Julian Assange: Man Of The Year?

A wire report that has been picked up by Matt Drudge is claiming that Time Magazine will name Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as 2010’s Man Of The Year:

TIME magazine will name WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange the 2010 ‘Person of the Year’ according to the Drudge Report, citing unnamed sources. Assange ,who was arrested Tuesday morning¬† in England for sex crimes, was leading TIME’s online poll.

A spokesperson from TIME magazine tells WireUpdate,”Trying to guess TIME’s Person of the Year is an annual tradition and one of the great parlor games in journalism; we certainly welcome people guessing, but we never confirm or deny rumors until we reveal TIME’s choice.”

The final decision by TIME magazine editors will be announced next Wednesday.

As Time is often obliged to point when this annual designation is made, the appellation “Man Of The Year” is meant to designate the person, place, event, or object that or better or for worse, …has done the most to influence the events of the year.” Hence the reason that such person’s as Adolf Hitler and Ayatollah Kohomeni have made their ways on to the cover of Time in a given year.

However, assuming this report is true, is Assange really that person? Yes, the Wikileaks stories have been on the front pages of newspapers throughout the world many times during the year, but the truth of the matter is that very little of what the documents has revealed really qualifies as earth shattering or game changing. It’s an important story no doubt, but the most important story of the year? I’m not seeing it.

If I was making the selection, I’d focus on domestic politics and the midterm elections. The Tea Party movement, perhaps, or as much as it might pain me to say it, Sarah Palin. I think a case can be made that either one of those had a bigger impact on the news in 2010 than Julian Assange.

Tune in next Wednesday to find out, I guess.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Joe Callan says:

    “I think a case can be made that either one of those had a bigger impact on the news in 2010 than Julian Assange.”

    That may be true regarding important developments in American politics, but there are also a lot of people worldwide buzzing about (both for and against) Assange’s actions. Of course this can be attributed to the fact that it was diplomatic docs that were leaked, but the face of all those intelligence revelations, for better or worse, is Assange’s. When’s the last time Russia, Ecuador and China made official statements regarding Sarah Palin or the Tea Party movement?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Scott Brown would be an interesting choice, too. Although I’m always bemused by these things. With incredibly rare exceptions, the obvious choice is virtually always the sitting President of the United States.

  3. I think it should be Assange if only because we haven’t really even scratched the surface on the effect of their work this past year. Palin’s work affects the United States, but Wikileaks affects the world, and what’s more, I think we’re just getting started.

    I wish one person didn’t take all the credit, especially someone as detestable as Assange. But considering what’s happened this year, I think that a very good argument could be made for him.

  4. Tano says:

    Time lost all credibility for this designation when they failed to pick OBL in 2001. Political correctness cuts many ways.

    Palin might be the biggest media star, but she kinda flopped on the electoral scene. Maybe Tea Party in general would be more appropriate, although Obama winning health care is probably the domestic political event that will have the biggest impact in a historical sense.

  5. TG Chicago says:

    I agree with Tano regarding OBL and 2001.

    It’s also goofy to pick groups like the Tea Party for “Person of the Year”. They’ve done it before, and it was always dumb. Also, I don’t feel confident that the Tea Party will actually be a meaningful force for any policy changes. They got more Republicans elected, but I see little movement on the issues that supposedly animated the TP.

    Assange is the right pick. Besides the actual leaks, the Wikileaks phenomenon is a harbinger of what is to come. It’s the wider manifestation of the information age, with all the pros and cons. Far more meaningful to world events than the Tea Party or Palin.

    (Though I concede Joyner’s point about the US President being hard to beat in any year. But of course, that’s not going to sell any magazines, which is the real point of the award. Which is why Palin or the TP might get it.)

  6. rodney dill says:

    Is Murkowski the ‘write-in’ dark horse?