[March 1, 2017] Trust and confidence is a fundamental attribute of leadership. It is the ability to build strong trust and confidence in others that makes a leader and furthermore it is a leader’s credibility that is drawn from those who work in similar professions. That brings me to a story from a good friend of mine who attended a conference last week in Baltimore, Maryland. He had to choose whether he would trust two retired U.S. Marines or a major newspaper reporter who were witnesses in an altercation.
With “fake news,” journalistic bias, purposeful censorship, and errors compounded by more errors we are seeing confidence in the news media decline; a decline that has been going on for several years.1,2,3 Post-election coverage in the U.S. late last year exposed the media’s liberal, progressive ideology (which is okay with most people) but they have infused their ideological views into the news; a violation of their professional ethics and infringing upon American core values (not okay with most people).
An altercation occurred in the lobby of a hotel where the conference was held.4 From my understanding there were several large men pushing and shoving each other and some were yelling. Three of the men were vocal advocates of a local protest group and four others were out-of-town Trump supporters (this sound familiar?). The facts will come out later but that is not the issues here.
At issue – honesty, truth, and credibility – is what underlies this altercation. Why? Because the witnesses (two Marines and a journalist) are giving two widely differing views. On the one hand, the newspaper journalist said the Trump supporters “clearly instigated” the pushing and shoving and were screaming at the peaceful protestors. On the other hand, both retired U.S. Marines said it was the reverse; that the protestors followed the Trump supporters into the lobby and began the altercation by shouting and shoving.
Who should we believe? Do we believe the newspaper journalist because he is bound by a set of journalist ethics and standards? Or do we believe the Marines? I think the answer is not just obvious, but sadly obvious. No one I know would trust the journalist to tell the truth in this circumstance. That is a sad state of affairs because every day is crucial that we be able to believe what is reported to us by the media.
“Trust is a fragile thing. Easy to break, easy to lose, and very hard to get back.” – Unknown
The news media is losing their credibility (I wrote about this several times: links here, here, and here). Through a combination of technical ignorance, incompetence, inexperience, lack of focus, and lazy habits they have demonstrated that there is little fairness in their daily jobs and Americans do value fairness. America needs a free and honest media. Right now, they don’t have it.
My good friend and I trust the U.S. Marines.
[Don’t forget to “Like” the Leader Maker at our Facebook Page.]
- June 1-5, 2016 confidence in Newspapers was 20% (great deal or quite a lot) and on the same dates the U.S. Military confidence was 73% in comparison: http://www.gallup.com/poll/1597/Confidence-Institutions.aspx
- One of the conditions of me referring to the incident was that I keep the names of the witnesses confidential, at least until potential litigation begins – which it has not as of today, March 1st.