Jonah Goldberg
Recommend this article

This year's award for editorial cowardice goes to Time magazine. In a crowded field of competitors, Time stood out for its sausage-spined decision to name everybody the Person of the Year. That's right. Time's person of the year is ... "You."

In grade school, whenever a student was caught eating candy, the teacher would ask, "Did you bring enough for everybody?" Time carried this logic through to its absurd conclusion: If everybody can't be Person of the Year, then no one can. "In the future," Andy Warhol once predicted, "everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." Well, start your clocks, people.

But, you may ask, what is so cowardly about Time's decision? And since you are a Person of the Year, how can I refuse to answer a question from such an august personage as yourself?

The intellectual flubber of Time's decision is manifest on many levels. Though some argue that Time was patting the American people on the head for voting the way they wanted in the last election, the more obvious explanation is that Time's editors didn't want to offend anybody. "If you choose an individual, you have to justify how that person affected millions of people," Richard Stengel, Time's newly vintaged managing editor, told the Associated Press. "But if you choose millions of people, you don't have to justify it to anyone." Well, isn't that convenient. Heaven forbid a news editor do something controversial that would have to be defended on the merits. Spare the delicate flowers such hardship!

Stengel added that if Time had to choose a real person to be Person of the Year, it would likely have been Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "It just felt to me a little off selecting him," Stengel said.

One might wonder if it felt "a little off" to past Time editors who awarded the Man of the Year award to Hitler in 1938 or to Stalin - twice, once in 1939 and again in 1942 - or to the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.

Recommend this article

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Jonah Goldberg's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.