After dropping a number of hints and a shortlist that included such names as Robert Mueller, Christine Blasey Ford, Jamal Khashoggi, the March for Our Lives activists and more, Time magazine revealed its 2018 “Person of the Year” Tuesday morning on NBC.
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist whose brutal murder at the hands of his own government in a foreign consulate provoked tremendous international controversy in October, has become the first person to ever posthumously receive the honor.
However, based upon careful editorial consideration — or what some might call political calculation — Khashoggi was not selected as the sole figure honored this year.
“As we looked at the choices, it became clear that the manipulation and abuse of truth is really the common thread in so many of this year’s major stories,” said Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal.
So the editorial board took action. It could not, in good conscience, rest with recognizing just one journalist for risking life and limb in the pursuit of truth.
The journalism community had witnessed an injustice in 2018, and it had to speak out.
Thus, “The Guardians” were born. This sizable group of journalists was deemed by the board to be representative of the media’s noble battle to preserve truth in the face of the dangerous anti-media rhetoric and actions that had supposedly defined 2018.
— TIME (@TIME) December 11, 2018
Right-wing media personalities did not hesitate in declaring that Time’s selection was, to them, entirely unsurprising.
It was just one of a number of examples of the self-aggrandizing, left-wing establishment media giving itself a rousing round of applause.
Thus, Time’s most popular spotlight issue quickly became another opportunity for the media to take aim at President Donald Trump.
There was no question Time was attempting to draw parallels between the president’s constant anti-media rhetoric and recent brazen attacks on journalists and the free press by foreign governments. The selections the publication made and the narrative it chose to string them all together perfectly fits its modus operandi.
The mainstream media have long had a knack for anointing themselves truth’s mightiest defenders.
If they can do that while painting this administration’s rhetoric as an attempt to infringe upon the First Amendment and the catalyst for horrific, manifest injustices and victimizations of journalists abroad at the hands of authoritarian regimes, all the better. This announcement shows all the hallmarks of them doing just that.
The only problem is that Time has inadvertently contradicted its own narrative with its selections.
Named alongside Khashoggi were Filipina journalist Maria Ressa, Reuters reporters Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone and the staff of The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland.
Of the four cover selections, only one was attacked or suppressed here in the United States — the staff of The Capital Gazette. Unsurprisingly, however, they were also the only group victimized by a nongovernment actor.
The Capital Gazette incident occurred in June when Jarrod Ramos committed a mass shooting at the publication’s office.
Though initial reports attempted to portray Ramos as a man radicalized by Trump’s anti-media rhetoric, it turned out the attack was the result of Gazette coverage of Ramos’ 2011 harassment conviction.
The rest of Time’s selected persons were victimized by foreign governments abroad.
Khashoggi, whose case received by far the most attention, was executed without any sort of due process by cronies to a theocratic Islamic monarchy. The remaining three journalists were framed, threatened or imprisoned for their coverage of authoritarian regimes in Burma and the Philippines, both of which have a history of countless recorded human rights violations.
There are only two commonalities between all of Time’s selections. They are all journalists victimized for their work pursuing truth, and none of them was victimized by President Trump, his administration or the U.S. government.
The selections make no case whatsoever for the Trump administration or its rhetoric chipping away at the free press here on U.S. soil.
It is not as though Time chose to honor CNN’s Jim Acosta for his ever-so-righteous willingness to risk his precious press pass hogging the microphone. Nor did it honor any of the numerous journalists or publications that Trump has railed against in recent months.
And rightfully so. No reasonable American would honestly equate the stripping of Acosta’s press pass — which he has no right to — as an attack on the First Amendment or a horrific victimization of honest journalists pursuing truth.
Not to mention that this “The Guardians” narrative also fails to make the case that truth-seeking journalists are at greater risk of victimization than they were before or that Trump’s rhetoric has been the catalyst.
In fact, according to Reporters Without Borders, between 2003 and 2017 over 1,000 journalists were killed worldwide, and a plurality was murdered or targeted with complete impunity. But despite the media’s claims about Trump administration rhetoric, approximately 68 and 60 journalists were killed in 2017 and 2018 respectively, making the past two years some of the least dangerous for journalists since the turn of the century.
The fact of the matter is, Time’s “Person of the Year” selection proves one thing and one thing only:
The U.S. media can be as disrespectful, dishonest and abrasive as the Jim Acostas among them, and the greatest danger they face is being name-called or losing a White House press pass. Journalists speaking honest truths to power under oppressive regimes abroad do not have that right. They are constantly under threat.
Time’s “The Guardians” narrative undermines everything the establishment media have attempted to claim in the last year by showcasing just that. It puts in context every cry of foul and every complaint the left-wing establishment media has had under this administration.
This selection proves that the only place where freedom of truth, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are truly safe from government injustices or victimizations — the only place where dissidents can speak truth to power — is here in the United States.
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