Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In PBS We Trust

By Suzanne Kashuba  sesamest09 05

So you’re flipping through the channels trying to figure out what to watch on TV. Or your little ones are tuned in, as you catch bits of laughter and snatches of conversation from the next room.

It may seem like harmless entertainment. Yet, the choices we make about mass media affect our family’s purchase decisions, how we view the world, and how we talk, think and act.

That’s power!

Each year, independent surveys assess the value of public broadcasting compared to other media choices and public institutions. PBS commissions these surveys because they want to know what Americans really think. The results may surprise you.

Here are some interesting facts about public broadcasting, drawn largely from recent national research surveys:

In 2012, for the ninth year in a row, PBS was rated America’s most trusted institution. Three out of four people say they trust PBS either “a great deal” (26 percent) or “somewhat.” Only 13 percent expressed “a great deal” of trust in the second-most-trusted institution: courts of law.

PBS_Graph_No1-Public-Trust_use this











Americans consider PBS an “excellent” use of tax dollars.
Only military defense outranked PBS as the best value for the American tax dollar. Over two-thirds of those polled (64%) called PBS an “excellent” (20 percent) or “good” (44 percent) use of their tax dollars. Military defense was described as “excellent” or “good” by 73 percent  (31 percent “excellent;” 42 percent  “good”).















PBS is considered the most fair network for news and public affairs. Four in 10 respondents (40 percent) called PBS’ news coverage, investigations and discussions of issues “mostly fair” (when asked to choose among “liberal,” “mostly fair” and “conservative”). PBS outscored all other sources in the “mostly fair” category, including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and FOX News.

A strong majority – 62 percent  – named PBS KIDS the most educational TV/media brand. Second-place Disney was considered “most educational” by 13 percent.



Eighty-eight percent (88 percent) agreed “strongly” or “somewhat” that PBS “is a trusted and safe place for children to watch television.” Just over a third  of respondents agreed with this statement regarding cable (34 percent) and commercial (36 percent) broadcast television.

Most respondents believed PBS programming addresses the following topics “very well” or “well.”

• Access to arts and culture – 67 percent

• Understanding of American history – 62 percent  

• America’s ethnic and cultural diversity – 60 percent  

• Understanding of science and technology – 60 percent

• Improve literacy – 59 percent 

  • Access to a variety of viewpoints – 54 percent 

    • Important political and social issues – 51 percent  

    • Health issues – 51 percent

    Award-winning Children’s Programming

  • PBS’ children’s programs consistently earn more prestigious awards than any other broadcast or cable network.
  • In 2009, for the 12th consecutive year, PBS won more Daytime Emmys for children’s programming than all broadcast and cable networks.
  • “Sesame Street” has won 122 Emmys, more than any other program. The series has won the Emmy for “Outstanding Pre-School Series” every year since the category was created.


    Who’s Watching? The PBS Audience

  • Most American households – almost 70 percent – tune into PBS during an average month.
  • PBS content is viewed on-air and online by nearly 80 million Americans every week – reaching diverse audiences.  PBS’ children’s programs reach over nine million kids ages 2-11 each week.
  • Online audience: PBS.org, one of the most visited “dot orgs” in the U.S., features sites for more than 1,800 PBS television programs, as well as original Web-only content, podcasts and real-time learning adventures.
  • *Information for this blog was obtained from pbs.org


    1. You provide a lot of great information that many people were not previously aware of. Thank you!

    2. All Americans receive a GREAT VALUE with PBS programming, that we can benefit, learn and become inspired by. Thanks