Time magazine revealed the 2011 choice for its iconic Person of the Year cover live on TODAY Wednesday. The Protester is this year’s choice, managing editor Rick Stengel told Matt Lauer and Ann Curry.
“There was a lot of consensus among our people,” Stengel told the TODAY anchors as he revealed the magazine’s cover. “It felt right.”
As it has for the past 84 years, the weekly newsmagazine selected the person (or sometimes group, or thing) that its editors deemed had the single greatest impact during the past year, for better or for worse.
Time’s Person of the Year has been a perennial topic of year-end debate ever since aviator Charles Lindbergh was chosen the first Man of the Year back in 1927 (the title was amended to Person of the Year in 1999).
It should be noted that being on the cover does not necessarily indicate praise. In past years some of the most heinous and notorious people have graced the cover including Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1943) and Ayatollah Khomeini (1979). The 2011 cover which features The Protestor is more of a conceptual every person choice.
Some were surprised that the late Apple leader Steve Jobs did not nab the cover. Also surprising was the absence of Michelle Obama who has been much more vocal for 2011 as well as Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the SEAL team who killed Osama bin Laden or Duchess Kate. Afterall, Kate captured the hearts of people around the world as a beautiful royal bride.
Controversial subjects who did not make the list were Casey Anthony, Kim Kardashian or Anonymous (the International hacking collective).
The Protester — summarizing mass actions against dictators in the Middle East, anti-drug cartel sentiment in Mexico, marches against unaccountable leaders in Greece, the America-spawned Occupy movement, and dissent from the Putin regime in Russia — that appeared on Time’s 2011 Person of the Year cover.“There’s this contagion of protest,” Stengel said on TODAY Wednesday. “These people who risked their lives... I think it is changing the world for the better.”