"Time" is an American weekly opinion magazine founded in 1923 and read across the entire world. It has international editions for Europe, Asia and Canada and an edition for children. It focuses on politics, culture, social changes, sport, fashion, economics and other current events.
The magazine is best known for electing an annual "Person of the Year". Since 1999 they also elect an annual list of the 100 most influential people of the year.
See also: Time All Time 100 Albums
"Time" provides examples of:
- But Not Too Evil: Khomeini was the last controversial person to be elected "Man of the Year" in 1979. Due to Public Backlash "Time" became more careful not to elect people that are too "evil" in the public eye, even though later winners like George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin could hardly be considered free from controversy either.
- Magazine Decay: As recently as the 1980s, it was primarily politics and current events (with one section covering entertainment in a similarly thoughtful manner), and arguably superior to The Economist in its heyday. While politics is still a big focus, celebrity gossip with sensationalist headlines is also featured now, along with fluffy media reviews and whatnot. The Onion skewered the dumbing-down of Time in their video feature "Time Announces New Version Of Magazine Aimed At Adults".
- Time's annual Person of the Year award could be said to have undergone its own form of decay. The award wasn't originally meant as an honor, but was given to the person whom the magazine deemed to have had the most influence on that year's events, for good or for ill — it was given to Adolf Hitler in 1938, for example, and Josef Stalin in 1939 and 1942. The choices were often Americentric (every US President since FDR, apart from Gerald Ford, has won the award at least once), but that's a given for an American newsmagazine.
However, the choice of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 proved to be hugely controversial, as many readers were disgusted with the magazine for "honoring" an enemy of the United States (even though Person of the Year was never meant as an honor). Decay set in as Time stuck with safer choices from then on, such as giving it to Rudy Giuliani instead of Osama bin Laden in 2001 in order to avoid a similar backlash, which only reinforced the false perception that Person of the Year was meant as an honor. From there, recent years have brought such strange choices as "You" (representing the rise of the online community) in 2006, as well as the creation of a hype machine around the award — the cover is now unveiled either on CNN or Today, as if they're naming the nominees for the Academy Awards.
- Time artificially darkened the mugshot photo of OJ Simpson to make him seem scarier and were called out on it. Jon Stewart declared it the day Print Media "Jumped the Shark".
- They also lost credibility after they published their (in)famous cover story "51%" (% of American women who aren't married), claiming it was the death of marriage now that the majority of women are choosing to remain single. The count included 15-year-olds and widows.
- This infamous collage compares Time 's U.S. cover to its foreign covers, showing just how far that magazine has gone with regards to this trope. For example, Time 's Europe, Asia, and South Pacific cover story was the continued unrest in post-revolutionary Egypt. Its U.S. cover story? "Why Anxiety Is Good For You."
- Cosmetic Award: The "Person of the Year" election is often seen as a badge of honor, not being connected to any kind of a financial reward.
- Men Are Generic, Women Are Special: The only women to specifically win the "Person of the Year" election have been "The Whistleblowers" (Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rowley and Sherron Watkins, in 2002) and Melinda Gates (jointly with Bill Gates and Bono, in 2005). Before that, four women were granted the title as individuals, as "Woman of the Year" – Wallis Simpson (1936), Soong May-ling (1937), Queen Elizabeth II (1952) and Corazon Aquino (1986). "American Women" were recognized as a group in 1975. Other classes of people recognized comprise both men and women, such as "Hungarian Freedom Fighters" (1956), "U.S. Scientists" (1960), "The Inheritors" (1966), "The Middle Americans" (1969), "The American Soldier" (2003), "You" (2006) and "The Protester" (2011, represented on the cover by a woman).
- We All Live in America: Despite trying to maintain a cosmopolitan image and being read across the entire world the magazine sometimes focuses too much on topics that only Americans would consider to be interesting.
- Since 1996 most people elected to be "Person of the Year" have been Americans. The magazine even went so far to name "The American Soldier" "Person of 2003", despite the fact that the Americans weren't the only troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. So far, the only exceptions have been Irishman Bono (2005), Russian Vladimir Putin (2007) and Pope Francis (2013), not counting general winners like "You" (2006) and "The Protester" (2011).
- When "Time Magazine" tried to elect the "Person of the Century" in 1999 there was criticism that too many names were Americans, and not only that, some of them were solely important to the U.S.A. itself, not the world in general.