Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip, released the results of his fourth annual “weasel poll” today – and the results are not good for the mainstream media.
According to the wholly unscientific, virtually meaningless poll of 40,000 substantially non-U.S. residents, the New York Times is the fifth “weaseliest” company. Edging out the once-great Gray Lady were “oil companies” at number one, followed by Halliburton, Fox News and Wal-Mart.
In the “weaseliest profession” category, the news media as a whole fared a little better (or worse, depending on your perspective), coming in fourth behind politicians, lawyers and oil executives. So in other words, while most journalists are weasels, it’s still better to be a weasel that works for the New York Times.
Of course this is all in fun – but sobering as well. The erosion of trust between media institutions and the public, combined with the very real problem of declining newspaper circulation, are very real indeed.