Time Magazine unveiled former Vice President Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris its “Person of the Year” Friday, celebrating its annual ritual of naming a person, group, or idea the most critically important force on the face of the planet over the course of the last 12 months.
In choosing Biden-Harris, the magazine is keeping with the now-established tradition of giving its most prestigious honor to the winner of the presidential race in the year of the quadrennial election. In 2016, the magazine lauded President Donald Trump. In 2012, and 2008, it chose President Barack Obama. In 2004 and 2000, the publication awarded President George W. Bush. The paper skipped the presidential winner in 1996, but chose President Bill Clinton in 1992.
Winners of the presidential election were still afforded the honor throughout the 20th century, though it was far less common. Each president still graced the cover of the legacy magazine as its chosen “Person of the Year” since it launched the series in 1927, except for Presidents Herbert Hoover and Gerald Ford. So while its become common practice in this century to go with the winner of the election in an ordinary year this decade, it certainly hasn’t been a requirement, 2020 certainly hasn’t been ordinary.
Time’s 2020 cover feature of the Biden-Harris profile is reminiscent of the heroism portrayed of Stacey Abrams by the Washington Post earlier this year, casting the media’s revered Democratic figures as righteous champions of Democracy and serving as beacons of hope and freedom in the dystopian Trump-plagued era.
The more than 6,400-word profile is beaming with admiration for the man who, one might think coming away from reading it, is saving the nation from collapse. The piece declares the outgoing incumbent president a “minotaur,” while comparing Biden to Abraham Lincoln. Trump, the authors wrote, is a sick symptom of American racism and inequality “that undermines both its ideals and its functioning.”
Biden and Harris on the other hand, “share a faith that empathetic governance can restore the solidarity we’ve lost.” The profile conveniently omitted any mention that Harris was urging her followers to bail out Minneapolis rioters destroying one of the nation’s largest midwestern cities just several months ago. The cause was in the name of social justice however, which excuses the irony in the world of our media elites.
Time’s decision to promote Biden as “Person of the Year” drew immediate ire from many on Twitter, understandably frustrated that the magazine, which boasts of circulation of 20 million in the United States, would choose to honor a politician as opposed to the health care workers on the front line of the pandemic.
Jerry Dunleavy, a reporter at the Washington Examiner pointed out the magazine declared the frontline workers of the Ebola crisis its “Person of the Year” in 2014, an epidemic far less consequential than the one suffered today bringing the entire world to its knees.
— Tristan Justice (@JusticeTristan) December 11, 2020
Instead of politicians and celebrities You should’ve made front line and essential workers your “person of the year.” Every day citizens that are not famous and don’t make millions but risk their lives for all of us. It would’ve been the best choice.
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) December 11, 2020
In many ways, however, Time’s 2020 Biden pick makes a lot of sense even when it seems it doesn’t. Few more decisions could be so emblematic of the media’s total lack of self-awareness than to give one of its highest year-end honors to a politician who ran a campaign from his Delaware basement, as opposed to vaccine developers or health care workers combating the pandemic.
The magazine’s glowing profile is a further testament to its idolizing of figures staking out rivalries against Trump, let alone the man to finally take down its lead antagonist.