Unveiling Online Trust: Insights from Pew on Modern Challenges
Welcome to a episode 74 of the TrustTalk podcast where we delve into a discussion centered around the intricate dynamics of trust in institutions. At the heart of this dialogue lies the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank renowned for its commitment to enlightening the public about the prevailing issues, attitudes, and transformative trends that shape our world. Through an array of methodologies such as public opinion polling, demographic exploration, content analysis, and comprehensive data-driven social science research, Pew empowers individuals with valuable insights. Notably, Pew remains steadfastly impartial, refraining from adopting any policy stances.
A focal point of Pew’s ongoing endeavors involves the meticulous assessment of trust levels within various institutions. As we unravel in this new episode, we have the privilege of hosting a distinguished guest, Lee Rainie. A former Director of Internet and Technology Research at Pew, Lee Rainie will guide us through the research undertaken by Pew on institutional trust levels.
Pew Trust Magazine
The 2020 article in Pew Trust Magazine (“How Americans View Trust, Facts, and Democracy Today”) can be found here.
Lee about trusting government institutions
As Americans see it, they see a vicious circle rather than a virtuous circle unfolding. So they’re watching their government and they’re watching their fellow citizens and they see more and more evidence that the government institutions are not performing well, that business institutions are not performing well or churches are not performing well or media organizations are not performing well. And so that fuels their suspicions and concerns about trusting these institutions. At the same time, there are other things going on above and beyond what’s going on online that drive some of these feelings. As I say, the rise of polarization and all of its attendant pieces is a major part of why people are less trusting of each other than they used to be. There’s a sense now that politics is a blood sport. It’s not just argument over policy, it’s an argument about who is evil and who is good. Whether right will prevail or wrong will prevail. So there’s this sense that the people on the other side are not necessarily just policy opponents or partisan or political opponents. There are bad people who, if they take over, are going to make life worse. So the stakes feel higher.
Transcript of the interview with Lee Rainie
YouTube video with interview and subtitles
For those that like to read the subtitles while listening to the interview, TrustTalk’s YouTube channel provides a video of all interviews, below the one with Lee Rainie.