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A majority of Americans surveyed believe the US is in the midst of a 'cold' civil war

Published by Business Insider on Wed, 13 Jan 2021

<p><img src="https://static2.businessinsider.com/image/5ff9ba42d184b30018aadee0-1778/GettyImages-1230454096 (1).jpg" border="0" alt="capitol siege trump" data-mce-source="Samuel Corum/Getty Images" data-mce-caption="Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC."></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Over half of Americans believe the US is in the midst of a cold civil war, according to a post-election flash poll from Edelman, the largest public relations firm in the world.</p><p>The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, published on Tuesday, found trust in the government and the media is at an all-time low, according to a <a href="https://www.edelman.com/trust/2021-trust-barometer/">survey</a> conducted from Oct. 19 to Nov. 18. Of the over 33,000 people surveyed, over half believed government leaders and journalists are purposely misleading the public.&nbsp;</p><p>The pandemic, as well as increasing political tensions in the US between Trump and Biden supporters, has led people to question their trust in the government and media. According to the survey, the overabundance of conflicting information online has made it difficult for people to discern fact from fiction, especially when it comes to issues like politics or the COVID-19 vaccines.</p><p><em><strong>Read more: </strong><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/what-to-say-to-workers-who-refuse-vaccination-2021-1">What to say to employees who don't want to get the vaccine</a></em></p><p>Richard Edelman, the CEO of Edelman, said the country is in an era of "information bankruptcy."</p><p>"The result is a lack of quality information and increased divisiveness," Edelman said in the press release. "...The violent storming of the US Capitol last week and the fact that only one-third of people are willing to get a Covid vaccine crystallize the dangers of misinformation."&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><h3>The infodemic has driven a lack of trust&nbsp;</h3><p>Lack of trust in the government and media has been more apparent in 2020 than ever before. Last Wednesday, the US capitol found itself under <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-supporters-protest-riots-live-video-us-capital-under-siege-2021-1'utm_medium=social&amp;utm_campaign=sf-bi-main&amp;utm_source=facebook.com">siege</a> from people who believed without evidence that the election had been rigged. "Murder the media" was <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/06/business/media/media-murder-capitol-building.html">carved</a> into a capitol door during the riot.</p><p>Many of the year's biggest stories happened online first, whether it was the Republican party members meeting <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/plans-to-storm-the-capitol-circulated-on-social-media-2021-1">online</a> to plan the siege on the Capitol or individuals <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-verified-doctors-share-false-info-on-coronavirus-vaccines-2020-5">sharing</a> inaccurate information regarding COVID-19 vaccines on platforms like Facebook.&nbsp;</p><p><em><strong>Read more:&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-get-coronavirus-vaccine-without-skipping-line-2021-1">Young, healthy people have figured out a loophole to get the COVID vaccine without skipping the line</a></em></p><p>The Edelman survey found that 75% of people do not properly vet the information they gather online which causes the internet to act as an echo chamber, only reinforcing an individual's opinion by repeating it back to them without exposure to other ideas or information.</p><h3>More people have faith in CEOs than the government&nbsp;</h3><p>With increasing distrust in the government and media, the Edelman survey shows many people have turned to corporate America for solutions to their problems. 61% of respondents put their trust in business organizations over the government.</p><p>During the pandemic, many companies have come into the spotlight by helping develop vaccines in record time and finding new ways to keep their businesses open or their staff employed.&nbsp;</p><p>Americans expect CEOs to hold themselves accountable for their company's actions to the public. Two-thirds of the survey respondents said they expect CEOs to step in when the government can't fix problems.</p><p><em><strong>Read more:&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/corporate-responses-attempted-coup-pro-trump-mob-stormed-capitol-analysis-2021-1">We analyzed 23 memos from CEOs responding to the US Capitol riot. The most effective messages get personal.</a></em></p><p>"The events of this past year reinforced business's responsibility to lead on societal issues such as upskilling workers and racial justice," Edelman said. "It has also led to new expectations of business expanding its remit into unfamiliar areas, such as providing and safeguarding information."</p><p>Following the Capitol Riots, people <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/tech-leaders-and-public-figures-blame-facebook-twitter-and-youtube-for-siege-2021-1">called</a> for companies like Twitter, Amazon, and Facebook to take action.&nbsp; Companies were expected to monitor and vet sources on their sites, and many took to social media to push for them to ban platforms like <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/parler-offline-outage-amazon-servers-2021-1">Parler</a>, and even <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/jack-dorsey-vacation-capitol-riots-trump-twitter-ban-2021-1">remove</a> the President's accounts.&nbsp;</p><p>Ultimately, the survey finds the only way to regain the public's trust is to guard the quality of information, something that online companies and platforms have struggled with for years.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/many-people-united-states-believe-cold-civil-war-survey-2021-1#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/melissa-maker-clean-your-home-quickly-cleaning-expert-2017-4">A cleaning expert reveals her 3-step method for cleaning your entire home quickly</a></p>
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