Wednesday, August 5, 2009 by Dave Blum
I was reading an article the other day in one of our country’s *quality new sources*: Entertainment Weekly. All right, all right, it’s not the Wall Street Journal. What can I say? I’m a film buff; I like my movie news.
Anyway, the article by columnis Mark Harris was titled “In Jon We Trust” and discussed the fact that, according to a TIME magazine reader’s poll, Jon Stewart has replaced Walter Cronkite as America’s most trusted newscaster, far outpacing Brian Williams, Charles Gibson and Katie Couric. How can that be? Stewart’s show, The Daily Show, is on Comedy Central! Stewart, himself, insists his show is “fake news”, purely for humor. And yet, 44% of the voters in the survey chose Stewart as the man they trust to give them the real scoop!
Harris believes that Jon Stewart earns people’s trust because his viewers “know where he’s coming from.” In other words, he doesn’t hide his opinions. An unrepentant liberal, Stewart is upright and straight-forward about what he thinks and believes–often hilariously so. And people respond to this. The other newscasters (mentioned above), by contrast, work so hard to project a kind of non-ideological unflappability that you can’t help but distrust them. Their neutral objectivity just doesn’t ring true. As Harris writes, “Why would you trust someone who never comes down for or against anything, someone hell-bent on remaining unknowable?”
This strikes me as a very telling statement about the nature of trust. It’s pretty darn hard to trust someone who always “plays all their cards close to the vest”. Conversely, we tend to trust those people who let us in on their feelings, who allow themselves to be a little vulnerable, a little transparent.
Something to consider the next time you find yourself in a position of leadership–be real; express your opinions.