RE: Persons of the Year

The LA Times’ Andrew Malcolm seems a bit perturbed that Sarah Palin apprently stole a TIME magazine Person of the Year runner-up award from former Vice President Al Gore. In his post on the Times’ Top of the Ticket blog today, Malcom’s lede is:

Completely ignoring Al Gore because he’d already won the world’s other top two prizes — the Nobel and Oscar — and pretty well rested on his warming climate laurels this year, Time magazine has chosen Alaska’s Republican Gov. Sarah Palin as a runner-up Person of the Year.

The LAT blogger must have been off planet last year when TIME awarded Gore runner-up honors. Or did he expect St. Al to be a runner-up two years in a row? Some of the millions shivering as an icy cold front covers much of the nation may not agree that the Prince of Global Warming deserves it this year, Andrew.

I wonder why Malcolm didn’t imply in his lede that one of the three other runners-up stole their elections from Gore also? He does point out that Sarkozky was chosen because his wife is a hottie, and Paulson was selected “for reasons that have something to do with the financial mess.” Zhang Yimou’s place on the second step, according to Malcolm, “really needs no explanation.”

Malcolm does seem a bit confused about why Sarah Palin is a runner-up, though. First he reasons:

Palin was picked because she almost singlehandedly saved the Republican Party from total annihilation as its surprising vice presidential candidate.

But deeper down into his post, Malcom implies that Palin was chosen by TIME to help it sell copies of its magazine:

Time, like all print, online and broadcast media, knows the magnetic draw of merely mentioning Sarah Palin’s name among fans and foes. Putting Sarah Palin’s name in a headline and adding Sarah Palin photographs draws thousands of people, even if they haven’t a clue about her politics. Sarah Palin is simply great for the media business. The more photos the better too.

Strange, I remember seeing someone else’s face on the cover of TIME’s POTY issue, not Plain’s.  Even more confusion here on Andrew’s part: Palin’s not The One about whose politics people have no clue. That one was TIME’s Person of the Year Barack Obama.

– JP