The way i see it, it's likely that Palpatine went out of his way to make sure the jedi became a distant memory after the events of ROTS. Also, we must remember that he made it out to appear that the jedi betrayed the Republic and tried to kill innocent, poor him. Only a few people knew what really happened and who Palpatine really was. I can see the stories about the jedi become distorted for better and/or worse the more time passed by. Some likely viewed them as traitors while others regarded them highly, with some of the younger generation not even knowing all that much about them and other simply not caring or believing anything about them and their suposed abilities, seeing them as ancient and a weird religion of sorts (Han Solo, i'm loking at u!
The PT is about the jedi in better times (i wouldnt call it their prime either), while the OT shows what was left after Order 66, which wasnt all that much.
“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.” Goethe
If Jack Bauer joined the Rebel Alliance, 24 hours later there would be no Empire :p