Among the things that matter less to the general public in the 21st Century than it did in the 20th, unless it is to complain about the choice: TIME magazine’s Person of the Year, started back in 1927, in part “to remedy the editorial embarrassment earlier that year of not having aviator Charles Lindbergh on its cover following his historic trans-Atlantic flight.”
The magazine annually awards the title to an individual or group who, for better or worse, has had the biggest impact on the world and news over the course of the past year. The list has included every US President elected after Calvin Coolidge.
I recall the tremendous backlash TIME received as a result naming the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 as what was then Man of the Year, even though it was totally justified after the Iran hostage crisis. They’d picked controversial figures before: Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939 and 1942), and Nikita Khrushchev (1957).
In 2001, Time’s Person of the Year, following the September 11 attacks, was New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, although, arguably Osama bin Laden was a more likely choice.