Sunday, December 17, 2006

TIME cops out again

I think I just hurt my eyeballs from rolling them so hard. TIME Magazine's Person of the Year is... Nancy Pelosi? George W. Bush? Kim Jong Il? John Murtha?

Nope, it's everyone! Literally... everyone! Joy! As August Pollack put it, it's Everybody Gets A Trophy Day!

Seriously, though, the idea is that, apparently, since lots of people blog and use Youtube and have Facebook accounts, we have, I guess, been more significant than any single person, or something. I really didn't need TIME magazine to tell me that the sum total of everyone who uses the internet has had a greater effect on world events than any single person (nor, by the way TIME, did I need you to know that there are, in fact, a rather large number of people on the planet, and in this country for that matter, who have not used the internet much at all in the past year. They're called the poor, and believe it or not TIME, there are a lot of them. It's a little weird that such a prestigious magazine so callously assumed that EVERYONE, or even just everyone who ever reads TIME, has access to the internet and its requisite tools enough to do things like record Youtube videos.).

There's more to this, though, than just a lame choice for the distinction. It caps a number of questionable choices as of late that the magazine has made to avoid doing anything that could piss off redstate neanderthals who don't get the point of Person of the Year (which, as many of you likely know, is pointing out the person with the greatest effect on current events, be it positive or negative (which is why they could choose Adolf Hitler in 1938). George W. Bush, if I remember correctly, held the distinction both in 2000 and 2004, which can grant even if I don't agree (the person with the most effect on world events in 2000 was not George Bush: it was Bill Clinton) but in 2001 it was Rudy Giuliani. Now one could easily argue that W deserved it more than Guiliani because he actually guided national policy at that time, kicking off the War on Terrorism and going into Afghanistan, but even that's a cop-out.

The person who deserved it in 2001, indisputably, was Osama bin Laden.

That, of course, would be controversial to the mouth-breaters who don't get that this isn't an award, so what did TIME do? They made it into an award. That's why "women whistle-blowers" got it in 2002, and "the American soldier" in '03, and freakin' Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates in '05. Really? In all that time, no Terri Shiavo? Karl Rove? Tom Delay? Howard Dean? Ahmed Chalabi? Project for a New American Century? The Christian Right? Swift Boat Veterans? The Netroots? OPEC? Al Gore?

This is just another example of how the national press is been so cowed by the Right that they're willing to change the rules to appease them, no matter if the Right's beef actually has any merit whatsoever. In fact, TIME itself has been more than a little suspect the last couple of years. Just recently they gave James Dobson a column so that he could his junk science claims on the evils of same-sex marriage, but never bothered to fact-check the column. Or take a look here at the difference between the covers in November 1994 (when the GOP took the House) and November 2006 (when Democrats took the House, both liberal and centrist, in larger numbers than the GOP did at any point since the Eisenhower Administration). And how could we forget their unbelievably grotesque hagiography of Ann Coulter last year?

You can see a more exhaustive list at Media Matters.

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