BOSTON (CBS) – Here’s a question to get your morning going – how much do you value trust? If you find out a friend or relative has been deceiving you about something important, do you have trouble sustaining that relationship? If a merchant rips you off, will you ever patronize them again? And how many lies does it take before a politician or public figure irrevocably loses your trust?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot since the gas explosion disaster in the Merrimack Valley, which we’re now told will be leaving many people without gas to cook with and heat their homes until mid-November. Those people trusted the gas company to provide them with safe, uninterrupted service, and trusted government regulators to oversee their work. Ok, accidents can happen.
But the failure of Columbia Gas officials to immediately come out and face the music, and the questions now being raised about how well or poorly the state did its job inspecting gas line work, have certainly damaged public trust.
And the pathetic saga of the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination has surely done a number on public trust, from the refusal of Republicans to provide full access to records and investigate sexual offense claims against the nominee, to the games Democrats have been playing with information they have.
We in the news media are acutely aware of how crucial it is to earn and keep your trust, and how badly that can be damaged by slanted or inaccurate reporting.
Yes, trust matters. It’s a fragile thing, and must be handled with care. Because if you break it or lose it, you may never get it back.