The good news is that as far as brands go, the ad industry is deemed more trustworthy than much of the media it buys to reach consumers. The bad news is that the ad business, "news media," and "social media" all rank at the bottom of all brand categories American consumers were asked to rate as trusting "a great deal" recently.
“Because trust is central to consumer behavior and brand profitability, we were curious to see precisely where News Media and TV News brands rated when it comes to the value of ‘trust,'" says Brand Keys Founder and President Robert Passikoff, noting that the curiosity was piqued by the 11th wave of an ongoing tracking study Brand Keys has been conducting for MediaPost about news media brands.
"News media doesn’t fare well generally, with TV news ranking third with only a 6% 'Trust A Great Deal' rating," Passikoff notes, adding that radio performed best (14%) and newspapers (11%) in between the news media outlets.
"All the TV news brands saw drops in viewer trust with virtually no differences among the TV brands by gender or political persuasion," he explains.
These types of studies may be interesting, trend-wise but they do not necessarily reflect what people actually do. For example, TV "news" ranks very poorly as being "trustworthy", yet TV news continuous to be among the top three categories of most watched program types. Moreover, TV news ---especially cable news but also the local station reports---are still major moneymakers. Carrying the discussion to other low trust categories, used car salesmen usually rate at the bottom of the rankings but each year people buy 38-40 million used cars and light vehicles from them. And politicians also rate pretty poorly on the same scale yet millions of Americans vote for them in every election---the last presidental election vote count rising to all-time highs.
That is true, Ed. It is true that people buy/do a lot of products they don't trust e.g. fentanyl, junk food, gambling, cigarettes, and certain forms of toxic media. Those products are among the most commercially successful, This does not imply that reform is not possible, desirable, or likely since the economic system does not exist in a vacuum but is undergirded by social license and overarched by the government.