Erosion of Public’s Trust in Government Abating?


In conjunction with next week’s Sunshine Week, Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University have released the results of their annual survey on government secrecy. They’ve conducted the survey each year since 2006, when 62 percent surveyed believed the federal government to be somewhat or very secretive. That percentage grew each year up to 74 percent last year. This year’s figure indicates that perceptions are leveling off, with 73 percent characterizing the feds as secretive. At least it’s stopped growing.

The authors of the study credit the finding that 80 percent of those surveyed agreed with President Obama’s Freedom of Information directive calling for a presumption of disclosure as possibly blunting the rising distrust in government.

In each of the four annual surveys, Americans believe their local and state governments are more open than the feds. And they are more trusting of local public officials. Check out more details here.

Next Monday is Sunshine Week, the fifth incarnation of the national initiative to highlight the importance of open government and freedom of information. Journalists of both old and new media, librarians, non-profits, schools and anyone else who values the public’s right to know are involved. The American Society of Newspaper Editors organizes the initiative, while the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is the primary funder.

Check it all out here.