WASHINGTON — Producers of “A Capitol Fourth,” which aired on PBS, said they didn’t mean to deceive viewers by using fireworks footage from previous broadcasts during Monday night’s show, a move that riled viewers who blasted the so-called “fake Fourth” on Twitter.
“Our producers are apologetic for anyone who was unhappy about the choices we made during the broadcast,” said a spokesperson for the company that produced the show, Capital Concerts. “The only intent was to create something that would allow people, including our troops, to enjoy the Capitol Fourth.”
The spokesperson with Capital Concerts, who asked not to be named, told WTOP the decision to use past footage was made during the broadcast, not in the run up to the show even though weather forecasts had indicated heavy clouds and drizzle in the days leading up to the broadcast.
Initially the producers tweeted that it was the patriotic thing to do.
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
“Our show is broadcast nationally and internationally, especially for our armed forces who are serving around the world,” the spokesperson said.
The broadcast typically has footage from earlier broadcasts handy during each year’s show in the event of a last-minute cancellation of the fireworks by the National Park Service.
The spokesperson said this is the first time producers have ever inserted footage from previous years. But after several hours of online pummeling, producers issued an explanatory tweet:
The spokesperson acknowledged the use of word “confusion” in the tweet put the onus on viewers, rather than the show’s producers.
The spokesperson couldn’t say why producers didn’t use a graphic to indicate the footage being shown was file footage or why the initial tweet cited patriotism as the reason for the decision.
Capital Concerts produces live patriotic television shows, some of which appear on PBS, including the National Memorial Day Concert and A Capitol Fourth.
Twitter users called out PBS for airing images of fireworks over clear Washington skies Monday night, despite the fact that conditions were misty and cloudy during the annual fireworks display.
Other viewers realized that some views of the Capitol during the broadcast didn’t include scaffolding, which is presently around the building during repairs.
Within minutes, #Fake4th was trending on social media.
— Jody (@roaminrn) July 5, 2016
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