Comments about ‘Matthew Sanders: Imploding trust in America's institutions’

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Published: Friday, May 17 2013 6:00 a.m. MDT

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Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

One more thing. The role of civility is key. Instead of shrill voices constantly barraging us reference how the "other guy" is horrendously evil and/or hopelessly inept, we need to re-install the concept of "loyal opposition" - that we can disagree with folks on key issues yet still acknowledge their intelligence, good intent, and their ability to be loyal Americans just as we perceive ourselves to be.

Pleasant Grove, UT

Since good citizenship requires correct information, this may be a good time to evaluate the credibility of our media sources. There were a few who reported early on that the administration was lying about Benghazi, and they turned out to be right. Other news organizations were incurious, or have even been helping with the cover-up. We get to decide who deserves our attention in the future. If we keep on paying money for a lousy product, that's what we'll end up with.

Hayden, ID

Excellent article! Should be mandatory reading in every news room, school and government office in America. Is there any question that America is going in the wrong direction? Peter Drucker said, "Management is doing things right but leadership is doing the right things". Obama is neither a leader or a manager and these scandal eruptions and this article delineating the effects prove it. Next question; can we survive 3 more years?

Fruit Heights, UT

Mr Sanders,
The people who came together into what is loosely described as the tea party actually followed the four steps you expound (to some success I note, particularly in the 2010 elections). As a GM at Deseret Digital, you might find it useful to review how the Deseret News portrayed these tea party minded citizens, practicing what you preach, from 2010 through the 2012 elections - particularly during the Utah 2012 primaries. Did you extol them for practicing good citizenship? Review the coverage, you might get an inkling of why 60% of people don't trust the media.

American Fork, UT

The imploding trust of which you speak is exacerbated by, but not caused by these 'scandals'. This editorial was not written after watergate, for example, because back then people didn't feel the need to scream at government for the sake of screaming. These days, we've become too lazy and short sighted to really allow ourselves thoughtful discourse on government, and too greedy to let someone else have something without branding it an entitlement. We sit and bemoan our lot as if these are foundation shaking events and how can we survive the next three years, etc? We'll do just fine. It's too bad people will spend so much time yelling about it.

Hayden, ID

@ Hutterite. You might try living in Cuba. I hear people there are less "greedy". But on the other hand if you yell at the government and demand it be accountable, they come and take you away.

conservative scientist
Lindon, UT

The Graph "confidence in public institutions" has incorrect information. The "average" at the end simply states the "Republican" responses and not the average of the Republican and Democrat lines. It would be nice if this could be fixed to give more accurate information.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Distrust, blah blah. Americans have always distrusted their institutions, and rightly so. Mark Twain said, "America has no native criminal class, except Congress." And that was 150 years ago.

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

The history of American distrust of government started only 20 years ago?

Saint George, UT

Pontius Pilate asked the question, "what is truth?" Jesus was killed for telling people the truth. Everybody understands 'political correctness' but in reality it is a euphemism for not telling the truth. The media values 'freedom of speech', but aren't willing to state obvious self-evident truths, such as was written in our Declaration of Independence over 200 years ago. Deseret News has readers who don't understand the constitution, don't believe in God, believe that Socialism or communism are superior to Capitalism, support war, promote confiscatory taxation, demean work, disdain charity, abort babies, and a host of other ills. How can you educate them through the media? You do it by stating the truth and not elevating fraudulent arguments as if it is meaningful discussion! If you want to be trusted, don't be afraid to stand for something. Just standing for 'freedom of speech' is quite meaningless if we don't have those in the media who understand the difference between 'freedom of speech' and someone's right to yell 'fire' in a crowded theatre. One informs, the other causes fear and panic. Deseret news, inform!

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

The strength of America’s institutions is not in imperfect individuals who occupy government office by the will of the people. They come and go as do detractors and pundits.

Imploding trust is neither an accurate or helpful term in understanding public moods that are more the product of partisan sentiments than deeper wisdom. America has weathered many such disconcerting phases that call for cooler heads to prevail. They always seem rise to the surface just when the shouting is at its loudest.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Implied in some of these comments is the notion that one side (or political persuasion) has a monopoly on truth. This is ludicrous! We can cherry pick until the cows come home all the lies, scandals and imperfections found on both sides… this proves nothing other than we are all flawed creatures.

What I find most troubling in our current political environment is how partisans are so easily credulous and willing to give a pass to those on “their side” and yet turn-on-a-dime into Sherlock Holmes on judgmental steroids towards those perceived to be not on their side.

A healthy skepticism combined with balance and perspective seems to be in short supply these days, and that may turn out in the long run to be far more corrosive than any one scandal.

@Twin Lights – well said!

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Well said, Tyler D.

Charles H. Green
West Orange, NJ


With one glaring exception, a good article. My business focuses on trust, so I very much share your concern and interest ni the subject.

