PBS is by far the most trusted TV news source, NPR listeners show up as the best informed or the second-best informed, and a majority of Americans watch or listen to PBS or NPR on a weekly basis. Americans, as is their habit, dramatically overestimate the amount of money public broadcasting costs them and yet remarkably still want that funding maintained or increased. Most importantly, PBS is not just the most trusted source of news, it is by one reputable study, repeatedly the most trusted institution in America by a country mile. This is a phenomenal success story. PBS and NPR are educating the public (their mission), the public trusts them, and for pathetically little money in both absolute terms ($1.35 per American per year) and in comparison to their international peers (most of whom get at least 10 times the amount of per-citizen funding, and some far far more).
This is not a fluke. Public broadcasting is a great success story of modern governance. Not just in America, but the public broadcasters in Canada (CBC), Australia (ABC), Britain (BBC), Ireland (RTE), the Netherlands (NPO) and many other nations are popular, informative and even entertaining. They bring programming that for-profit broadcasters do not. Off the top of my meagre head, I can name Doctor Who (BBC), Degrassi High (CBC), Little Mosque on the Prarie (CBC), Nova (PBS), Top Gear (BBC), Frontline (PBS), The Fifth Estate (CBC), The Nature of Things (CBC), Four Corners (ABC), Panorama (BBC) and of course Sesame Street (PBS) as internationally renowned and popular programs brought to the world by public broadcasting. I listen to a lot of podcasts on my MP3 player in the car and the ABC and Radio New Zealand put out some fantastic informative programming. Public broadcasting works well basically everywhere I have ever paid attention to it (admittedly I'm mostly limited to English speaking countries). All of this serves to explain why Movement Conservatives want to kill PBS, and so far as I am aware, want to kill public broadcasters in every nation where they hold power.