Want to be Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year?” If you’re a businessman, “albeit a great one,” it would count against you.
“The criteria for the choice, someone that, quote, ‘for better or for worse, has done the most to influence the events of the year,’” said NBC “Today” co-anchor Meredith Vieira on December 17. “And this year, the field is wide open.”
“Pro: The iPhone is a triumph while iTunes expanded its reach as the dominant source of online music. Oh, and Apple stock is up a mere 100% in 2007.
Con: Not exactly a figure of global change. He's a businessman, albeit a great one.”
“I think you heard more about person of the year last year than any time in history but I want to get back to that, kind of, core idea of choosing one individual who makes a difference,” Stengel said. “And that is what Time has talked about for years and years, how individuals change history.”
Time’s handicapping of Jobs for being a businessman in its “Person of the Year” considerations comes as the media have increasingly attacked businessmen, despite the hard work and big risks they have taken to build successful companies that provide jobs, products and services that drive the U.S. economy.
Jobs’s impact on the U.S. economy can’t go unnoticed. Apple, Inc. has more than 18,000 employees. He is a self-made billionaire and is the largest shareholder of Disney (NYSE: DIS). In April 2007, Jobs announced 100 million units of Apple’s iPod had been sold.
Apparently his success has tainted his image with the editors at Time.
A study by the Business & Media Institute found this attitude toward businesspeople widespread in the media. Businessmen and women were little represented on network news, even in stories about business. When they did appear, it was often in tales of “another corporate crook” or a CEO’s “stratospheric sums” of money.
Other candidates under consideration for “Person of the Year,” according to Vieira, were: Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling; commander of the Iraq Multi-National Force General David Petraeus; recent Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former Vice President Al Gore; Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Russian President Vladimir Putin; Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; and Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The selection will be revealed in the December 31 issue of Time, available on newsstands December 21.