Most trusted living American?

Walter Cronkite was at one time the most trusted man in America, or so they say.

While Walter is still with us, I doubt he would any longer be the most trusted man in America…he retired long ago and most people under 40 (like me) have few or no memories of when he was a newscaster.

Funnily enough none of our recent major political figures seem to me to fit. Bush? Clinton? Trusted, perhaps, by segments of the population but emphatically not trusted by large portions as well. Jimmy Carter? Maybe, I think even his biggest detractors would concede he is trustworthy.

Someone from the fields of education, science, or entertainment? No one name springs to mind.

The best answers I was able to come up with myself were possibly Alan Greenspan who I think is seen as knowledgeable and lacking any partisan political agenda, and possibly some populist political figure, like maybe John McCain.

So who, in your humble opinion, would be the most trusted American, man or woman, alive today? I would be interested in hearing from other Americans and foreigners as well.

Oprah? I say that only half-jokingly.

Ronald McDonald? Everyone eats his food.

True, a lot of people seemed to take her book recommendations pretty seriously…

Maybe someone like her or Katie Couric is the new Walter? Scary thought.

Jimmy Carter’s who sprang to mind upon reading the thread title.

I agree. Thought the same thing.

Paul Harvey is still alive, barely. I would trust him over anyone else.

You all are wrong! Cecil Adams is the most trusted man in America! :smiley:


Well, yeah. I meant BESIDES him. :slight_smile:

I agree, Jimmy Carter. Even Bush, Sr. is quite trusted.

Paul Harvey? Purveyor of half-truths and skimpily researched factoids?

I hardly think so.

Jimmy Carter probably passes the smell test, but I don’t think that many Americans are liable to heed his advice on how to address life.

What I think the OP is looking for is a prominent person who has not, as yet, been painted with the spotlight highlighting apparent (whether logically supported or not) duplicities.

There are few contemporary ones, and, frankly, I can’t think of one right now. All of the current crop of politicians have had somebody spray paint on their visage, and whether we bite for the graffitti or not, some of the others do.

I don’t recall Bozo the Clown ever being popped for anything inappropriate.

If he wasn’t so closely tied to sports, I’d say Bob Costas has a damned good shot.

Oprah’s a good choice; her incredible media empire is essentially based on her perceived integrity and sensibility… she came out of the Texas beef debacle and introduced the world to Dr. Phil McGraw. She’s not terribly partisan (on-camera) and is very gracious, as well as generous. People feel they “know” her.

Donahue, her predecessor, dropped in and out of the talk show game and is seen as too left-leaning.

Katie Couric is a remarkable journalist whose been painted as too much of a upbeat perky imp doing that damned morning show all these years.

There’s been no journalist to assume Cronkite’s mantle – Morley Safer and Mike Wallace come closest in broadcast journalism, but the news segment producers do all the heavy lifting. Maybe the late Charles Kuralt. Also, Linda Ellerbee before she got breast cancer and started slumming in children’s news. Of Brokaw, Rather and Koppel, I preferred CNN’s Bernard Shaw.

The Snopes folks seem pretty trustworthy.

Cecil, obviously.

Oprah, mostly by default.

No way. His fans are very critical and sarcastic people who don’t trust anyone. :wink:

Cecil may be the most trusted man to those who know him, but as the passing of the 30th anniversary of his fight against ignorance has shown, there are still many who have not seen the light.

We’ve lost Billy Graham and Fred Rogers. And Frank Zappa.

There’s plenty of entertainment figures I feel are fairly honest but I can’t say that translates into trust on the big issues. Ditto for sports.

The Catholic Church took a bullet in the credibility over pedophilia.

No academics or scientists with national reknown.

Colin Powell sacrificed his credibility for WMD’s.

Ralph Nader is scary. I think he thinks things are true because he said them.

Rudy Guiliani lied to his wife.

So who are getting down to? Jimmy Carter and Norman Schwartzkopf?

I felt bad that my list doesn’t really reflect anyone with a conservative bent… and then I remembered former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop.

Here’s a man with the integrity and insight into the actual workings of human behavior to stand up to the Reagan “absitinence” administrations and say to the nation, “The best protection against the sexual transmission of AIDS is the use of a condom.”

He dealt with AIDS nonjudgmentally, as a public health issue, divorcing it from morality. He dealt truthfully with the delitrious effects of tobacco.

That’s a man I can trust.

John Madden?

My thought before opening the thread was Jimmy Carter, and I’ll stand by it.

Second Koop.

And another vote for Oprah.

Donald Rumsfeld and Co.

Naw- he’s a Republican stalwart and now a shill for Wal-Mart. Jimmy Carter came to mind before I even opened this. Others:

John Glenn
Jim Lehrer
Dan Rather

Koop is probably a good choice, although again he isn’t as well known as he was, say, 15-20 years ago.

I have to agree with Ringo and Bob’s assesment of Paul Harvey. His open admiration for Sam Walton of Wal-Mart fame borders on sycophancy. I also don’t believe anything he might say about Archer Daniels Midland, he clearly has no objectivity in at least those areas.

I forgot about Mr. Rogers, if he was still alive he would probably be very high on the list.

My personal problem with trusting someone like Oprah and to a lesser extent Katie Couric is that their huge success has been so much based on openly manipulating people’s emotions.

Again, I was too young to see Cronkite in his prime but I get the feeling people trusted him because they knew he would tell them the unvarnished truth whether it hurt them or not. This at a time when Americans were learning they couldn’t necessarily trust those in power to tell them what they needed to know (Vietnam, Watergate).