Saturday, July 9, 2011
CBS: The network you can trust....yeah, right...
By Brittney McNamara
Although Boston’s Fourth of July fireworks are a spectacle on their own, CBS decided to jazz them up with more exciting and historic settings.
In other words, CBS fabricated the settings of the fireworks for millions of viewers, putting them behind the State House, Quincy Market, Fenway Park and other places that they simply were not.
David Mugar, who has executive produced the airing of the fireworks for nine years, said this was the first time the fireworks were altered for television, but defended his decision because it is an entertainment show, not news.
“Absolutely, we’re proud to show scenes from our city,’’ Mugar said, according to the Boston Globe. “It’s often only shown in film or in sporting matches. We were able to highlight great places in Boston, historical places with direct ties to the Fourth. So we think it was a good thing.’’
CBS shot the footage several weeks ago.
“I’d say we shot from about 8 p.m. till 4 or 5 the next morning,’’ Mugar said. “Among other places, we got video of the Old North Church, the State House, Quincy Market, the statue of Paul Revere, Fenway Park, with the full cooperation of the Red Sox, who let us in and turned on certain lights for our shoot. And we did it all with the intention of superimposing the fireworks over the images. The technical process is called matting.’’
Many viewers were irked by the alterations, including Boston native Penny Thompson.
“I thought it looked fine,’’ Thompson told the Globe from a Shaw’s grocery store in Dorchester. “I just don’t like knowing it wasn’t real. I mean I know the fireworks were real, but I’m saying not real like they changed stuff. That’s not cool.’’
Eric Deggans, a Florida-based media critic and panelist on CNN’s media critique show “Reliable Sources,” brought up the issue of credibility after the alterations.
“It is an ethical issue, and to say it’s not because the show was aired through CBS Entertainment is to imply that the entertainment side of CBS has no ethics,’’ Deggans said. “I think – especially in today’s media environment – the most important commandment for media is to not mislead the viewer. . . . If you’re a viewer who doesn’t know Boston, you’re getting a picture of the layout of the city that doesn’t exist.’’
As some of the most famous an revered fireworks in the country, it seems that Boston’s dazzlers are fine on their own.