I've never paid much attention to who(m) TIME names as their 'Person Of The Year', although their choice of 'You' last year was quite interesting and telling about America. Truth-be-told, does it even really matter?
Depending on whom you ask that question to, you'll get a variety of answers.
Yesterday, Fox'news' was aflame with this question : Why not David Patraeus?
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The idea behind TIME magazine’s Person of The Year isn’t to pick a person that has done something ‘positive’ for America – whether The Right is willing to acknowledge that or not. Nor is it used to pick a person that conforms to one particular cultural stereotype. As much as people on the Right would like to claim that TIME magazine is somehow showcasing a ‘hatred’ of America, their choice this year does nothing of the sort.
Would I have picked Putin? Not at all. Would I have picked Al Gore? He wouldn’t even be my third choice.
Some will claim that Fox’s shriek of ‘why’ – as seen prominently in their prime-time line-up last night – is a clear indicator of their Conservative / Republican bias. This, however, is not true. It is illustrative of is one thing, their predictability.
Fox’News’ is no longer a news organization that people look at and question it’s motives. You are either of the group that accepts them as the Conservative / Republican channel that thy are, or you aren’t. But, this is not new news to anyone.
During last night’s ‘Talking Points Memo’, Bill O’Reilly professed that his – The Factor’s – pick for Person Of The Year would be David Petraeus. O’Reilly didn’t so much announce his personal choice as he simply added to what was already being said by Fox’News’. Whether or not he was following orders from management remains to be seen. None-the-less, he did what we all expected him to do.
After The Factor, Hannity and Colmes had on a very animated Bill Cunningham to discuss the same award in a more demeaning way. He seemed much more concerned with blaming ‘liberals’ for anything and everything that he could conjure up within the allotted time. The ‘balance’ brought to the program was Roy Sekoff of the Huffington Post. He was, from my perspective, less than impressive. The segment was, like O’Reilly’s segment, predictable.
The talk was still going strong this morning on Fox and Friends. I only mention them simply because this show represents the lowest form of intelligent discourse on television. But, they too were more than eager to jump right in with asking, "why?!"
What does it take to become ‘Person of the Year’? Well, considering that I’m not an editor at Time, nor would I be someone considered unbiased enough to choose someone for the ubiquitous ‘honor’, I can't say exactly what it takes. But, to me at least, it seems that you can do one thing that is defining of your time and place in the world. The runners-up seemed to have qualifications above and beyond Putin, even David Petraeus.
So, since the good people at Fox have asked the question, I’ll do my best to answer it.
The reason that Petraeus was not the #1 choice by Time magazine is because he hasn’t delivered on his stated military goal within the time-frame that was set. The reason that he was not named #1 was that, at the congressional hearing held in September, he told us the same thing that he and others had been telling us since the surge began. The reason that he was not named #1 may reflect a desire of Americans – not the evil, liberal, anti-American media – to bring an end to the occupation of a country that has swallowed whole billions upon billions of dollars that have purchased us nothing.
In my view, the only reason that he was even given 5th ranking was that he was the man that standing center-stage during a political circus that captured the attention of many people across the US. It has nothing to do with political ideology and all with brief, cultural moments in time.
The only difficult thing to do here is, taking into account my explanation of why he wasn’t #1, is to try and explain why Putin is.
That, I cannot do easily, but I’ll try.
To explain this, in any type of fashion that just might be convincing to people with that lovely Right-Wing mentality, you have to take a look at Putin in the context of the Bush presidency. First, Putin seems to be trying to stay in power – in one form or another – after his term limits have expired. Secondly, he has provided enriched uranium to Iran. Alone, these two aspects of Putin could potentially make him a figure that Fox’News’ would love to talk about, no matter what program.
Perhaps that’s what the people at TIME were thinking. Maybe not.
At any rate, is this award indicative of anything that we – as the U.S. – have to honor each year?
What I mean is, this award isn’t anything like a lifetime achievement award given to scientists, or doctors, or writers, or even – God forgive me – politicians. This award isn’t presented in order to show that the person who is receiving it now demands our respect, or to a lesser degree, our admiration. It’s purely posturing. That is all.
As you’ll recall, Bono was co-recipient of the award just a few years ago.
But, let’s get back to the predictability factor, as it relates to Fox’News’, and also the neo-conservative movement.
What would have happened if TIME gave the award to Petraeus?
As assumptions go, and considering the ‘news’ organization we are talking about, it would be pretty safe to say that Fox would quickly produce an hour-long special depicting the life-and-times of the General. New graphics would be flashing across the screen, and hosts would beam with delight as ‘their man’ had finally been vindicated and proven right.
Predictable? Yes, it probably would be.
This, in essence, shows the near hypocritical nature of most Fox employees as well as their audience. An award, no matter what it is, will be relegated into the ‘anti-American’ category should it be given to anyone who doesn’t conform to their – conservative / republican - ideals at that specific moment.
It would be all too easy for a member of the Fox’News’ crew to claim that this would never happen, that they wouldn’t act this way simply because I – or anyone – claim that they will. But, just saying that you won’t doesn’t cover up to innumerable times that they have done such a thing.
I almost feel that I’ve given far too much credibility to the issue simply by discussing it here. Magazines like TIME – to me at least – aren’t that great to begin with. And, with that in mind, it makes Fox’s tantrum over their ‘buddy’ being reduced to 5th place all the more pathetic, and predictably so.