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Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero.

Tall order for media and business

It is reassuring to know that the military is held in relatively high regard, particularly since that would not have been the case during the Vietnam era. General David Petraeus and General Colin Powell deserve credit for an "assist" here, but the operative word here is "relatively."

What should disturb any concerned citizen is the dismal regard in which the other "estates" are held. It is difficult to see how a community, a nation, indeed the world can function if most individuals do not have a high regard for government, for the media or for business; in the last two categories, only five percent of those surveyed expressed a "great deal" of trust in media or business leaders.

Of course, no single factor is responsible for this demotion in status, and no single factor is going to raise the trust and confidence that the population is prepared to place in non-military institutions. But I can state with absolute confidence that the ratings of these entities will NOT rise unless they individually and collectively do a lot of self-examination and then self-improvement.

This means that elected officials must work together to solve problems; that the media must strive to be as fair and objective as possible; and that businesses should issue products of quality, serve the broader community, and plan and act for the long haul, and not just for next quarter's profits. Tall orders, these, but there is no other way to rebuild trust and confidence.

By Howard Gardner

 |  November 2, 2009; 1:50 PM ET
Category:  Military Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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