Shouldn't Time's Person of Year Have Been Wikileaks founder Julian Assange? Time Magazine's Managing Editor Explains Why They Didn't Pick Him Mediaweek
"Digital whistleblower and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was Time's readers’ choice to be the magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year with 382,206 votes, but [Time's Managing Editor, Rick] Stengel said he considered the long-term impact of the Harvard-dropout-turned-social-network-mogul [Mark Zuckerberg]—not just the past year’s," Mediaweek reports.
Thus Zuckerberg was named Time's Person of the Year and not Assange.
According to the article, Stengel added, "When I make the choice, I think of [what] has actually affected people’s lives the most [in] the past year. Five years from now, who’s going to look smart? Julian Assange has been in the news a lot lately. I think five years from now, he’ll been an asterisk. If you really wanted to, [you would] make [leaker] Bradley Manning. Julian Assange was the wine bottle, and Bradley Manning supplied the wine. In the grand scheme of things, it will be a footnote to history.”
Stengel continued, the article said, that "Zuckerberg, meanwhile, created a new system of connecting people that 'is the connective tissue for nearly a tenth of the planet. Facebook is now the third-largest country on Earth and surely has more information about its citizens than any government does.' "
One misconception some members of the public have is that Time's Person of the Year is a designation honoring someone for a positive contribution to society. In fact, it is the person who has had the most significant impact. Thus Hitler was a Time Person of the Year--then called Man of the Year--for 1938.