Did you happen to catch the U.S. Open Sunday on NBC? That young Irishman Rory Mcllroy had quite an amazing day! Unfortunately as big as his win was, NBC Sport’s “Pledge of Allegiance” blunder managed to steal the show.
NBC’s coverage started off well enough. The prerecorded video they opened the show with was beautifully done. The video images of the raising of the flag at sunrise, various military personnel saluting, our national monuments, classic moments from past U.S. Opens and the classroom full of kids with their hands over their hearts, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance was certainly a nice touch, very patriotic. However there was something definitely wrong. Something was missing from the video, not once but twice.
Perhaps NBC, thought everyone would be caught up in the patriotic imagery and not really notice what they later described as “unintentional editing” not meant to offend anyone. Early in the video the class is shown reciting the “Pledge” and the words “under God” and “indivisible” are omitted. Later towards the end of the video the classroom is shown again. That time “under God” and “indivisible” are again omitted, and so is the phrase “one nation.” Unintentional? Yeah right!
Okay so people got upset and rightly so and lit up NBC’s switchboards, flooded them with email and went crazy on Twitter, calling for boycotts of the station, and causing enough of a stir as to force an NBC commentator to make an on air apology late in the Open coverage. “It was our intent to begin our coverage of this U.S. Open championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being here in our nation’s capital for the third time.“Regrettably, a portion of the pledge of allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. “It was not done to upset anyone and we’d like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.”
Well thank you very much National Broadcasting Company! Apology unaccepted. Your name implies that you represent our country which is obviously not true. Your political stance on the “under God” issue does not reflect what most Americans believe! And your half-ass apology does nothing to placate me! I find it impossible to believe that the editing of the Pledge of Allegiance was done unintentionally. The video was prerecorded! It was in the can long before the U.S. Open aired. The producer and other sports execs had to have seen it. Shows like this aren’t just thrown together at the last minute. They are carefully planned every step of the way.
So whose agenda was it to have this bastardized version of the Pledge air on national TV. Someone at NBC knew this was going to air and wanted it aired, perhaps several people knew. So like some great political scandal we have to ask ourselves, “Who at NBC knew and when did they no it? And now that it’s happened what will be done about it?
I simply don’t get it. Why would a major network like NBC pull such a spectacular blunder. Why would they allow something like that to air? They would have been better off leaving it in the can, or they could have played the National Anthem as the video soundtrack. You just don’t mess with the Pledge. Like it or not, Most Americans are perfectly content being “one nation under God.” Yeah, they really screwed up this time.
As the backlash continued NBC released yet another statement:“We are aware of the distress this has caused many of our viewers and are taking the issue very seriously. Unfortunately, when producing the piece – which was intended to capitalize on the patriotism of having our national championship played in our nation’s capital – a decision was made by a small group of people to edit portions of the Pledge of Allegiance. This was a bad decision.”
Right you are NBC, it was a bad decision, a very bad decision… now live with it!