Many viewers oohing and ahhing over PBS’ fireworks footage during Monday’s (July 4) “A Capitol Fourth” are now grumbling and booing. The network has admitted the patriotic display over Washington D.C. that aired on TV was indeed from last year’s spectacular. Before coming under fire for the false Fourth of July display, PBS preemptively defended their actions by saying it was “the patriotic” thing to do.
The media backlash was instantaneous. Pushing PBS to then put out this following statement: “Because this year’s fireworks were difficult to see due to the weather, we made the decision to intercut fireworks footage from previous ‘A Capitol Fourth’ concerts for the best possible television viewing experience. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.”
While the 36th annual “Capitol Fourth” broadcast featured live performances from Kenny Loggins, Smokey Robinson, “Younger” star Sutton Foster and “The Voice” Season 10 winner Alisan Porter, no notice was given to viewers that the main event was going to be phoned in. PBS is now being called out by viewers for being the “Milli Vanilli” of fireworks shows.
While this may seem like an innocent faux pas — who cares? It’s just fireworks! — for some there’s a nagging feeling that PBS failed to abide by the first rule of news reporting. Why is it so hard to tell the truth? People know that the weather can kill even the best laid plans, and to assume this kind of tricky of footage would go unnoticed is demeaning to its audiences, especially in the age of social media.
Perhaps, next year PBS’ Fourth of July special can be more aptly titled “A Capitol Lie” or “A Compilation of Previous Years’ Fireworks Because Weather in Washington D.C. During the Summer is Unpredictable.”