Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Who is worthier newsmaker of 2013 - Pope or Snowden?

So it's official, Time magazine declared Pope Francis as it's Person of the year, NSA leaker Edward Snowden finished second. Twitterati (in my timeline) bursted in anger at American magazine but I am more sanguine. Time is nominally independent entity, twitterati have no business to decide who will be declared Time's POI, it's prerogative of editors. Like Roman Caesars they could declare their pets and nobody prevent them from doing so.

Only interesting thing in my view was so-called people's poll which Time allowed to be hijacked by hackers who developed scripts which steal people's identities on Facebook & Twitter and with their help organized voting for weird almost unknown personalities. Believe it or not but people's choice in 2013 was Egyptian dictator Sisi. Behind him in leading pack were Turkish premier Erdogan (what exactly he did in 2013?), singer Miles Cyrus (who is he?) and Indian controversial politician Narendra Modi who didn't take crown yet (elections are set for spring of 2014) to be newsmaker of the year.

But choice of Pope over Snowden is indicative of deep malaise which affected Western states lately. Their propaganda machines are the best in the world, but they simply didn't know what to make of uninterrupted stream of revelations & scandals originated in Snowden leaks. Do you remember the day when Snowden summoned human rights activists to Moscow airport and media turned absolutely wild with excitement. But not everywhere, I switched to CNN USA which was broadcasting endlessly boring mass service which Francis was conducting in Brazil. Later in the day Wolf Blitzer & other CNN programs also covered Pope's peregrination in great detail, while Snowden meeting deserved just a passing mention.

Why was CNN shy in covering the most sensational story of 2013 or even decade? Nominally independent news channel was obviously waiting for official response from the White House to calibrate their own response to NSA leaks. Western media so used to think of Western societies, states, army & media as the best in the world, deserved only to be admired and when their house of cards suddenly fell apart (and they were not prepared to face such emergency) it left them in disarray, in search of fresh air, and Pope just provided that, as almost lonely Western public figure worthy of admiration.

What exactly Pope did in 2013 to make headlines around the world? He was not embroiled in controversies like his predecessors but I noticed he's very humbled man, he touched, embraced sick pilgrims. From his words I remember his appeal against American intervention in Syria and his words on gays: "Who am I to judge them?". These words were of course misinterpreted by gay loving politically correct Western media that Pope endorsed people who practice anal sex. They of course will expect from Pope in near future to start appointing gays as priests (as Anglicans already do) or better to confess that he is gay himself. Don't know whether such expectations will be met by Francis.

Let's turn to Snowden. He's runner up to Francis so even establishment controlled Time magazine had to cease him ground in carefully trimmed news landscape. He should feel lucky that Time didn't appoint him POY unless he fonds of this crisis ridden magazine facing extinction in near future. What a dubious honour to be the last Time POY!

Snowden is icon for future generations, he doesn't need any endorsements and formal accolades. Millions of people around the world who consider him HERO know this and I hope he knows it as well.

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