In 2018, Time magazine’s person of the year isn’t just one person; it’s four individuals and a group, all of whom helped expose “the manipulation and abuse of truth” around the world.
They are the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post contributing columnist who was killed inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul in October; the staff of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland; journalist Maria Ressa, the CEO of the Rappler news website, who has been made a legal target in the Philippines; and journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who have been jailed in Myanmar for nearly a year for their work exposing the mass killing of Rohingya Muslims.
“As we looked at the choices, it became clear that the manipulation and the abuse of truth is really the common thread in so many of this year’s major stories, from Russia to Riyadh to Silicon Valley,” Time magazine editor Edward Felsenthal said on the “Today” show Tuesday morning, where the announcement was made.
It was the second year in a row Time named a group of people, rather than one single person, for the honor. Last year Time recognized “The Silence Breakers,” the women (and some men) who came forward with stories of sexual harassment and assault and helped force a nationwide reckoning.
Among them were Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, the actresses whose stunning accusations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein helped lead to his downfall; and activist Tarana Burke, creator of the #MeToo movement, along with the Hollywood star who amplified it on social media, Alyssa Milano.
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, was third and President Trump was runner-up, Felsenthal said.
“There’s always a strong case for the president of the United States, particularly this president,” Felsenthal said.
The magazine’s shortlist had included Trump, Mueller and Khashoggi.
It also had included the more than 2,000 migrant families separated at the U.S. border; Russian President Vladimir Putin; “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler; California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged then-Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were high school students; March for our Lives activists fighting for gun-control reforms; South Korean President Moon Jae-in; and former actress-turned-British royal Meghan Markle.
The title this year once again did not go to Trump, who had told a reporter last month he could not imagine anyone but himself receiving the distinction this year.
“I don’t know, that is up to Time magazine,” Trump said then. "I can’t imagine anybody else other than Trump, can you imagine anybody else other than Trump?”
Lindsey Bever, Abby Ohlheiser and Eli Rosenberg contributed to this report.