The magazine announced its choice of presumed US president and vice president-elect for the annual accolade on Thursday, much to the consternation of the social media commentariat.
TIME had previously revealed its shortlist of candidates, which, besides a solo entry for Biden, featured current President Donald Trump, “frontline health care workers and Dr. Anthony Fauci,” America’s top virologist. The list also included 2020’s “movement for racial justice,” sparked by the killing of George Floyd.
With 2020 overwhelmingly being the year of Covid-19, the choice of Biden and Harris did not go down well. Many insisted that healthcare workers should have been celebrated by the magazine instead, given that the US has faced one of the worst outbreaks of the virus worldwide.
“[Healthcare] workers spend almost the entire year trying to fight the worst pandemic in a century … and you award this bauble to a man who spent the year in a basement,” one person exclaimed on Twitter.
I just think it’s funny they had the opportunity to thank (albeit performatively) the healthcare workers that have been working tirelessly through covid and were like nah just give it to Biden
— marki (@markimalarki) December 11, 2020
Doctors, Nurses, Emergency Workers, spend almost the entire year trying to fight the worst pandemic in a century with many dying in the process – and you award this bauble to a man who spent the year in a basement & a woman so unpopular she did not even make it to the primaries.
— Gray Connolly (@GrayConnolly) December 11, 2020
Should have been health care workers. pic.twitter.com/BsXmWe5Jiu
— The Honorable Peachy Dory (@sosaithi) December 11, 2020
The magazine did, however, jointly name healthcare workers and racial justice organizers as their ‘guardians of the year’ — a new category altogether.
Others took issue with the choice of Biden and Harris, particularly given that 2020’s nailbiter of a presidential election was a far cry from the anti-Trump landslide many pollsters had predicted.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris hurt Democrats down ballot yet they won Time Magazine Person of the Year?” tweeted one baffled critic.
“Might as well give them both a Nobel Peace Prize, an Oscar and Grammy,” another person mockingly wrote.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris hurt Democrats down ballot yet they won Time Magazine Person of the Year?
— Elizabeth Warren is a Neera Tanden Democrat 🥋 (@SocialistMMA) December 11, 2020
Might as well give them both a Nobel Peace Prize, an Oscar and Grammy for their “breathtaking” non-leadership.
Can the corporate media act any more boot-licking pathetic? 🤯
— Elisa Martinez (@elisa1121) December 11, 2020
Other commenters thought it was bizarre to lump Biden and his running mate together for “person” of the year, as if either’s persona wasn’t deserving enough of the title alone.
Some pointed out that other presidents, like his former boss Barack Obama and Trump himself had become person of the year all by themselves.
TIME’s move was panned as “deranged” and political “gaslighting.”
“Does this imply one of them doesn’t meet the criteria of a person,” quipped podcaster Ashleigh Coffin.
That’s weird. These other Presidents didn’t share their PERSON of the Year award with their VP. pic.twitter.com/Yq36tomLlp
— Boomieleaks (@Boomieleaks) December 11, 2020
Does this imply one of them doesn’t meet the criteria of a person https://t.co/ze8W5dJUAS
— Ash (@AshBCoffin) December 11, 2020
When I first saw it I thought it was parody 🤯
— Geniea 🌹 (@Geniea8) December 11, 2020
The unusual ‘Person of the Year’ pick was not the first time in 2020 that a major news outlet failed to choose between two Democrats. During the presidential primary season, in January, the New York Times decided to endorse both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for president, and was similarly roasted for that at the time.
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