L.A, 2021-12-13 09:16:00. Elon Musk was named Person of the Year at the time
Time magazine has named Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk as Person of the Year.
“Personality of the Year is a mark of influence, and few individuals have had more influence than Musk on life on Earth, and perhaps extraterrestrial life as well,” wrote Edward Filsenthal, Editor-in-Chief of Time magazine. “In 2021, Musk emerged not only as the richest person in the world but also perhaps the richest example of a massive transformation in our society.”
It’s already been a great year for Musk, who has drawn attention to becoming the world’s richest person in part due to the soaring share price of Tesla. With SpaceX, Musk launched the first-ever mission to Earth orbit with a crew of tourists only and not professional astronauts.
This tradition started as far back as 1927 as “Man of the Year” and has since changed not only to identify the individual, but also to consider the influence of a group, movement or idea that had the greatest impact in the past year. In 2020, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris together were named Person of the Year. An annual selection is not necessarily considered an honor, as the selection may have a negative impact. For example, Adolf Hitler was named Man of the Year in 1938.
Some of Musk’s online behavior got him into trouble and sometimes distracted him from his accomplishments. In 2018, the US Securities and Exchange Commission charged him with fraud for tweeting that he was considering taking Tesla private. He agreed to a deal that would have Tesla’s lawyers agree to tweets that would affect shareholders, but a recent report from the Wall Street Journal said two tweets violated that agreement.
In his writing introducing Musk as Person of the Year, Felsenthal drew attention to his “personality”, describing it as “a blunt instrument that often seems to enjoy divisiveness and aggressive mockery”, which the public sees through his frequent use of Twitter.
The safety of Tesla cars was also examined. The company’s Autopilot program is under a federal investigation into accident incidents with parked emergency vehicles, and a recent New York Times investigation questioned the program’s integrity. In an interview with Time magazine, Musk addressed some of the concerns.
“Statistics that I think are unambiguous at this point are that the number of accidents that happen outside of autopilot is much greater than what happens on autopilot,” Musk said. “That doesn’t mean autopilot is perfect. Now you get fully autonomous driving where you don’t need to care. We obviously still have a lot of work to do.”
How ‘Person of the Year’ Evolved
Time has developed the tradition of “Person of the Year” into an even greater franchise by introducing additional categories in 2019. This year, pop star Olivia Rodrigo was named Female Artist of the Year and four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles was named Athlete of the Year. The title of Champions of the Year, formerly known as “The Watchmen,” went to the scientists behind the covid-19 mRNA vaccine specifically Catalin Carrico, Barney Graham, Kismia Corbett and Drew Wiseman. Time called them “miracle workers,” saying they “have achieved a breakthrough of individual importance, delivering an innovative and highly effective, mRNA-based vaccine platform that will impact our health and well-being beyond this pandemic.”
Time was able to add new categories because the company was no longer part of a larger magazine conglomerate with competing titles that covered sports and entertainment in depth, Felsenthal previously told CNN Business. In 2018, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff bought Time from Meredith Corp. , which previously owned other titles to Time Inc. Such as Sports Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly.
Unlike in previous years, Time magazine chose not to release a shortlist of contenders for the Person of the Year award.
Time has announced the Person of the Year on its YouTube channel, which was produced by its video division, Times Studios. This reveal is in stark contrast to years past when Time would have made the big reveal on broadcast television, in partnership with NBC. In 2020, Time announced the castings for a prime-time special on NBC. In previous years, the morning footage was revealed on “The Day.”
Time is hosting an event Monday evening in New York to celebrate Time’s character and its community TIME100, a sign of a return to normalcy for publishers who have been forced to cancel in-person events amid the pandemic and instead hold virtual events.
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