PBS: Still Most Trusted Name in News Say Noncoms

Amid cries of fake news, PBS points out that for the 16th year in a row a nationwide survey has found the noncommercial network of stations to be the most trusted institution, not just media outlet, in the country.

That puts it ahead of the courts, the federal government and Congress in addition to other broadcast, cable and digital outlets.

When asked which institution they trusted most, 29% cited PBS, versus 15% saying digital platforms, 14% commercial cable TV and 12% commercial broadcast TV.

At 67% of respondents calling it a good value for their tax dollar, noncommercial TV rated only behind military defense (77%) as a good or excellent value for their tax dollars.

Asked if funding was adequate, almost 90% either said yes or that it was too little. Noncommercial TV has been under budget attack by President Trump, and used to be by many congressional Republicans, but there has been bipartisan support for maintaining that funding even as the President attempted, unsuccessfully, to zero it out.

“For the 16th year in a row, Americans continue to place their trust in PBS and our local stations," said PBS president Paula Kerger in a statement. "Public television is a trusted destination for high-quality news and public affairs programming, and parents turn to PBS for educational media that prepares their children for future success."

The weighted online survey was developed by PBS, but conducted by Marketing & Research Resources, Inc. (M&RR), It was conducted Jan. 3-8, 2019, among 1,015 adults 18-plus.

The margin of error is plus or minus 3.08 percentage points.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.