NBC strategically edited out “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance in a pre-U.S. Open broadcast on Sunday. The clip, showing children in school reciting the pledge mixed with patriotic videos, tries to use strategic pauses to smooth over the omission, but viewers weren’t fooled and apparently voiced their concerns to the network, prompting the announcer to apologize for the omission several hours later.
The apology may have done more harm than good though, as he again left out “under God,” opting instead for “a portion of the pledge.”
Update (John Hayward): Besides refusing to specifically state what they’re apologizing for, I find it interesting that NBC didn’t explain why they made the cut, twice. Are we supposed to believe it was vitally necessary to save a grand total of five seconds by snipping “under God” (and, in the second instance, “one nation”) out of our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance? The producers really needed that five seconds for something else?
They can’t really fall back on the “ignorance” defense, because few adult Americans could claim they don’t know the words to the Pledge of Allegiance, especially the part media liberals like to complain about. In any event, they were editing a clip of a whole classroom full of children reciting the Pledge, and I assume they didn’t forget to say “under God.” If their teacher made them recite the Pledge without saying “under God,” that’s an even bigger story than NBC’s editing practices.
If NBC wants to defend this editorial decision as a question of artistic license, that rather defeats the purpose of preparing the patriotic video introduction in the first place. Our Pledge of Allegiance deserves better than to be treated with such callous disrespect.
I’ve seen some attempts to defend NBC’s edits by pointing out that “under God” wasn’t added to the Pledge until the 1950s. How absolutely ridiculous to offer that as a defense! The media does not have the right to unilaterally revise the Pledge of Allegiance to suit its own preferences. Too much of American culture has been subject to editorial revision for far too long.