief Tom Moore said the findings of the most trusted list mirrored those of the wider trust survey. "It is clear from our survey results that many of Australia's most trusted individuals and professions share a generosity of spirit, while on the flipside, those with a low trust ranking are perceived to be motivated by self-interest," he said.

Psychics motivated by self-interest? Who'd credit it? Anthony Grzelka as a self-serving theatre act only in it for the money?

In contrast to self-seeking self-proclaimed psychics, the top three individuals we trust are all scientists: Dr Fiona Wood (former Australian of the Year), Dr Ian Frazer (current Australian of the Year) and Dr Barry Marshall (Nobel prize winner).

EoR encourages Mr Grzelka to try harder. He's sure Mr Grzelka could make it to the top of next year's list. Perhaps by easily winning the James Randi Prize and donating the money to the ambulance workers...

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