Just as I was putting the finishing touches on yesterday’s long post, I saw an article by Raheem Kassam at the Daily Caller that is relevant to the theme of this blog. In this piece titled “TIME’S FAILING ‘PERSON OF THE YEAR’ LIST A PRODUCT OF CULTURAL DECLINE”, Kassam makes the case that TIME’s recent choices for its “Person of the Year” are but a shadow of the newsmakers that it has highlighted in the past. Some excerpts:
“What the poor shape of the shortlist speaks to… is that the editors of Time Magazine are pretty devoid of meaningful geopolitical analysis today. I suppose you might argue that it was ever thus, given they called Yasser Arafat a “peacemaker” in 1993.”
“But a broader point is that actually, we have such a fast paced media cycle now that it is almost impossible for one person to claim such a title over the course of a whole year. Too much happens, across too many subject areas, and most of it is forgotten.”
“The nature of Time’s list also reveals what a poor period we are going through politically and culturally. I mean I’m sorry but Meghan Markle just doesn’t cut it. Actually, I’m not sorry. And why is there a movie director of a Marvel Comics film on there?”
This is all not to mention the fact that TIME chose to honor “journalists” (in a transparently self-congratulatory manner) as a rebuke to President Trump’s increasingly accurate accusation that they are “enemies of the people”.
As a lifelong lover of history, I once enjoyed TIME Magazine. I still enjoy browsing the archives of TIME’s covers as a way of watching history unfold. It is fun to go back to the classic covers of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, to see how contemporary journalists saw the cultural and political events of the day as they happened. Yet it is obvious that the magazine, like the country it has chronicled, has been in severe decline for a long time. Inspired by Raheem Kassam’s piece last night I decided to look back at the decline of America through the eyes of TIME Magazine.
Every December since 1927 TIME has designated someone as their “Man of the Year” (later changed to the more PC “Person of the Year”). According to TIME, this designation is given to the man who, for better or for worse, has done the most to influence events in that particular year. This statement is upheld well in their inaugural selection of Charles Lindbergh in 1927:
Lindbergh would have been an easy choice. When he became the first man to fly across the Atlantic Ocean nonstop and alone, he became an international celebrity overnight. Indeed, Lindbergh was perhaps the first celebrity superstar, and his story dominated headlines for the entire year. Five years later he would make headlines again, this time in tragic circumstances, as his young son was kidnapped and murdered. Lindbergh opposed US entry into World War II, drawing the ire of President Roosevelt, nevertheless when war was declared he flew over fifty combat missions over the Pacific Ocean despite having resigned his Army Air Corps Reserve commission.
Throughout the 1930s TIME chose as its prime newsmakers such world leaders as Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Chiang Kai-Shek of China, Franklin Roosevelt of the US, and even Adolf Hitler of Germany and Josef Stalin of the Soviet Union. The latter two demonstrate TIME’s commitment to its statement regarding choosing the most influential person, whether for good or ill. These days they seem to have backed off from that commitment, most obviously demonstrated in 2001 when they chose New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as Man of the Year rather than the obvious (though dubious) choice of Osama bin Laden.
The Men of the Year in the 1940s were often chosen from the victorious allies of World War II. These included UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill, President Roosevelt again, President Truman, General (later President) Dwight Eisenhower, General (later Secretary of State) George Marshall, and even TIME’s first group selection, the American Fighting Man.
The 1950s and early 1960s saw more world leaders such as Queen Elizabeth II of the UK, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of West Germany, Presidents Eisenhower, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson of the US, President Charles de Gaulle of France, Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union, as well as Pope John XXIII. Signs of decline are becoming evident, however. In 1966 TIME chose as their Man of the Year “People 25 And Under”. I have long believed that the deification of youth that started in the 60s has been counterproductive to our culture. As teenagers, the Baby Boomers proclaimed “never trust anyone over 30”, yet now that they are at retirement age they say “60 is the new 20”. Charles Lindbergh was only 25 when he made his famous flight, but he had obviously accomplished something. The worship of youth that began in the 60s was less about accomplishment and more about blank slate potential.
The high-water mark for Man of the Year might have been 1968. After a tumultuous year that saw worsening conditions in Vietnam, riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, people around the world watched in wonder as Apollo 8 lifted off for the moon. Astronauts Frank Borman, Bill Anders, and Jim Lovell became the first men to travel to the moon, completing their journey with a Christmas Eve broadcast back to the world they left behind. One commentator declared that these men had saved 1968.
In 1969, rather than honoring astronauts again (despite Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin becoming the first men to set foot on the moon) TIME chose another amorphous group, “The Middle Americans”, as their newsmakers of the year. In 1975 TIME chose “American Women” as their People of the Year. A series of world leaders followed, with Man of the Year designations for President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Chinese Premier Deng Xiaopang, Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini and President Ronald Reagan. It is typical for TIME to choose the victorious US president during election years, as whomever this man is would obviously have dominated headlines that year.
Perhaps the most controversial cover came in 1993 when TIME honored “The Peacemakers:” Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat, former South African President F.W. De Klerk, and his successor Nelson Mandela. It is interesting to look at the dynamic at work in this selection. Rabin and De Klerk are honored for compromise; Rabin for agreeing to the Oslo Accords and De Klerk for ending apartheid. Meanwhile, Mandela and Arafat were terrorists who orchestrated thousands of deaths in pursuit of their political ends. This cover also shows how short-sighted TIME had become. Arafat would go on to launch another wave of terror attacks a few years later, while South Africa today is on the verge of seizing white-owned farms, contrary to the lofty ideals associated with Mandela’s ascension.
A look at the last twenty years of covers demonstrates Kassam’s claim that we really don’t have dominating newsmakers like we once did. In 21st century America, everyone is famous for a few moments. Our news media also takes a more obvious role in steering public discussion, rather than documenting it. The bias of news is not so much in how they report events but in which events they report and which events they ignore. President Trump’s middling approval rating is made headline news every week, while President Obama’s middling approval rating was mostly ignored. Tear gas against migrant invaders on the southern border is portrayed as a crime against humanity while tear gas against French protesters is ignored. If mainstream media doesn’t report something, it may as well not have happened. In 2002, TIME honored “The Whistleblowers”. In 2003, it was “The American Soldier”. 2005 was “The Good Samaritans” while 2006 brought us a new level of absurdity when “You” was named Person of the Year for creating content on the web. “The Protester” was Person of the Year in 2011, “Ebola Fighters” in 2014, “Silence Breakers” in 2017, and finally “The Guardians” of 2018. The latter refers to journalists who are supposed to be the guardians of truth in our society, as self-serving a statement as I have ever seen.
Like so much of our mainstream media, TIME Magazine once aspired to be an objective scribe of world affairs. Its job was not to make the news, but to simply report it. Times have changed. Looking through TIME’s covers for the past decade shows glowing portraits of Democrats while Republicans are made to look demonic and evil. TIME suggests we avoid having more children in order to save the planet, but also that we should welcome millions of migrants into our countries to replace the current populace. Like most of our mainstream media, TIME has clearly aligned itself with the Globalist Party in undermining American heritage in favor of radical social justice activism and demographic replacement.
Flipping through the last century of TIME Magazine covers is a visual depiction of the decline and fall of the United States of America.