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Study Reveals American Trust Crisis With Government, Business and the Media In an increasingly divisive and volatile world, entrepreneurs must focus on building a culture of trust.

By Christine Alemany

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, the U.S. is experiencing a "trust reckoning." Only 48 percent of respondents expressed trust in government, NGOs, businesses and the media, with the global trust index clocking in at 56 percent.

Businesses are now the only institution considered both competent and ethical, earning 61 percent of respondents' trust globally. Simultaneously, trust in the media has reached record lows: Nearly 6 in 10 people believe journalists purposely try to mislead the public.

One factor at the forefront of this crisis is the current "infodemic." An overabundance of information (including misinformation) amid the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for the public to sift through multiple sources to determine whether the information at hand is reliable. Misinformation by omission is another real threat -- when people lack proper context, they are left to fill in the gaps.