What do Vladimir Putin, Edward Snowden, Ted Cruz, Benjamin Netanyahu, John Boehner, Chris Christie, Kathleen Sebelius, and Pope Francis have in common? All of these notables are trailing behind Miley Cyrus in a poll for Time magazine’s 2013 “Person of the Year.”
Time’s website has been asking its readers to cast votes in an online poll for the person that they believe “most influenced the news this year for better or worse.”
So far, with the Cyrus selection presently ranking No. 1, readers appear to be going for an individual who has had a negative impact on the news and culture.
Right behind Cyrus in second position is Indian politician Narendra Modi. Egypt's Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who took over for ousted president Mohammed Morsi, is in third place. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has secured the fourth spot, while thus far, surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden is in fifth place in the online poll.
A bizarre choice for Time’s Person of the Year, Cyrus is a former Disney Channel star who seems to have done her best over the last several months to annihilate the wholesome image of her “Hannah Montana” character.
She has catapulted her way into the news headlines with a form of lewd dancing called twerking. She gained infamy for her crass appearance on the MTV Video Music Awards in which her vulgar choreography and giant finger prop offended many who were watching as well as those who saw the replay.
The daughter of country music star Billy Ray Cyrus recently appeared in a video for a new will.i.am song. She dressed in leather undergarments and spoke of ingesting a highly dangerous drug (Molly).
“I get on the floor just to make that booty twerk,” the potential Person of the Year rapped.
It is understandable for folks to question why a longstanding news institution such as Time would ever place Cyrus’s name on its nomination list in the first place. The magazine’s website indicates that “the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana got tongues wagging — beyond her own — with a scantily clad, twerk-filled performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and meme-able hit videos.”
Time’s annual designation actually started out in 1927 as a Man of the Year honor, but it was changed to the modern iteration Person of the Year in 1999. The publication’s awarding of the title has generally been looked to over the years with high regard because many of the recipients have been esteemed individuals.
However, the designation has gone on occasion to despicable figures, including Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Ayatollah Khomeini.
Time routinely features a Web-based poll as a lead-up to the announcement of the annual title. However, the magazine proclaims that the decision regarding whom will take the Person of the Year title is made separately from the poll by the magazine’s editors.
Time’s first Internet poll for Person of the Year was posted in 1998. Mick Foley was winning the web version, but the WWE heavyweight wrestler’s name was ultimately removed. The title was eventually given to President Bill Clinton and Special Prosecutor Ken Starr.
In 2006 Hugo Chávez topped the poll, but Time ignored the online results. Instead it made the ironic announcement of the Person of the Year as being “You,” which represented people who had advanced the information age by using the Internet.
A poll that is highly publicized and utilizes the Web will inevitably attract hackers. In 2009 an Internet group, 4chan, rigged the Time poll to make the group’s founder, Christopher Poole, the winner. And in 2012 some computer experts pushed North Korean President Kim Jong-un to the top.
This year, prior to the closing of the voting process on Dec. 4, Time will need to address allegations that the poll has been rigged. According to Mashable, by casting automated multiple votes for Cyrus a couple of programmers claim to have fixed the Time poll to make the controversial performer the winner.
A spokesperson for the magazine told the website that Time is “aware of the efforts to affect the results of the ‘Person of the Year’ poll, and have measures in place so that only legitimate votes are being incorporated in the final tally.”
The announcement of Time magazine’s Person of the Year is slated for Dec. 11.
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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