Viewers who tuned in to PBS’ “A Capitol Fourth” broadcast Monday night were treated to an American tradition: bursts of pyrotechnic color unfolding over the nation’s capital on the night of the Fourth of July.
But some eagle-eyed viewers in the District of Columbia noticed something odd about the broadcast. The fireworks on the screen, bursting against a clear sky, didn’t match those in the cloudy, overcast weather outside. And some of the shots showed the Capitol dome, which is under renovation, without its current scaffolding.
The show, in its 36th year, boasts it broadcasts Washington’s own fireworks display for millions of viewers across the country from the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn, where thousands more gather to see the display in person. But because of this year’s cloudy weather, the network confirmed after the broadcast that the “live” show was not live at all.
Instead, it was “a combination of the best fireworks from this year and previous years... It was the patriotic thing to do,” the show’s Twitter said.
But it wasn’t enough for some viewers, who questioned why PBS hadn’t told viewers about the augmented showing ahead of time.
A few hours later, the show added an apology on Twitter “for any confusion this may have caused”: