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Television Viewers Complain About Fireworks Broadcast

The Independence Day fireworks are set off in the fog and rain above the Washington DC skyline, with the Lincoln Memorial seen beneath; as seen from Arlington, Virginia, USA, 04 July 2016.
Television Viewers Complain About Fireworks Broadcast
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This is What’s Trending Today…

Monday was Independence Day in the United States. July 4 is an important holiday every year.

On that date in 1776, 13 British colonies in North America joined together to declare their independence from Britain.

Fireworks shows are a big part of the Fourth of July celebration. In many cities, crowds gather in large open spaces or along rivers to watch small rockets being fired into the air. The rockets explode high in the sky, often leaving red, white and blue streaks -- the colors of the U.S. flag.

Some Americans say July 4 is a perfect time for fireworks because of the U.S. national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. The song has words like “…and the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there...”

But this Monday was a rainy day in the U.S. capital, Washington, D.C. There were low clouds in the sky over the National Mall and the Capitol Building, the site of a major fireworks show. The clouds made it hard for crowds to see the fireworks.

PBS produces a television show of musical performances and fireworks on the Fourth of July.

But when the show had images of fireworks exploding against a clear, night sky, people were confused. Especially people who knew it was a cloudy, rainy night in Washington.

And those people reacted on Twitter.

One person wrote:
“The fireworks from my apartment window don’t look like @pbs #fake?”

Someone else added “not cool… those shots are clearly not from tonight”

Finally, the producers of the show released a statement. They called editing the TV broadcast, “the patriotic thing to do.”

One person wrote: “If I wanted that, I’d watch YouTube.”

Eventually, the producers apologized for not being honest with TV viewers. They wrote that the edits were made to make the “best possible television viewing experience. We apologize…”

But that was not the end of it. One Twitter user joked: “only in D.C. could a PBS show become a scandal.”

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

What do you think about the fireworks editing? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

scandal – n. an occurrence in which people are shocked and upset because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong

edit – v. to change, move, or remove parts of (a film, recording, photo, etc.)

patrioticadj. having or showing great love and support for your country : having or showing patriotism

cool – adj. very fashionable, stylish, or appealing in a way that is generally approved of especially by young people

confuseadj. difficult to understand : not clearly organized, expressed, etc.

glaren. a harsh, bright light

streakn. a long, narrow area or flash of light

viewers – n. a person who watches television