On that, everyone can agree.
Facebook’s Chief Callous Stealer Of Your Personal Information And Shopping Habits is TIME Magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year, despite WikiLeaks’ controversial frontman winning the Readers’ Choice as the clear favorite.
It’s TIME’s prerogative to make the final decision as to whom shall grace their cover, and I don’t know how often the magazine has diverged from reader selections, but if we’re measuring how captivating an individual was during the news cycle of the last calendar year, there’s no contest. Assange has been part righteously angry hacker, part Bond villain, part guest star on next season of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and the ramifications of the Afghanistan War Logs, the Iraq War Logs and Cablegate will be felt for some time. And that’s just in 2010, and pertaining to the United States! From Peru to Iceland, China to Kenya, WikiLeaks has been impactful.
One is almost forced to jump to wondering if pressure from the United States government had anything to do with TIME’s ultimate decision. The “Julian Assange is a very bad man/possible rapist” argument, even if it did turn out to be true, would not make anything his organization released less true. Besides, badness, let alone true evil, didn’t stop TIME from selecting Hitler, Stalin and the Ayatollah Khomeini in years past, or Vladimir Putin in 2007. It’s no secret the Feds have been forcefully pushing back against WikiLeaks post-Cablegate. Not every offensive they wage will be so obvious as to make the news.