Monday, March 18, 2013
The most trusted man in America, part 2
I graduated from college in 1969, right at the end of one of the most turbulent decades in our country’s history. During a time when authority figures of all kinds were being challenged, one man (above all others) was considered to be the most trusted man in America:
When I last wrote about Mr. Cronkite,the man who was considered to be the most trusted man in American in today’s world was Jon Stewart, whose “news” is broadcast on Comedy Central.
As a society, we’ve become increasingly cynical over time. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, our “believability ratings” of 13 news organizations (national newspapers, cable news outlets, broadcast TV networks, and NPR) has declined dramatically in the last 10 years. Significantly, there’s a marked difference by politically party affiliation, since Republicans are much more cynical about the news they receive than Democrats. By itself, that may help to explain why Congress currently has the lowest approval rating it has held in the last 40 years.
Since fame is fleeting, you may be interested to know that Jon Stewart is no longer the most trusted man in America, even though his wit and insight on current topics is still dead on. In 2013, the title of “the most trusted person in America” is held by the man pictured below:
His speech at the Democratic National Convention last September was viewed favorably by most people (with the exception of die hard Republicans), but there are a number of other factors that have contributed to his enhanced status with the American public:
1) his willingness not to hate those who tried to destroy him, and thus involve former enemies in his causes
2) his ability to mobilize scholars and funders from around the world to tackle serious problems as part of the Clinton Global Initiative
3) his ability to convey complex matters in language people can understand
4) the “halo effect” due to Hillary’s work as Secretary of State
5) the political right has become even more extreme since the days when Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House, and has far less credibility than it did 20 years ago
If you’ve got the time, reading Clinton’s 2004 autobiography (“My Life”) will give you a better understanding of the man. However, since even the paperback edition of the book is 969 pages long, it will be a formidable task for most people.
It’s more than a little telling that Ken Starr, in 2004, expressed regret for his politically motivated investigations of Bill and Hillary Clinton. It’s also significant that Clinton’s nemesis in Congress, Newt Gingrich, is now considered to be the most disliked politician in America.
You may or may not agree that Bill Clinton is the most trusted person in America, but his life story confirms the fact that all of us can achieve amazing things in life if we don’t let life’s inevitable setbacks get us down. Somewhere, over the rainbow, our dreams CAN come true.