Have you watched the news lately? I tuned in yesterday for the first time in over two months, which prompted me to write this article.

If you are currently residing in the US there is a good chance that you are choosing to get your news from either Fox or CNN, depending on your political views. From a trust perspective, does it matter at all which one you watch?



The world’s citizens are suffering not only from 2020 COVID 19 fatigue, but also from the long-term fallout of a host of never ending global trust breaches in government and business. Unfortunately for all of us, the news does not appear to be improving, at least not what’s being reported. Since panic agendas seem to matter more to the media than facts, should we believe what is being reported? In other words, can the media be trusted?

I decided to put the industry to the test using our universal TAP Principles. They have now been accessed by almost 150,000 global professionals. Why don’t you do the same to determine if you should trust the media?


Take a minute to answer “Yes” or “No” to each of these questions:

Truth– Is telling the truth more important to the media than a panic agenda or monetary gain?

Accountability– Is the media holding itself accountable and taking responsibility regardless of affiliation?

Purpose– Is the media engaging others to build shared purpose to avoid short-term wins?

Integrity– Is the media committed to accuracy in pursuit of the facts?

Notice- Is the media seeking out, listening to and reporting on diverse perspectives?

Talent– Is the media rewarding moral character?

Openness– Is the media open and ready to learn?

Transparency– Is the media rejecting hidden agendas?

Respect– Is the media respectful of each other?

Understanding– Does the media not only celebrate its successes but also report on its failures?

Safety- Does the media call out all unethical behavior and make it safe to be honest?

Tracking– Does the media scorecard their performance against their values?


What was your final “Yes” and “No” answer count?

Can you think of any news media that would score a passing grade of 60% or more?

Should we trust the media to report COVID 19 information accurately, or any news for that matter?

And before you go, substitute the word “media” for “government” and then “business” and see if your results change.

Can our trust deficit be fixed? Given the right tools it’s not difficult. Whether it’s the media, government or business, it always begins with leadership, and that remains the greatest challenge, and the biggest opportunity.


Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its 12th year, the program has developed two proprietary trust-evaluation tools, the latest is AIM Towards Trust. She also runs the world largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series. Kimmel is a former consultant to McKinsey who has worked across multiple industries and with senior leadership. She holds a bachelor’s in international affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch.

Copyright © 2020, Next Decade, Inc.



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3 Responses to “Do you (and should you) trust the news?”

  1. October 27th, 2020 at 09:58 | #1

    Hi Barbara,

    My answers tended to be Yes. No, and Some are, to most of the questions. I don’t watch Fox or CNN for the reasons you stated. There are other more nuanced and trustworthy news organizations.

    Other than checking on every single fact that is reported, it’s difficult to know who is telling the truth. I often go to allsides.org to find out what has been reported from the left, the right and those who are deemed to be in the centre. It’s pretty exhausting. You can usually find something that supports what you want to believe, but is it the truth?

    Your article gets to the heart of what many of us are experiencing right now.


  2. October 28th, 2020 at 16:59 | #2

    An excellent application of the TAP tool to today’s news media! This seems like a good time for the Mainstream Media to take stock of how their performance over th last 4+ years has affected their credibility and relationship with viewers. It’s undeniable that this needed analysis could get a strong start by an open and transparent use of our TAP tool, led by their senior management. If they hope to ever regain trust, credibility and reputation, an honest and transparent assessment is Step#1! Great post, and it will be interesting to see where the Media takes this!

  3. Taina
    November 24th, 2020 at 07:00 | #3

    Mainly No, some maybe yes.
    This regards news all over the world these days.

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