It’s barely news any more, but Donald Trump told a totally unnecessary, easy-to-disprove lie in order to bolster his own esteem and denigrate a reputable journalistic outlet. He claimed that Time was interested in naming him the magazine’s “Person of the Year” for the second year in a row. Had this lie been true, it would have put him in company with Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, FDR, Eisenhower, LBJ, Reagan, Nixon, Winston Churchill, and Mikhail Gorbachev (and Stalin). Without family money, someone as stupid and untalented as Trump wouldn’t have made Sales Team Leader at your local Chevrolet dealership, but, alas, in a living argument for an estate tax of 100%, here we are. In terms of making an impact “on the events of the year” (the magazine’s criteria for selection), Trump has done very little except hurt people, which was why he was elected. Thankfully, his ineptitude, a public hostility toward the Republican majority in Congress, and the thoughtfulness of our judges have kept him from enacting major policy changes.
Above, responding to Trump’s lie that Time contacted him to tell him that he was “probably” going to be Person of the Year, politely calls Trump “incorrect.”
Which doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous. He is, and we should interpret his lie as mere vanity. Trump is undermining the First Amendment and journalism as key parts of democracy. True dictator behavior. We need to keep a careful eye on Trump’s interference in Rupert Murdoch’s apparent attempt to buy CNN and the Koch brothers’ effort to get Time,* a magazine that Trump is weirdly obsessed with, especially given that the only reason most people I know read Time is because their dentist is running late.
Above, Trump makes it clear in a tweet dated November 25 that he expects US news organizations to serve as propaganda outlets. CNN corrected him with the reminder that it is HIS job to represent the US to the world, not theirs. Imagine what our politics will look like if net neutrality isn’t protected and ownership of CNN is transferred to Rupert Murdoch.
So, if it’s not going to be Trump, who should be Time’s Person of the Year? Some suggestions:
- Rose McGowan, for her persistence in calling out sexual abusers in Hollywood
- Leila de Lima, a human rights lawyer and a Filippino Senator now in prison for her critique of President Rodrigo Duterte
- Jordan Peele, for forwarding the genre of the social horror
- Doug Jones, who helped bring one of the bombers in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing to justice and is calling for a new vision of Southern politics
- Sally Yates, whose integrity gives me hope for politics
- Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, whose work there has saved lives
- Heather Heyer. Tear down every statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest and raise one of Heyer in its place.
Who is on your list?