On Wednesday Time magazine will name its Person of the Year. As a friend of mine put it, “that is the only issue of Time worth reading anymore.”
So, who should be the Person of the Year — and who will be the Person of the Year?
Any objective observer of the entire year would pick the tea party as the Person/Thing/Movement of the Year. The tea party movement has revolutionized American politics and thus re-focused Washington, D.C., on debt, deficits and the faltering American economy.
The tea party also has begun a revolution inside the Republican Party. And they have only just begun; they will be even more potent in 2012.
However, the Time magazine inside-the-Beltway-and Northeast-D.C.-to-Boston corridor sees Julian Assange and the Wikileaks treasure trove of USG documents as the biggest story of the year.
They would probably name him as Person of the Year except he is facing sexual assault charges in Sweden so they will instead make it Wikileaks as the event/revelation of the year. (Time ran into big trouble years ago when they named Ayatollah Khomeini and lost a substantial part of their subscriber base. So they are probably gun-shy about naming someone who may soon be a criminal.)
Another alternative is the story of the heroic and inspirational Chilean miners. Their story captured the world’s imagination and it ended well. This is the safest choice for Time’s editors. But it is also bland and soft and corny — and won’t sell as many magazines as a controversial story.
Time could also do something like the iPad for revolutionizing technology or the New Orleans Saints for resuscitating the morale of the Gulf Region.
Or Time could do the BP oil spill to re-visit the dangers of offshore drilling.
But in the end the liberal Time editors will most likely want to do Wikileaks. The Time editors secretly love Assange and what he has done to the U.S. government. The American media loves leaks. And this is the biggest leak story — ever!
Assange himself is a tricky person to cover. Is he a hero — or a villain? A rapist or the victim of a government set-up? Will he be indicted by the U.S. government for the publication of secret documents? No one is saying. The word is there is no law governing the publication of this material.
Look for Wikileaks to be the Person/Thing/Leak of the Year — on Wednesday.
And, as a result, look for hundreds of other hacksters to try to emulate Assange; they see hacking into government computers as a heroic public service.
Other governments and corporations and intelligence agencies and foreign ministries better be on the lookout as their computers are no longer safe.
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