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Does Time Have Business Motives For Not Awarding Hong Kong Protesters ‘Person Of The Year’?

Time conducted a ‘Person of the Year’ reader poll, and the Hong Kong protesters won—but the editors chose differently. Why?


As Time magazine announced that Greta Thunberg had won the coveted title of “Person of the Year,” few on the either the right or the left side of the aisle were shocked. The teenage Swedish climate activist rose to international elitist acclaim over the last year and a half, addressing heads of state at the U.N., meeting with the pope, and spearheading the world’s largest global climate strike. But there may be more pernicious reasons time shied from awarding the title to some other worthy contenders.

In fact, Time conducted a “Person of the Year” reader poll, and the Hong Kong protesters won—but the editors chose differently. Why?

The leftist bias within corporate media has become so garish and absurd that there is little anticipation it won’t use any opportunity to puff up the left agenda. While Thunberg was certainly a strong contender for “Person of the Year,” a few people noted that Time had missed a sound opportunity to voice unequivocal support for various groups of people around the world who have been tirelessly–and at the risk of life and limb–protesting their oppressive regimes.

Time could have given the award to the protesters in Iran, who, spurred by a rise in oil prices, took to the streets to protest the corruption of the Iranian regime, which continues to spend hundreds of millions each year funding terrorist proxies in the hopes of expanding Iranian hegemony in the region. Or they could have given the award to the reader-chosen Hong Kong protesters, who have spent months opposing an extradition bill that had come to symbolize the tightening of Beijing’s control over the democratic beacon of Asia.

A little sleuthing on the Twitter feed of Stephen Miller, host of “Versus Media” podcast, and some digging amongst the annals of Federalist articles reveals that the latest purchaser of Time magazine is none other than Marc Benioff, the SalesForce tycoon who made waves for pulling business out of Indiana after the state passed religious liberty protections akin to those offered on a federal level. As Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist noted at the time, 18 other states had similar protections in place at the time. No word from Benioff on refusing to do business with them, or nationally due to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Benioff’s patronage is relevant here because SalesForce announced this past summer that it would be partnering the world’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. Alibaba is based in China and offers SalesForce an entry into the Chinese software market. Back in July, Alibaba announced in a blog post that it would be “the exclusive provider of Salesforce to customers in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and Salesforce will become the exclusive enterprise CRM product suite sold by Alibaba.”

Thus, given Benioff’s newfound ties to the Chinese tech giant, the decision not to award the title of “Person of the Year” to the Hong Kong protesters makes perfect sense. As Christopher Ashley Ford, assistant secretary of the U.S. State Department’s bureau of international security and nonproliferation, noted at a Washington conference back in September, “Whether de facto or de jure, such [tech] giants can in some important respects or for some purposes act as arms of the state—or, more precisely, the Chinese Communist Party, to which the Chinese state apparatus is itself subordinate.”

Back in 2015, Benoiff waxed poetic against Indiana’s decision to pass RFRA-like protections on a state level. It seems that on the freedom of Hong Kongers, he may be similarly indifferent—or worse, spiteful. Time had a chance to make a strong statement on the freedom-fighting endeavors of the Hong Kong protesters –a job made significantly easier by the fact that the Hong Kong protesters won the reader poll prettily handily.

Although we’d like to believe there are corners of the media that remain uncorrupted by bias or personal interest, this is one corner where that may no longer be the case. The decision not to honor the Hong Kong protesters pairs quite neatly with Benioff’s recent NYT op-ed in which he declared, “Capitalism, as we know, is dead.” It may be for him, but not for Hong Kongers, who continue to fight China’s communist regime.