The Campaign Spot

Twitter Inventors Look Like Lock for Time‘s Persons of the Year in 2012

In their lamest pick since “YOU,” Time picks Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as its Man of the Year.

Some will rejoice that it’s not Julian Assange. But the pick suggests the magazine was flailing around, looking for a pick that didn’t represent the broad backlash against President Obama and his administration that was reflected in the Tea Party movement and the big GOP gains in the midterm elections. In the end, the pick, which looks like an ad for Columbia Pictures, seems at least two years out of date and oddly disconnected from larger issues of national and international politics and matters of war and peace.

As many are noting this morning, this continues a trend of odd picks, perhaps driven by a desire for newsstand sales, perhaps driven by political correctness, perhaps by a reluctance to acknowledge picks that are perceived as conservative.

Time’s picks:

2001: Rudy Giuliani

2002: The Whistleblowers (WorldCom, FBI, Enron)

2003: The American Soldier

2004: George W. Bush

2005: The Good Samaritans (Bono, Bill & Melinda Gates)

2006: You

2007: Vladimir Putin

2008: Barack Obama

2009: Ben Bernanke

2010: Mark Zuckerberg

For contrast, here are my suggestions for which figure or figures had the most influence each year:

2001: Osama bin Laden

2002: Dick Cheney (it was in the post-9/11 era his influence was clearest)

2003: Saddam Hussein (from rule to war to capture, his story was the story of the year)

2004: George W. Bush

2005: Danish Cartoonists

2006: Nancy Pelosi (she was the face of the broad backlash against Bush)

2007: Gen. David Petraeus (for masterminding the Iraq surge)

2008: Barack Obama/Ben Bernanke

2009: Barack Obama/Neda, the Slain Iranian Protester

2010: The Tea Partier

I’m sure some will quibble here and there. But looking back, the Whistleblowers look minor in lasting influence; the American Soldier could be nominated any year; Bono and the Gateses are commendable but could be picked any year; Putin is powerful but could be picked any year; Bernanke was a year late; and “You” just looks silly.


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