If you were watching Washington’s Fourth of July fireworks outside on Monday night and also happened to catch PBS’s broadcast of “A Capitol Fourth,” you might have noticed something looked…a little off.
The actual weather in Washington was cloudy and misty, making it quite difficult to view the fireworks. But on “A Capitol Fourth,” the annual concert special that airs live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, many of the fireworks (primarily in the second half of the display) looked glorious in a clear sky. Immediately, people started commenting on Twitter:
When the cloud coverage is bad and PBS plays fake footage of the fireworks in DC
— Alexis Sadoti (@AlexisASadoti) July 5, 2016
Not cool @pbs…. Fake footage of fireworks on the Fourth???? It's cloudy and rainy in DC. Those shots are clearly not from tonight.
— Chris Wallgren (@seawall77) July 5, 2016
Just flipped over to PBS here in the newsroom. Wow that is stock footage. They did have a few live shots, you could see the foggy conditions
— JimMacKayOnAir (@JimMacKayOnAir) July 5, 2016
Another giveaway? On TV, you couldn’t see the construction scaffolding on the Capitol building, which has been there for many months.
— JoeyV (@therealjoeyjoe) July 5, 2016
As soon as the show ended, producers from Capital Concerts owned up to the fact that not all of its footage was from the live fireworks show. (In the first segment of the display, while singer Cassadee Pope was singing, some scenes did show a cloudy sky.) “We showed a combination of the best fireworks from this year and previous years. It was the patriotic thing to do,” the “Capitol Fourth” account tweeted.
We showed a combination of the best fireworks from this year and previous years. It was the patriotic thing to do. #July4thPBS
— A Capitol Fourth (@July4thPBS) July 5, 2016
A “Capitol Fourth” spokeswoman confirmed to us that because the weather was so overcast, the producers pulled together a combination of clips “to make the best television show.” She added this is the first time the producers have had to take such measures.
Still, some viewers were not happy that PBS wasn’t upfront about the pre-recorded nature of the fireworks:
@July4thPBS should have at least let viewers know "some portions pre-recorded"
— Melissa Jensen (@jensenmama) July 5, 2016
— runMegan.com (@DZalumni) July 5, 2016
— Thomas Rainer (@ThomasRainerDC) July 5, 2016
— Katherine Sisemore (@KSisemore) July 5, 2016
…and so on.
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