By William J. Furney
If you’re giving out awards to “people of the year”, in this of all years, it probably shouldn’t take you long to realise who is most deserving: frontline workers the world over who put their lives at risk as the virus raged, some tragically losing theirs.
Doctors, nurses, paramedics, supermarket workers, bus and taxi drivers and all the many others who selflessly went to work every day during the early days of the pandemic instead of shielding themselves at home.
And then there’s the scientists who developed the different coronavirus vaccines now being rolled out and that may give us back our lives.
You wouldn’t even think of giving the gong to, say, a couple of politicians who won an election and won’t take office until next year — ergo, having done nothing of note in 2020 apart from beating Donald Trump.
Yet that’s the absurd choice of Time magazine’s People of the Year — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris — laying bare the declining American weekly newsmagine’s leftist agenda ahead of what has famously been its journalistic integrity, which now lies in shreds.
No wonder outgoing, sore loser Trump blasts “liberal” media as always against him, and fake news.
The award is a mighty slap in the face to healthcare and other frontline workers during this most difficult of years, and brings to mind the gushing Nobel Committee’s awarding of the Peace Prize to Barack Obama just after he won the 2008 election against George W. Bush and, ostensibly, because he wasn’t George W. Bush — a decision former Nobel secretary Geir Lundestad later regretted.
What’s wrong with these giddy, ditzy people? Do they throw all sense out the window because an American Democrat beats a Republican? Do they ignore the biggest story of the year — of a century, with 1.6 million lives lost globally so far in 2020, over 296,000 of them in the United States, the country most affected by the microorganism — in their rush to swoon at the feet of left-wing politicians?
Journalists employed by Time, which has repeatedly changed hands in recent years and since November 2018 has been owned by cloud software firm Salesforce owner Marc Benioff, a multi-billionaire and Democratic Party supporter, must feel they’re working for a propaganda sheet worthy of the Kremlin or Beijing.
In its shortlist for this year’s award, the New York-based publication listed Biden (no mention of his running mate, Harris), Trump (what, exactly, has The Maskless One achieved, other than contracting coronavirus?), frontline healthcare workers along with US federal immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci and the Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the brutal killing by an American cop of George Floyd.
The daft editors who decide the annual accolade — based on “the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill” — managed to work out that two people who have done nothing were most worthy. Perhaps they were afraid of losing their jobs. They should, because they’re not journalists but PRs. They even ignored their online reader poll, which voted essential workers including medics, delivery personnel, grocery staff and many others out working among the potentially covid infected public as the winners.
Meanwhile, the world is facing a third wave of the virus, and those that have largely escaped mass infections and casualties, such as lockdown outlier Sweden, are seeing cases soar. Germany, lauded for its early coronavirus measures that saw relatively few deaths compared to near nations France, Spain and the United Kingdom, is inundated, and today announced a new national lockdown over the Christmas period amid record deaths.
Cases are also skyrocketing in places like South Korea, which was also praised for its initial efforts to contain the virus, and it too may go into lockdown. “Our back is against the wall,” President Moon Jae-in said today as daily infections reached beyond 1,000. “This is a crucial moment to devote all our virus control capabilities and administrative power to stopping the coronavirus spread.”
Just as there’s nothing to celebrate about Time mag’s people award, it’s pointless throwing parties this New Year’s Eve and looking back on another marvelous year — because great it ain’t. And going into 2021, it’s almost certain to be a repeat coronavirus crisis, until the vaccines reach the majority of people and infections and deaths finally start to fall off and die.
That would be something worth celebrating — and truly deserving of an award, for everyone involved in the fight of our lives.