Sunday, December 17, 2006

Time Magazine Cops Out Again On Its Person-Of-The Year

New York Times columnist David Brooks writes this Sunday, "The folks at Time are crazy, if they don't name Nasrallah, Ahmadinejad and Sadr people of the year." He explains, "2006, let it be said, felt to many like the year of losing ground. There was a general sense that the forces of moderation in the Middle East were losing ground to the forces of radical Shiism."

But by the time Brooks' column appeared in print, Time's weak-kneed editors had already copped out on a realistic choice for Person-of-the-Year, naming an obscure "You," or all of the people who go online, persons of the year.

Time should no longer have a Person-of-the-Year feature. It used to be under Henry Luce and his immediate successors, that Time's choice for the distinction was the man or woman who had done the most to influence the world in the year past. So Adolf Hitler was Man-of-the-Year for 1938, Winston Churchill for 1940, Joseph Stalin for 1942. and the Ayatollah Khomeini for 1979.

No such choices are still made. Not since 2001 have Time's editors had the courage to name an Arab terrorist Person-of-the-Year. The old standard no longer applies.

But this cowardice is not restricted at Time to the Person-of-the-Year feature. Increasingly, when it covers world events, Time cops out, or adopts a pie-in-the-sky view.

This happened when Time lauded Steven Spielberg's movie of appeasement, "Munich," about the Arab-Israeli conflict, as a classic. The moviegoers had better judgement. They stayed away from this cravenly unrealistic movie in droves.

Just a week ago, Time ran a lead article that said that in the wake of the Baker Commission report (which had not yet been released when the article was written), President Bush would make a U-turn and adopt its recommendations.

This totally sold the President short. Think of him as you will, it's clear that Mr. Bush is a stubborn man who is not discouraged at all easily. He promptly rejected the report and, in particular, its recommendation that America go hat-in-hand to Iran and Syria to beg their help in Iraq.

In a recent article about the situation in Gaza, Time focused only on what it claimed was an Israeli overreaction to terrorism. Its long article never even mentioned unending Arab rocket attacks on Israel that followed an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

It was the same thing in the Hezbollah-Israeli war. Time's editors seemed oblivious to the fact that Hezbollah had started the war by kidnapping Israeli soldiers.

All of this is not funny. Time remains the largest newsweekly in the United States in terms of circulation, although it has dipped a bit off its highs. The U .S. is in danger from the terrorists, just as Israel is, yet Time is following those who resist taking sound steps to defend the country.

Time is still capable of a sound article on occasion. This week's issue has an excellent long piece on the Litvinenko murder in London, and raises many questions about the nature of the present Russian regime.

But under its present editors, Time, on the whole, is weak and politically correct. What a shame!

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