Time names US President Obama Person of the Year, again
19 December, 2012, 16:54Published:
Barack Obama (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)
The magazine calls Obama a cultural figure, “the symbol and in some ways the architect” of a new America, who spells the end of 30 years of US politics that began with the ‘Reagan realignment.’ The country that he represents is one that embraces gay marriage and undocumented immigrants. In this new America, fast-growing groups are gaining influence, promising greater diversity. Already the new generation of millennials is 40 percent non-white, and that demographic trend is here to stay.
Time said that Obama is worthy to be called Person of Year 2012 for “finding and forging a new majority, for turning weakness into opportunity and for seeking, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union.”
The US president has received this award – given to the person who had the most influence on global affairs – for a second time. The first was in 2008, right after his election.
Obama was chosen from a shortlist of eight candidates announced by Time on Tuesday. Six of the nominees were among the top 20 entries in an online poll that the magazine conducted ahead of the selection.
The shortlist did not include the new leader of North Korea Kim Jong-Un, who won Time’s online poll of most influential people of the year with more than 5.6 million votes. Editors explained that the supreme leader of the isolated Asian nation got a boost from Internet pranksters, including members of the image board 4Chan.
The online poll may have been manipulated apart from Kim’s name being pushed to the top of the list. The first letters of the top names on the list form an acrostic spelling “KJU GAS CHAMBERS” – a reference to the allegations that Pyongyang uses gas chambers to execute political prisoners, as in Nazi Germany.
image from http://www.time.com
Time editors have the final say on who makes it to the shortlist for the person of the year issue. “It’s always interesting to see where some of our preferred candidates end up,” TIME executive editor Radhika Jones said after the magazine announced its shortlist.
Time has been reluctant to select controversial figures as their person of the year since 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian revolution’s supreme leader, was granted the title. The decision sparked a public backlash, prompting the magazine to avoid featuring figures controversial in the US on its December issue covers.
Time explained this policy when it selected Rudolph Giuliani over Osama bin Laden as the person of the year for 2001. The magazine said the then-mayor of New York symbolized America’s response to the September 11 terror attacks, and favored him over the mastermind behind it.
Time names Obama 'Person of the Year'
For the second time, Time Magazine has named Barack Obama "Person of the Year."
"For finding and forging a new majority, for turning weakness into opportunity and for seeking, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union, Barack Obama is TIME’s 2012 Person of the Year," Time editor Richard Stengel writes.
(PHOTOS: TIME's "Person of the Year")
Time's Michael Scherer, who writes the lengthy profile on Obama for the issue, argues that the president has been given a mandate of sorts.
"He... begins his second term with a better sense of what is possible in his job as well as what is not... He has earned the right to set [the] direction and has learned from experience how to move the country," Scherer writes. "After four of the most challenging years in the nation’s history, his chance to leave office as a great President who was able to face crises and build a new majority coalition remains within reach."
President Obama was on a short list with Bill and Hillary Clinton (as a duo) and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who blogged about her desire to go to school, among others. Time's "Person of the Year" in 2011 was "The Protestor"; in 2010 it was Facebok founde