Although he anchors the top-rated cable newscast in the nation, Shepard Smith of the Fox News Channel ranks last in a brand-new Reader’s Digest Poll listing the top 100 most trusted Americans.
“The results are revealing, hopeful, and sometimes shocking,” says the Reader’s Digest, which teamed up with the research firm Wagner Group to survey more than 1,000 Americans and discover which individuals and the ideals they represent have earned public confidence.
Smith, anchor of “The Fox Report,” was ranked at No. 100, just below New York Times columnists Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman, who are at Nos. 98 and 99 respectively. But since no other Fox journalist even made the top 100, Smith’s ranking could be viewed as good news for him.
The magazine provides a slideshow of photos and quotes for each person in its ranking.
The quote attributed to Smith is, “I’m a journalist; I run to the fire, that’s what we do.”
The most trusted journalist in the nation is ABC’s Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America,” who ranks 12th overall.
“All [my parents] wanted was for us to be trustworthy citizens,” Roberts said. “And there’s a responsibility that goes with that, and it’s not something I take lightly.”
Despite Roberts’ high ranking, her co-host, George Stephanopoulos, is listed far below at No. 57.
He’s quoted as saying, “People have felt more removed from the political system and I think that is unfortunate, because I don’t believe it’s true. The fact is that every decision does have an impact.”
Other journalists making the top 100 list of trusted Americans are ABC’s Diane Sawyer at No. 25 and NBC’s Brian Williams at No. 29.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who ranks No. 50, said, “Be honest about what you see, get out of the way and let the story reveal itself.”
Cooper’s CNN colleague, Christiane Amanpour, is at No. 56, saying, “You give all sides a fair hearing, and you also make it absolutely clear what the facts are and what the truth is … At least for me, journalism isn’t about ‘on the one hand … on the other.’ In the end it’s about accountability – holding power accountable.”
Scott Pelley, anchor of the “CBS Evening News,” ranks at No. 63, noting, “I don’t think that young journalists realize how similar their job is to the job of a scientist. It’s a very similar sort of thing: you get down to the original information and you test it, and you test it again, and you peer review it, and you test it again – it’s very much like science. Science doesn’t care, by and large, what the answers are. It’s only interested in getting the right answer. And journalism should be very much that way.”
Savannah Guthrie of NBC’s “Today,” is on the list at No. 85, as is her co-host, Matt Lauer, who ranks at No. 87.
Lauer was quoted as saying, “I get letters from women and they say, ‘I love your Roman nose.’ If I weren’t on TV and I walked past that same woman, she’d go, ‘Did you see the beak on that guy?’”
Reader’s Digest noted, “We trust people we know more than anyone famous. We removed the three highest scorers from our list of 100 – which were ‘your own doctor’ (77 percent), ‘your own spiritual adviser’ (71 percent), and ‘your own child’s current teacher’ (66 percent) – to focus on the public figures who resonated with everyone. Still, beyond those scorers, actor Tom Hanks ranked as the most trusted figure in America.”
The magazine also said Sandra Bullock gracefully handled her cheating spouse and adopted a son, earning her the highest score as America’s most trusted woman (63 percent). Legends Denzel Washington (62 percent), Meryl Streep (61 percent) and Julia Roberts (57 percent) helped make movie stars one of the highly trusted professions.
Former President Jimmy Carter ranked as the most trusted politician on the list, coming in at No. 24 overall, and far ahead of current President Barack Obama, who is at No. 65.
Ranking very high on the list at No. 8 overall for trustworthiness is Alex Trebek, host of the TV game show “Jeopardy!”
“I’m curious about everything – even things that don’t interest me,” Trebek said.
NFL quarterback Tim Tebow ranks at No. 40, saying, “Following the crowd is not a winning approach to life. In the end it’s a loser’s game, because we never become who God created us to be by trying to be like everybody else.”