I’m not prone to critiquing Time magazine’s annual Person of the Year selection.
The choices don’t usually get me too worked up — either positively or negatively. This year’s choice is a bit different.
Time chose to honor the Ebola fighters, the medical professionals who went to West Africa to battle the killer disease.
Of all the choices Time could have made, the editors could have chosen someone with more, um, immediate and palpable impact.
As my pal Tom Taschinger wrote in the Beaumont Enterprise, “Granted, these men and women are doing noble deeds. But Ebola has faded from the epidemic that will end Life As We Know It to an overhyped cable-TV story.”
Indeed, this story was overplayed from the beginning, particularly the “outbreak” in the United States that never occurred.
Here’s one of the posts I published on my blog about the coverage:
One man flew to Dallas from Liberia; he was carrying the virus with him. He got sick, checked into a first-rate hospital in the Dallas area, but then died. Another man died in Nebraska. A nurse got infected in Dallas, went to Atlanta, and was declared Ebola free.
The disease has receded from the headlines and from CNN, MSNBC and Fox news coverage.
As Taschinger noted in his excellent column, occasionally Time picks a notorious figure as its Person of the Year — such as Ayatollah Khomeini or Timothy McVeigh. It has leaned more in recent years to feel-good selections. I agree that they’re important, too. But let’s get real here. Is Ebola really a worldwide threat?
The magazine can do better next year.