March 20, 2006:
A recent Harris Poll, asking Americans which "institution" they admired the most, the military came out on top, with 47 percent saying they had a great deal of confidence in the military (38 percent had "some," while 14 percent had "hardly any.") In second place was Small Business (a new category, introduced last year) with 45 percent, then universities (38 percent), Supreme Court (33 percent), medical community (31 percent), and so on to the bottom, where we find the media (14 percent), large companies (13 percent), organized labor (12 percent) and, in a tie at the bottom, the legal profession and Congress, each with ten percent.
The introduction of small business as a separate category resulted in predictable numbers. Small businesses are much more flexible and responsive to their customers and employees. A similar break down of media would be interesting, as small operators (especially those on the Internet) appear to have more respect than the more traditional outlets.
What the troops will find particularly gratifying is that Americans think the least about the people who criticize the military the most.