I suspect Time knew just as well as everybody else that the real person of the year, whether you worshipped him or were a critic, was – how could it be anyone else? – Barack Obama. Was not Barack Obama sworn in as President in 2009? Was he not – the descriptors are now bonded to his name – “the first black man to occupy the White House?” Was this not a “historic milestone?” Did he not, almost immediately, also win the Nobel Peace Prize? Was he not the predominant politico-celebrity figure of the entire world this year?It's not Obama Derangement Syndrome if America really does despise the failed Kenyan usurper as much as Rex does, you see. Ergo, it's not Obama Derangement Syndrome...it's simply reality. And thus, we've come full circle to October 2008 again: the liberal media is in the tank for the black guy, it's unfair to Sarah Palin, and now the Wingers are vindicated fully: Obama not being Time's Person of the Year in 2009 is proof that the irrational hatred of him is perfectly rational after all. We told you he wouldn't be able to solve America's problems in 11 months! Failure! Usurper! Impeach!
What was Time waiting for before it would name him as person of the year? Did he have to win Wimbledon with one hand tied behind his back while simultaneously directing repairs to the Large Hadron Collider?
I think Time went to the relatively faceless functionary Bernanke mainly not to name Barack Obama. Time, like a lot of its fellows in the wild world of the contemporary U.S. media, is in an awkward place with regards to Mr. Obama. Having devoted so much incense to his remarkable ascendancy, a great swath of his country's press is looking for a convenient and not too noticeable off-ramp while it – shall we say – recalibrates its enthusiasm.
It's an uncomfortable pivot from the audacity of hope to buyer's remorse. Very uncomfortable for those in the media who played the cheerleader for Mr. Obama, who skated by controversies that would have sunk other candidates or abandoned the ruthless investigations they would have pressed on less congenial candidates.
The ferocity they applied to the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, in contrast with the timidity they brought to his campaign, will in time come to be seen as one of the most shameful episodes in American journalism. Not so much for what they did to Ms. Palin, but for what they neglected to do in examining the candidate for the office that really counted. In some curious way, the U.S. media's bulldogging of Ms. Palin was kind of an inverted compensation for what they weren't doing to him.
The best part is if Obama was named Person of the Year in 2009...for he was named Person of the Year by Time in 2008, you see...it would have been proof that Time was in the tank for the black guy, the media's unfair to Sarah Palin, and now the Wingers are vindicated fully.
Amazing how that works.