Last week, on the eve of Time magazine announcing its choice for 2018 Person of the Year, some speculated that it might actually turn out to be President Donald Trump. Sure, he’s as divisive a leader as any country has ever seen, but likability have never been a deciding factor in the magazine’s selection process. Hell, the magazine selected Hitler as its “person” in 1939, then Stalin in 1939 and 1942. (Not comparing Trump to either, just saying). Meanwhile, Trump was given the “person” distinction as recently as 2016.
But in a somewhat surprising turn, the 95-year-old publication went in a different direction and for the first time selected multiple people for the honor, naming “The Guardians” as the 2018 Person of the Year—more specifically, a group of journalists “who have taken great risks in pursuit of greater truths.” The honor fell upon slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman; Filipina journalist Maria Ressa, who, after highly critical coverage of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and his violent drug war, faces 10 years in prison on trumped-up charges of tax fraud; Reuters’ Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were arrested in 2017 while investigating a mass grave filled with what is purported to be victims of a Myanmar genocide; and The Capital Gazette, the Maryland media company that lost five staffers to a mass shooting in June.
The Person of the Year honor is a fitting tribute for a line of work that, frankly, is either laughed off by the ignorant or is the target of violent threats by those that fear having their empire dismantled by truth-seeking journalists. That fact is that the journalists mentioned above are either dead or facing prison because they tried to reveal unjust authority figures as charlatans. And in the case of The Capital Gazette, they were killed simply because this country is poisoned by “fake news” propaganda.
Still, many citizens proclaim to hate “the media.” They believe “the media” has lied to them and sensationalizes news stories in the pursuit of ratings. To that I say, you are confusing “journalism” with “cable news,” which believe me, is nowhere to be found on anyone’s Person of the Year list.
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