Did Dr. Oz campaign crash Musikfest? It’s complicated (Opinion)
Ah, Dr. Oz. Controversy just seems to follow this guy like a starving stray cat. Sometimes even when it’s not warranted.
But that’s in the eye of the beholder in the case of whether Dr. Oz obnoxiously crashed Pennsylvania’s Musikfest.
Here’s the deal. New Jersey’s Mehmet Oz better known as the TV doctor Dr. Oz is carpetbagging and running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.
Musikfest is a public festival that takes place in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It’s been an annual event since 1984 and is described as the nation’s biggest non-gated free music festival.
So what happened?
Dr. Oz went. He walked around. He talked to people. He posed for pictures. Organizers are livid.
ArtsQuest Director of Communications Shannon Keith said,
“He did not reach out to our organization, nor did anyone from his campaign or any of his representatives.”
That apparently matters because CEO Kassie Hilgert explains,
“We don’t have political campaigns or candidates on the festival grounds. ... We have a long-standing policy of that. It doesn’t really add to the atmosphere of the festival.”
She went on to say,
“So far in the history of Musikfest, political candidates have always been respectful of our stance. We don’t even let our sponsors walk around and engage with people.”
So was he campaigning? Lee Snover, a Northampton County campaign coordinator, says no.
“He literally just walked through Musikfest. People came up to him. He wasn’t going table to table or anything. I don’t think it was official campaigning.”
So that ends it, right?
Mmm, hold on. While at a diner in town Oz himself said going to Musikfest would allow an opportunity to listen to residents.
He said things like, “You want to meet people and make sure you’re accessible and they can ask you questions.”
And things like, “I wanted to hear what their issues are. What are they worried about? What are they hearing from their friends?”
Sounds like campaigning, doesn’t it? Or, as Snover seemed to imply, perhaps just unofficial campaigning.
His opponent John Fetterman has been actively calling Oz out for not being from Pennsylvania. Oz used his in-law’s Pennsylvania address to register to vote last year and to establish residency to qualify for the Senate run. But he’s lived in New Jersey for three decades. Fetterman even hired banner planes to fly over the Jersey Shore and mock Oz’s residency for Philadelphia tourists to see.
It may be working. At least one Musikfest attendee taunted Oz in passing yelling, “Go back to Jersey!”
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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