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A majority of Canadians feel that establishment journalists and reporters were misleading them, according to a newly released global trust index.

The 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer Canada report is part of an annual trust survey by the Trust Institute, a research initiative by the global public relations firm Edelman.

The survey engaged 1,500 Canadian respondents, covering attitudes towards media, politicians and scientists in 28 different countries. 

Overall, trust in Canada was declining with Canada dropping one point from a rank of 53 to 52 in the index since last year. 

When Canadians were asked if they felt “establishment leaders were lying to them,” a total of 55% of people replied that journalists and reporters were purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations. 

That number is 5% higher than last year when 50% of Canadians said the same thing. 

Government leaders had the highest number of people who believed they were misleading them with 60% of Canadians. 

“In a year marked by natural events and geopolitical crises, Canadians maintained neutral trust towards institutions in general; however, significant increases in the belief that business and government leaders are purposely trying to mislead people could degrade our neutral position,” wrote researchers

“When it comes to innovation, concerns about governments’ inability to effectively regulate innovations as well as the fear that science has become politicized is putting innovation at risk.” 

Concerns behind the declining trust in institutions were led by job losses (82%) and inflation (72%).

Additionally, Canadians were more likely to trust their peers (77%), scientists (74%) and professional experts (60%) than journalists (50%) for information about innovations and technology.

More Canadians said they were likely to resort to online research (48%) instead of the national media (47%) for information. 

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the issue of declining trust in the media and blamed “conspiracy theorists” and “social media drivers” for the situation. 

“There is out there a deliberate undermining of mainstream media. There are the conspiracy theorists, and there are the social media drivers who are trying to do everything they can to keep people in their little filter bubbles to prevent people from actually agreeing on a common set of facts,” said Trudeau.

“The way that the CBC and CTV, when they were our only sources of news, used to and Global News used to project across the country, at least a common understanding of things.”