TIME Magazine embarasses itself once again

The US-based TIME magazine has unveiled the finalists for 2014 Person of the Year and winner of online reader poll for the same. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been declared as the winner of this year’s online reader poll for TIME Person of the Year by receiving more than 16 per cent of the almost 5 million votes cast.

The finalists for the magazine's annual honour are: Alibaba group head Jack Ma, Ebola caregivers, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Fergusan protesters, singer Taylor Swift, US’s National Football League Commissioner Roger Stokoe Goodell and president 0f the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani. But Narendra Modi who is a much more important world figure, however, could not make it to the list of eight finalists selected for the magazine for its annual Person of the Year title. This sufficiently explains the TIME magazine’s bogus way of selecting the Person of the year.

According to TIME, the annual honour - bestowed by the magazine since 1927 - goes to the person who 'most influenced the news' during the year But, it is no secret that there is hardly any transparency in the selection process. The magazine's editors simply impose their decisions during the annual selection for TIME Person of the year title. But, the TIME reader poll represents peoples' choice and couldn’t be tampered with. Hence the puzzling results of the TIME polls.

The two polls by of the magazine present a stark contrast. When TIME readers declare Modi as the ‘Person of the Year', its editors feel that the Indian Prime Minister doesn’t deserve the honour. The huge gulf between the TIME editors’ choice and TIME readers’ choice underscores the fact that TIME magazine has failed to have his fingers on the pulse of its readers.

Ever since TIME magazine has been awarding 'Person of the Year', only Indian who could make it to the annual honour was Mahatma Gandhi in 1931. This speaks volumes about TIME magazine's interest to honour Indians. So it's better to ignore the TIME honour.

It's important to know how columnists outside India are reading the TIME magazine's Person of the Year title. In an article in slate.com, Joshua Keating sarcastically wrote that ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is obviously the most important person of 2014 for TIME magazine. The columnist went on explain how.  

'Masoud Barzani, the president of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, is the most surprising inclusion. According to TIME, he is being recognized for having ‘deftly threaded the region's push for independence with the ongoing fight against' ISIS.

 Barzani isn't listed here because TIME has much interest in him specifically. Rather, the magazine wants to somehow recognize the ISIS situation - one of the year's biggest news stories -without having to declare ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi a candidate for person of the year.

The outrage-storm that would have resulted from choosing Baghdadi would have been worse.'

This is perhaps a fine reading of the flawed manner in which TIME chose its Person of the Year.

Meanwhile Narendra Modi goes on about his business running the world's largest democracy unmindful of the TIME Magazine's stunts. Perhaps the TIME Magazine can learn a thing or two from the Singapore's Straits Times which recently honored Narendra Modi as its Asian of the Year.

Courtesy Niti Central


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