The exception: You join the country in condemning the press – but you are contributing to the problem! Here's what I mean.

The AP issue is Big. The IRS issue is NOT. The IRS is charged BY LAW with deciding whether applicants for 501(c)4 organizations are legitimately tax-exempt. They are supposed to be for "social welfare," and NOT political, b/c they can make contributions without naming donors. Hence they're the perfect way to evade campaign finance limits.

Immediately after the Citizens United decision, applications for 501(c)4 status jumped. It so happens that the increase in applications was predominantly from the right, not the left. It is the IRS's job to ensure that the designation is valid.

Certainly the IRS should not have blindly targeted anyone, but the sin is much more akin to profiling by cops than what you suggest. You make it sound like J.Edgar Hoover pulling tax returns for heightened scrutiny.

That, I suggest, is irresponsible journalism – they very thing you claim to decry. I call foul.

Cedar Hills, UT

News Flash to liberals and their lap dog media!!! There never was ANY trust in the this administration from the jump!! Conservatives had this cat figured from the day he took office and we haven't been wrong. Barack is as corrupt a man as has ever lived in the White House and it really illustrates his core political style - the Chicago style - which is do ANYTHING to get elected and do ANYTHING to pass your legislation and just assume your lying tail will be covered by your buddies in the media. This arrogant man has become - I think - reckless and doesn't think he can ever get caught but his luck is running out. Barack has been used to his silly spin stories to carry the day but Jay Carney is finding it impossible to run the spin machine with so many irons in the fire. Nixon was a saint compared to Obama.

m.g. scott
clearfield, UT

I've always been very skeptical of Presidents and usually have found my skecpticism justified. In my lifetime just about every one has let the country down at some point in their administration. I may be wrong, but my gut tells me that some of the posters would be much more critical of this President if he were a Republican. Republican or Democrat, Obamas record should be seen for what it is. Namely, medicore at best and damaging to the country at worst.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

On June 26, 2011, Lois G. Lerner, Director, Exempt Organizations for the I.R.S. gave the Barack H Obama Foundation tax exempt status retroactive to April 30, 2008. The "Applicant" was "Roy" Obama, Barack H. Obama's half-brother.

The PDF of that letter is easily found on-line using DLN (Document Locator Number) 17053152367041.

Was it legal to give tax exempt status retroactively? Was it ethical to give special treatment (less than thirty-days) to "Roy"?

Did "Roy" answer the same questions asked of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status? Has the Barack H Obama Foundation been audited by the I.R.S. to show that it complies 100% with the rules and regulations of a 501(c)?

Would President Obama like to explain exactly how his half-brother got such an exemption?

Would explain why we should believe a word that he says about "not knowing"?

Los Angeles, CA

Poorly written piece.

Sanders states Obama "excused" the IRS Director, and then in the following sentence says, "The justice department sought to excuse its brazen, secret gathering." Actually, Obama asked for the resignation of the IRS Director, but the juxtaposition of the sentences is confusing.

Sanders repeats the false talking points that the Administration specifically blamed a video for the Benghazi attack, yet they did not. They blamed the video for the uprising in Cairo and the CIA and others believed the Cairo uprisings inspired/prompted a spontaneous attack in Benghazi.

There is little truth being reported in DN anymore. Much of it is mere regurgitation of conservative blather.

Durham, NC

@Wastintime -couldn't agree more. It is so frustrating the constant regurgitation of talking points... very loosely based on facts. It wasn't until decades after Bay of Pigs and Watergate when documents were declassified that we came to a better understanding of the truth. We still have very little on Iran-Contra or the WMD snafus.... we will have to wait until time has passed enough for those documents to declassify.

At this point, anything and everything is conjecture. I applaud the quest for full disclosure on these... but because of security reasons answer may be long in coming. What we no about Libya is part of the attack was on a CIA compound. This being the case, there is no way we will have the full story there without disclosing the mission there of that CIA facility. That simply isn't going to happen.

So until that point.... opinions will vary wildly, much based off of half facts and in some cases totally politically driven rhetoric. The fact that half this government spends the majority its time trying to discredit the president rather than the peoples business is most frustrating.

A budget would be nice.

Durham, NC

@mountainman....."Obama is neither a leader or a manager and these scandal eruptions and this article delineating the effects prove it. Next question; can we survive 3 more years?"

Did you even look at the charts? Did you happen to notice when public trust went from trending positive to a negative free fall? I am guessing by your statements, you completely blow that data off and only read what you waned to see. take another look... and I know you will not like when trust was at it highest.

We have a huge trust issue in both our public and private institutions. It used to be that you put in your years with your company, and the company in turn took care of you. That contract has been broken for the most point... loyalty is gone.

The encouraging things though is trust in religious leadership is almost the same regardless of political leanings, and positive.

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