PBS was in damage control mode today in the wake of its Fourth of July fireworks broadcast.
The program was billed as a live telecast of the holiday celebration in Washington, but the weather on the East Coast intervened, with the view of the fireworks blocked by clouds and mist. PBS made the decision to “clear the air” by televising fireworks from previous years.
Viewers in the D.C. area mocked the broadcaster after noticing discrepancies — notably the clear sky in the background and a lack of scaffolding on the U.S. Capitol.
Social media users were soon all “a-twitter” about the apparently fake fireworks. One user tweeted: “Thanks for your fake coverage of the July 4th, Washington DC fireworks PBS! No clouds, No scaffolding on the Capitol #July4thPBS,#beAshamed.”
PBS responded on Twitter, posting a message that read: “We showed a combination of the best fireworks from this year and previous years. It was the patriotic thing to do. #July4thPBS.”
PBS showed a bit more remorse in a statement released separately. E! News reports that the broadcaster wrote: “We are very proud of the 2016 A Capitol Fourth celebration. 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.”
CNN dubbed the incident “Fireworksgate.” Here’s a clip of CNN’s coverage …