This isn’t quite as bad as it sounds. Watch the vid and you’ll see that Matt Lauer acknowledged that it was animation while it ran, so no American viewers, at least, were misled. NBC had no control over the footage — everything was transmitted on one feed via Beijing Olympic Broadcasting — so their choice was either to black out the segment or to air it and disclose that it was bogus. Footprint fireworks were actually launched at the ceremony too, just as you see here, but it was too dangerous and/or too hazy to get the overhead shot via helicopter that they were aiming for; hence the animation. YouTube has video of what the actual display looked like from the ground.

When a totalitarian government wants everything to be perfect, everything’s going to be perfect. Click the image to watch.