Editorial

Congratulations are not in order

Friday, December 9, 2016

Donald Trump’s reaction to being named Time magazine’s Person of the Year highlights his inclination to see and hear what he wants to see and hear.

Trump said, “To be on the cover of TIME magazine as Person of the Year is a tremendous honor.”

Well, not necessarily. The Time editors point out that selection of the Person of the Year (until 1999 the ‘Man of the Year’) is based on who is deemed to have most influenced the year’s news. Adolph Hitler was the 1938 Man of the Year and Joseph Stalin was named twice, not to honor them, but to acknowledge their impact.

Time editor Nancy Gibbs stated, “The person of the year, as we always remind people, is the person who has had the greatest influence on events, for better or for worse. The fascinating thing this year is, I’ve never seen so much agreement over who had the most influence or the most disagreement over whether it was for better or for worse.”

Trump decided it was for the better, although he took issue with the Time subhead, ‘President of the Divided States of America,’ a subhead he called snarky.

Trump was critical of the 2015 selection of Angela Merkel, arguing that she did not deserve what he regarded as the honor of receiving that designation. Trump is not alone in misunderstanding the designation ‘Person of the Year,’ but most people don’t follow the designation with as much intense interest as Trump.

Certainly it has been pointed out to him that this is not necessarily an honor. In 2015 Trump was in third place for the designation, behind ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Did Trump think that the ISIS leader was liked by Time more than Trump was?