Trust in an age of cynicism

Here is an awesome discussion about an important topic: public trust.

There is an increase of trust combined with gullibility caused by a fragmentation of trust. People trust others like themselves which is a reaction to modern multiculturalism and conflict of identity groups. Also, mistrust has increased because knowledge has increased. The national media informs people of all the bad things all over the world like never before… which has happened simultaneously as local media reporting on communities has decreased.

Many people (especially the older generations) would like to return to the simplicity and ignorance of the past, but the younger generations are more embracing of a complex world. I’ve seen polls that show younger people are less mistrusting of the media and the government. The younger generations are used to dealing with diverse sources of info and used to determining which info is trustworthy.

https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/a-portrait-of-generation-next/

One possible solution is finding a new shared culture that will allow for social cohesion that will bridge the diversity between cultures, between communities, between generations. Et Cetera.

There was a central factor not brought up by anyone in this video. High wealth disparity correlates to high rates of social problems (including growing mistrust). Wealth disparity has been increasing in the US for decades and is at a high point not seen for a century. Accordingly, the US rate of social problems has increased above other countries with lower wealth disparity.

https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/study-bosses-getting-meaner/

https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/10-states-with-ridiculously-low-unemployment-and-why/

https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/the-united-states-of-inequality/

https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/04/17/income-inequality-krugman-dalai-lama/

I just thought of another possible factor: Mean World Syndrome. One example of this is research showing most people (specifically in crowded cities) will walk past someone who is injured or unconscious. People don’t trust others and they realize others don’t trust them. In such mistrust, it’s a major risk to get involved in someone else’s problems or to take responsibility for public problems.

https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/mean-world-syndrome/

This relates to something brought up in the above video. One of the panelists said that when everyone is seeking to blame the other side neither side is willing to take responsibility.

One last point. Distinctions should be made. Even though the (possible) loss of trust has impacted everyone, it’s impact has been different in kind and degree for various demographics.

https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/trust-compromise-science-religion/

https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/republicans-support-big-government-just-as-long-as-republicans-are-in-power/

Mean World Syndrome

The above video is an interview with Michael Morgan who was involved in a recent documentary about violence in media. I just finished watching the documentary. It’s well done, but I was already familiar with some of the general analysis because of other documentaries (such as: The Power of Nightmares). I wish such documentaries had wider viewing. The challenge is that media promoting violence sells better than media criticizing violence.

My only criticism of this documentary was that it demonstrated the effect of violence in media, but it didn’t fully explore why the media focuses so much on violence. There is more to it than just the public likes violence and those producing media are simply seeking profit. I don’t think it’s accidental a world of fear is created by media of violence. Those in power (media owners and politicians) want a world where people live in fear and want a public that is divided because that maintains and increases their power. The mainstream media, as Chomsky and others have pointed out, follows a propaganda model. To be fair, the organization that put out this documentary has other videos touching upon this issue (see: The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of News).

Documentary available here:
http://www.mediaed.org/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=143

Transcript of documentary:
http://www.mediaed.org/assets/products/143/transcript_143.pdf

Wikipedia page about Mean World Syndrome:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mean_World_Syndrome

Here are some video extras from the documentary:

Here are some other related videos also by Challenging Media: