Remember a couple of weeks ago when Time basically called Donald Trump a liar? “TIME does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6,” someone from the magazine Tweeted November 24. Well, it turns out they’re the ones mistaken. They published their shortlist of Person of the Year candidates Monday (that’s a November 4 “comment,” two days early for those keeping count) – and President Trump was on it.
TIME Dutifully Corrects the President
One Friday afternoon last month, the president Tweeted that he had been informed that TIME was considering him for Person of the Year and that he declined:
Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named “Man (Person) of the Year,” like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2017
Within a few hours, the magazine Tweeted to correct him:
The President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year. TIME does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6.
— TIME (@TIME) November 25, 2017
Not even an hour later, TIME’s Chief Content Officer, Alan Murray, felt the need to make a much clearer message:
Amazing. Not a speck of truth here—Trump tweets he 'took a pass' at being named TIME's person of the year https://t.co/D6SJgyTpcY
— Alan Murray (@alansmurray) November 25, 2017
The two-Tweet correction sparked a bevy of insulting – and some even clever – remarks from the commentariat. “Time Magazine are naming you liar of the year. You just proved you’re worthy of the honour,” replied one apparently European fellow who doesn’t understand subject-verb agreement.
TIME Waffles on its Dutiful Correction
Monday, December 4, TIME released their shortlist, from which they will choose 2017’s Person of the Year. But wait, just 11 days prior, they announced to the world that they did not comment on the choice until the official publication of that decision. So, what changed?
Nothing – TIME Magazine has a history of “commenting” on the decision before the official date. The publication released the 2016 shortlist December 5 – two days prior to the official announcement. The 2015 list appeared December 7, another two days before the Person was officially named.
The irony is that neither Mr. Murray nor whoever was at the helm of the official TIME Twitter account on the 24th seemed to notice the unfortunate wording of their Tweets. First, TIME tweets that the president is incorrect about how they choose Person of the Year – a statement that can’t be proven since Mr. Trump made no assumptions as to how the choice is made. Second, the same tweet says: “TIME does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6.” Yet they routinely do. Perhaps, in light of the decision to correct the president, it would have been better to skip publishing the shortlist this year.
As if that weren’t enough, their Chief Content Officer declares that there’s “not a speck of truth here.” If by “here” he means in Donald Trump’s Tweet, then he may be correct – then again, he could be wrong. The president said that the magazine called and told him that he would probably be Person of the Year and that he declined. Obviously, the magazine didn’t call him – but one of its many employees very well could have, and Alan Murray would have been none the wiser.
As for taking a pass, why not? Donald Trump was 2016’s Person of the Year. He already has that checked off the old bucket list. TIME’s shortlist includes (amongst others) Amazon CEO turned leftist media mogul and government crony Jeff Bezos, the thousands of “undocumented immigrants” known as Dreamers, North Korean dictator Kim “Little Rocket Man” Jong Un, the communist president of China, and the original anthem kneeler himself – Colin Kaepernick. Oh, and let’s not forget the man who appears to have been appointed to get Trump fired, Robert Mueller. Why would Trump want the “honor” this year?
Maybe President Trump got a call, and perhaps he didn’t – unless someone comes out and admits to contacting him, we may never know for sure. But one thing is certain: Mr. Murray’s unfortunate Tweet can be accurately applied to the official TIME statement. They averred one comment as fact that can’t readily be proven, and another that is blatantly false.