For most of the minutes he appeared in front of the crowd of the big and important festival he put together so well for the community of Syracuse this past weekend, founder and executive director Frank Malfitano was a happy guy. As well he should be, I thought from my spot in the roped-off VIP seating section, media pass hanging around my neck to better cover the musical sets for this blog and my Mark It Up community column for Syracuse Public Media site waer.org.
He danced down in front of the stage to the cool music he put up there. I spied him off to the right coaxing a photographer to take shots with him as he draped his arm over a Syracuse police chief. On stage, he shook hands with musicians, local and international and made sure that plaques of appreciation were given headliners. They in turn thanked him profusely for inviting them to perform at various times during their sets. ?An easy peace was established.
Yes, much deserved good times for Frank, was my point of view, because Syracuse, a city with many needs, has received warm and fuzzies in various ways big and small from Frank’s hard work for 33 years now.
While introducing Aretha Franklin’s headling finale set, Malfitano decided to make a comment about a good thing he saw while looking out over the tens of thousands of fans appreciating his festival this Friday and Saturday in July, namely, the diversity of the crowd. But he prefaced that observation with a cutting remark, a dagger regarding the state of how we’ve gotten to where we are right now in the United States of America.
The media, Malfitano declared, wants people to think we can’t get along like this. But we here right now prove otherwise. Those aren’t the exact words, but that is the intent.
I took offense, and mouthed some swear words in my seat. Of course I have a media-defend reflex. And I thought it trivialized a serious situation we’re battling right now, among other flash points it ignited in my head. I included this moment in a roundup commentary about the fest for waer.org.
If you’d like to read my Mark It Up column for the Syracuse Public Media, click the link below.
Thinking about it here, I’d like step up to a larger context. Malfitano said what he wanted in the moment. I’m seeing tnis on the TV morning shows more and more. Yeah, in the media. So who’s stirring it up? By the way, I haven’t been able to find any other media outlet that’s reported a word about Malfitano’s introduction.
This morning I watched Matt Lauer on “Today” interview Donald Trump about something he said about John McCain’s service record and then how he squawked about how it was reported by the media. That’s an easy example …
Do you think people are speaking out more in general, filtering down because it’s an election year? Have you heard somebody say something totally unexpected the past few months? Is there something you’ve been holding in that you want to get off your chest right here and now?