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PBS Slammed for 'Fake' Fireworks Footage

It used stock footage during 'live' broadcast
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2016 5:33 AM CDT
PBS Slammed for 'Fake' Fireworks Footage
Fireworks explode over the Lincoln Memorial during the Fourth of July celebration.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Noticed something a bit off about PBS' A Capitol Fourth broadcast Monday? So did hundreds of people who took to Facebook and Twitter, per NBC News. Though host Tom Bergeron initially laughed off concerns that the live concert and fireworks display over Washington would be rained out, per the Washington Post, the sky above the Capitol Building was foggy and overcast as the fireworks began. That made seeing the show a bit difficult—so PBS intervened. Mingled with misty footage of fireworks over the Capitol building, with scaffolding clearly visible, was stock footage of fireworks from previous celebrations.

Viewers were quick to call out the "fraudulent" scheme—there was no disclaimer during the "live" broadcast—noting the stock footage showed a clear sky over the Capitol Building, and no scaffolding, per the Post. Afterward, the show admitted to showing "a combination of the best fireworks from this year and previous years" because of the poor conditions. "It was the patriotic thing to do," reads a tweet from the Capitol Fourth account. "We apologize for any confusion this may have caused." The apology didn't appease some, though. "How is using stock video patriotic?" one user wrote. "If I wanted that, I'd watch YouTube." (A Texas teen tried to make a "fireworks bomb" and paid a steep price.)

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