In a rather bizarre selection, Time chose the German leader as Person of the Year. Her accomplishments: the Greek debt crisis and refugees.
The choice underlined the irrelevance of the magazine, which passed over the self-proclaimed Islamic State, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin–each of which would have been a more appropriate choice. After naming Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, the magazine has shied away from controversial choices, mainly for commercial reasons. As a former Newsweek reporter who covered the Iranian hostage crisis, I thought Khomeini was an appropriate choice.
Here is what Time said about its choice: “At a moment when much of the world is once more engaged in a furious debate about the balance between safety and freedom, the Chancellor is asking a great deal of the German people, and by their example, the rest of us as well. To be welcoming. To be unafraid. To believe that great civilizations build bridges, not walls, and that wars are won both on and off the battlefield. By viewing the refugees as victims to be rescued rather than invaders to be repelled, the woman raised behind the Iron Curtain gambled on freedom. The pastor’s daughter wielded mercy like a weapon. You can agree with her or not, but she is not taking the easy road. Leaders are tested only when people don’t want to follow. For asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply, Angela Merkel is Time’s Person of the Year.”
For better or worse, the IS, Trump or Putin played far more significant roles in 2015. At least the mag didn’t choose Caitlyn Jenner or Black Lives Matter!
Worst Stories Of The Year: Trump And Terrorism
The Columbia Journalism Review got a few items right: the poor coverage of terrorist incidents, the media’s failure to take the Trump candidacy seriously and the memory of Brian Williams.
Poll: Many People Support Trump on Immigration
Love him or late him, Donald Trump keeps getting support for seemingly outrageous positions, such as his proposed ban on visas for Muslims.
Almost two-thirds of likely 2016 Republican primary voters support Trump’s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S. while more than a third say it makes them more likely to vote for him.
Note: MediaMashup will not be published Friday because the author has a final exam in Chinese.
Christopher Harper is a longtime journalist, who reported in Europe and the Middle East. He teaches media law and international journalism. Send suggestions and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.