Every year, PBS broadcasts fireworks celebrations in Washington, D.C. as part of its A Capitol Fourth program. Unfortunately, weather on the East Coast did not cooperate this year, as viewers in D.C. could barely see the fireworks through the cloud and mist. PBS’ solution to the overcast problem was to play footage of fireworks from years when the view was clearer, but people took notice — and PBS has since responded.
Viewers were tipped off to the workaround by both the unusual weather and the lack of scaffolding seen on the Capitol Building in the public broadcaster’s show. (A restoration project is underway.) A Capitol Fourth producers discussed their decision on Twitter on Monday, describing it as “the patriotic thing to do.”
Hours later, the broadcast was defended once again in a lengthier statement released via Twitter: “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.”
Watch a video of this year’s fireworks display below.