Greenwald Attacks Time For Person Of The Year Selection: ‘A Meaningless Award From A Meaningless Magazine’

Glenn Greenwald ridiculed Time on Wednesday for the magazine’s decision to name Pope Francis — and not Edward Snowden — its “person of the year” for 2013.

In an email to TPM, Greenwald, who has reported extensively on the National Security Agency’s top secret surveillance programs revealed by Snowden, said that the selection was motivated by Time’s desire to be “relevant” — if only for a moment.

“It’s a meaningless award from a meaningless magazine, designed to achieve the impossible: to make TIME relevant and interesting for a few fleeting moments,” he wrote.

Nevertheless, Greenwald indicated that the pope was a worthy choice.

“I don’t begrudge the choice of Pope Francis: some of his pronouncements are impressive with the potential to achieve real change,” Greenwald wrote, before citing others who share his view that Snowden “influenced this year’s news events” more than any other.

“But for the reasons which the New Yorker’s John Cassidy, the New York Times’ Margaret Sullivan, and the Washington Post’s Andrea Peterson all stated, Snowden is clearly, by far, the person who has most influenced this year’s news events. If it were a serious magazine with minimally brave editors, then of course Snowden would have been chosen, but I never expected him to be precisely because that’s not what TIME is.”

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Shortly after the decision was announced, Greenwald fired off a pair of tweets aimed at Time. He first mockingly called Time “edgy, bold, courageous and innovative as ever” and then tweeted a link to an article from The Onion that satirized the magazine.

Greenwald set the stakes for the “person of the year” selection earlier this week, suggesting that Time would be “naming themselves Cowards of the Decade” if Snowden did not receive the distinction.


This post has been updated.

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