The number of people who view government and media as divisive forces in society grew sharply during the past year, according to Edelman’s 22nd Trust Barometer released today.
Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents living in 24 nations surveyed by Edelman call government a dividing force, compared to 36 percent who view it as a unifying factor.
Media did a little better, chalking up an 11 percent gap between dividing (46 percent) and unifying force (31 percent).
Edelman did not ask the dividing/unifying question in China, Russia and Thailand.
NGOs and businesses reported big increases in the perception that they are unifying forces, according to the Barometer.
Half of those surveyed view NGOs as unifiers vs. 29 percent seeing them as dividers.
Business enjoyed a 14 percent gap between being a unifying (45 percent) or dividing force (31 percent).
More than three-quarters of respondents (76 percent) worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon.
That was up four points among the Global 27 countries surveyed.
Spain registered the most concern about fake news at 84 percent, while the Netherlands showed the least worry at 63 percent.
China posted a nine percent gain to 80 percent in concern about fake news. Russia was up four points to 78 percent and the US was up two percent to 74 percent.