Pope Francis Makes TIME's Person of the Year, But These Seven Past Picks Weren't So Good
The humble pontiff deservedly takes this year's title, but TIME hasn't always hit the nail on the head. Some of their worst picks ever...
TIME magazine has named Pope Francis its Person of the Year after drawing worldwide admiration. In nine short months, the Roman Catholic church's new leader has been credited with shifting the disillusionment with the Vatican with his humble, man-of-the-people ways.
"What makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all," TIME wrote of their pick.
TIME's selection was made by its editors, who also considered suggestions from their 2 million Twitter followers. Pope Francis, formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, beat out NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and (thank God) Miley Cyrus.
How the twerk-happy, hammer-licking popstar was nearly crowned with the annual honor goes to show that the Person of the Year isn't always the best person of the year. Here's a sampling of their most questionable and controversial picks ever:
Adolf Hitler (1938). The pick was before Hitler started WW2, the 1939 article presented him as "the greatest threatening force that the democratic, freedom-loving world faces today"
Joseph Stalin (1939, 1942). Another evil dictator responsible for the death of millions. He even got it twice! Twice!
Ayatollah Khomeini (1979). The Iranian religious leader supported the hostage takers behind the Iran Hostage Crisis, a kidnapping of 52 American Embassy staff. He also issued a fatwa that called for the head of British Indian novelist Salman Rushdie.
You (2006). TIME featured a gimmicky mirror that thanked "you" for anonymously contributing user-generated content to the Internet. When TIME later asked readers "Who Should Be Person of the Year?" the winner was, by a wide margin, Hugo Chávez, with 35 percent of the votes.
The Endangered Earth (1988). Earth was named planet of the year, based on how it'll go extinct in probably another 4 billion to 5 billion years. "By that time, scientists predict" the magazine wrote, "the sun will have burned up so much of its own hydrogen fuel that it will expand and incinerate the surrounding planets, including the earth." I don't even...
The Inheritor (1966): The whole generation of American men and women, aged 25 and under at the time, aka, Baby Boomers.