Stengel: Time Magazine POY Not a Popularity Contest

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Liz Smith asked Time magazine’s managing editor Rick Stengel the $64,000 question that many in the chattering classes have been wondering about over the past few weeks. From the NY Post:

I asked editor Rick Stengel. ”Is the ‘person of the year’ a popularity contest? Do you always want to present something or someone to leave us hopeful and positive?” Then I cited past choices of Hitler and Stalin. Stengel shook his head. ”No, not popularity. It’s who or what influenced the world the most in the year past.”

We’ll see whether Time goes with the darker, more realistic Musharraf, Ahmadinejad, or the rosier choice of Al Gore/Mother Earth.

(image via time)