10:31 am Dec. 19, 20121
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Time's Person of the Year declaration has a reputation for being a bit shticky—remember the year the Person of the Year was You, and the cover had a mirrored panel in it?—but in naming President Barack Obama for 2013 the magazine wasn't actually deviating from its playbook very much.
Time has a quadrennial tradition of picking newly or reelected presidents for the annual year-end distinction, even if the years in between exhibit funkier choices. Obama won in 2008, George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1998, and so on.
"He won reelection despite a higher unemployment rate than anybody's had to face in 70 years," said Time managing editor Rick Stengel, announcing Person of the Year on the "Today" show this morning. (Scroll down for the clip.)
"He's the first Democrat to actually win two consecutive terms with over 50 percent of the vote," said Stengel. "That's something we haven't seen since Franlink Delano Roosevelt. And he's basically the beneficiary and the author of a kind of new America, a new demographic, a new cultural America that he is now this symbol of."
Obama, however, wasn't the crowd favorite last month at a yearly panel discussion in which celebrities and public figures cast their votes for Person of the Year.
One of the people nominated at that event was Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl and education activist who survived a Taliban gunman's bullet on Oct. 9.
Yousufzai was the runner up on Time's shortlist. Had she been named for the honor itself, she would have been one of the very few females to appear on the magazine's Person of the Year cover since it began running them 85 years ago.
Also on the shortlist were Apple C.E.O. Tim Cook, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and physicist Fabiola Gianotti.
In other news...
Jon Lee Anderson on the risks of reporting in Syria. [The New Yorker/NewsDesk]
2012 was the deadliest year for journalists on record. [The New York Times]
Martha Nelson is the new editor-in-chief of Time Inc. [W.W.D.]
Nate Silver, Out magazine's Person of the Year, is still angry with Dylan Byers. [Out]
Vice Media has acquired a British fashion magazine. [NYT/Media Decoder]
Quote of the day...
There is no sign anywhere that Americans want less news, or want their aunt on Facebook to cover Syria (unless she's there!), or have tired of advice columns, automobile ads, personals, Hollywood gossip, horoscopes, weather, stock prices, sports recaps, recipes, murder reports or any of the hundred things newspapers used to be able to sell in an exclusive bundle.
Obama is Time's Person of the Year for 2012 because he won an election when unemployment was high. Feel inspired? forbes.com/sites/jeffberc…— Jeff Bercovici (@jeffbercovici) December 19, 2012
Barack Obama is Time's person of the year. Obvious, yes, but makes sense. Wonder if mag would have picked Romney had he won.— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) December 19, 2012
Notable that Times' Man of the Year still gets traction...vestigial media— Michael Wolff (@MichaelWolffNYC) December 19, 2012
Here's Rick Stengel unveiling Time's 2013 "Person of the Year" on "Today" this morning:
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