Who Do You Trust?

Via Glenn Reynolds comes the results of a Harris poll which indicates that the military is the most trusted actor in American society:

A total of 47 percent of Americans said they have a “great deal” of confidence in the military. Some 38 percent of Americans said they had “only some” confidence and 14 percent said they had “hardly any” confidence in the military.

The military was followed in the poll by small business – a new category in 2005 – with 45 percent of Americans saying they had a great deal of confidence; colleges and universities, 38 percent; the Supreme Court, 33 percent; and Medicine, 31 percent.

At the bottom of the survey, released March 2, were law firms at 10 percent, Congress at 10 percent, organized labor at 12 percent, major companies at 13 percent and the press at 14 percent.

This isn’t terrifically surprising. The military has always been one of the most capable parts of American society. The US military not only is the world’s best fighting force, but when the tsunami hit Southeast Asia it was the USS Abraham Lincoln that provided more humanitarian aid than anyone. When Hurricane Katrina had FEMA fleeing, the National Guard and Coast Guard were doing their jobs and doing them well. Especially for minorities, the military often provides the best job training one can get, opportunities for higher education, and a sense of discipline and responsibility that lasts a lifetime.

It’s also not surprising that the media is towards the bottom of the pack there. The media has hardly been a bastion of patriotism. They carried the story of the explosives at al-Qaaqaa as a political bomb against Bush – then dropped the story once it was no longer politically expedient for them. They parroted the ridiculous claims of Guiliana Sgrena who argued that US troops tried to “assassinate” her. They carried the equally ridiculous claim that White Phosphorus shells were the equivalent of using nerve gas. From Jayson Blair to Dan Rather, the idea that the media is simply making stuff up is hardly a paranoid fantasy – they’ve already been caught doing so on more than one occasion as it is.

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