PBS Apologizes After Airing Fake Footage of ‘Live’ Fireworks in Washington, D.C.

‘Cause, baby, you’re a firework — from another year. PBS apologized for airing fake footage of what was promoted as live fireworks on Monday, July 4.

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The network recycled the sparkler clip during its coverage of A Capitol Fourth, a concert performed outside the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Fireworks explode over Lincoln Memorial, at the National Mall as seen from Arlington, Va., during the Fourth of July celebration on Monday, July 4, 2016.
Fireworks explode over Lincoln Memorial at the National Mall as seen from Arlington, VA, during the 4th of July celebration on Monday, July 4, 2016. AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

“We are very proud of the 2016 A Capitol Fourth celebration,” the show tweeted on Monday. “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.”

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Viewers of the broadcast were quick to realize that something was off about the fireworks. “Pretty sure @PBS is using footage of past fireworks for #capitolfourth bc… It’s not THAT glorious outside…” one commenter tweeted on Monday.

Still, some didn’t mind the repetition. “Not sure where CBS was going musically,” another person tweeted. “Went back to watch repeat of Capitol Fourth on PBS again!”

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A second added: “To all accusing PBS of ‘lying’ & ‘faking’ the Capitol Fourth concert, you wouldve PREFERRED seeing 20 mins of obscured flashes? #July4thPBS.”

Others, well, couldn’t even tell the difference. “Watching the Capitol Fourth on PBS – every year it gets better,” one viewer wrote.

Despite the conflicting comments, the show tweeted about the issue straight away. “We showed a combination of the best fireworks from this year and previous years,” the show tweeted from its official account on Monday. “It was the patriotic thing to do. #July4thPBS.”

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