Given the scandals, the lying, and the outright refusal in some cases to govern, it should come as no surprise that Americans find members of Congress the least ethical and honest of all professions.

According to a just-released Gallup survey, 58 percent of respondents said they could trust members of Congress the least, while 84 percent said nurses were the most ethical — the highest of all rated professions.

Gallup noted:

More than four in five Americans (84%) again rate the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as “very high” or “high,” earning them the top spot among a diverse list of professions for the 17th consecutive year. At the same time, members of Congress are again held in the lowest esteem, as nearly 58% of Americans say they have “low” or “very low” ethical standards. Telemarketers join members of Congress as having a majority of low/very low ratings.

Nurses were followed by medical doctors (67 percent rate them “very high”); pharmacists (66 percent); high school teachers (60 percent); and police officers (54 percent — which, frankly, is disturbingly low).

At the bottom going up: Congress (8 percent), car salespeople (8 percent — with a “very low” rating of 44 percent compared to 58 percent for lawmakers); telemarketers (9 percent); advertising executives (13 percent); and stockbrokers (14 percent).

Just so you know, journalists are in the middle; 33 percent rate journalists as “very high” in ethical standards. Also troubling: Just 37 percent rate clergy as “very high.”

Nurses, however, have been rocking it in terms of high ethics ratings.

“With the exception of one year, 2001, when firefighters were on the list after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, nurses have far outpaced all other professions since they were added to the list two decades ago,” Gallup noted. “Before 1999, pharmacists and clergy members were frequently the most-highly rated professions for their ethics.”

A series of sex abuse scandals — mostly in the Catholic Church — have likely harmed ethics ratings for clergy.

As for journalists, a “33 percent very high/high rating is not outstanding relative to many of the other professions,” Gallup noted. However, “it marks a 10-percentage-point increase from two years ago and now matches their record high, last recorded in 1977.”

Could it be that the rise of independent media (like us) is having an overall positive effect on how the public views journalists and journalism in general?

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