NBC is says removing words from the Pledge of Allegiance during an opening to U.S. Open Golf coverage was “a bad decision.”
That’s according to a letter the network is sending to viewers who complained about the fact that the words “Under God” were cut twice from the pledge.
In the first instance, video of students reciting the pledge is intercut with patriotic images. All of the words of the pledge could be heard except for the reference to God.
In the second instance, at the end of the same video, the pledge is recited again as a kind of reprise, but this time, a larger section of the pledge is interrupted by clips from a previous telecast, and then the pledge is rejoined just in time for “with liberty and justice for all.”
The second time I’m willing to overlook completely, because the timing of the clips intercut into the pledge reasonably cover the amount of time the missing material would have taken to recite. I didn’t hold a stopwatch to it to make sure it matches up, but then it isn’t that important one way or the other.
But the first occurrence is a different story.
All of the words in the pledge were worked in, despite interruptions of other things happening during the children’s recitation, except “Under God.” The pledge takes longer to happen, but each time, it picks right up where it left off…except for that one phrase which doesn’t appear at all.
I do not, for one second, believe that NBC as a company, set out to “remove God” from the pledge. I don’t blame NBC at all for the edit.
But I’d love to know what the editor of that video was thinking; there’s no rational explanation to record a modern group of kids reciting the pledge and remove one little phrase when the rest of it is intact. The fact that the little phrase in question just happens to be a reference to the Almighty makes it far more suspicious than if he had cut out, for example, the phrase “one nation,” or the word “indivisible.”
It’s hard to imagine any intent on the editor’s part than to remove a religious reference that has been an official part of the pledge for nearly 60 years now.
During the broadcast, an announcer apologized for the edit, explaining that it was not done to upset anyone.
That on-air apology wasn’t enough, and NBC has since elaborated, saying that the decision to edit the piece was made by “a small group of people,” and that it was a “bad decision:”
“As soon as management became aware of this decision and the controversy it justifiably created, it immediately took steps to correct it resulting in an on-air apology provided by NBC Sports’ lead golf commentator Dan Hicks.
It was not the intent of NBC to upset anyone and we sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended.”
As a friend of a friend pointed out on Facebook, NBC has apologized. The Christian thing to do is to accept the apology, then move on.
And so it goes.