Time Takes Anti-Businessman Approach in ‘Person of the Year’ Considerations

TimeYou may not like Apple CEO Steve Jobs for cheerleading for Al Gore, but there's no denying he's a successful businessman.

Time Magazine will announce its 2007 "Person of the Year" in its December 31 issue and Jobs is listed as one of the candidates. According to Time.com, he has several things going for him, but one glaring thing working against him:

"Pro: The iPhone is a triumph while iTunes expanded its reach as the dominant source of online music. Oh, and Apple stock is up a mere 100% in 2007.

Con: Not exactly a figure of global change. He's a businessman, albeit a great one." (emphasis added)

"The criteria for the choice, someone that, quote, ‘for better or for worse, has done the most to influence the events of the year,'" said NBC "Today" co-anchor Meredith Vieira on December 17. "And this year, the field is wide open."

But Jobs' business-savvy influences on the U.S. economy are working against him in this race, it would appear. Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has more than 18,000 employees. He is a self-made billionaire and is the largest shareholder of Disney (NYSE:DIS). In April 2007, Jobs announced 100 million units of Apple's iPod had been sold.

Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time, appeared on "Today" and told viewers what he was looking for in a "Person of the Year."

"I think you heard more about person of the year last year than any time in history but I want to get back to that, kind of, core idea of choosing one individual who makes a difference," Stengel said. "And that is what Time has talked about for years and years, how individuals change history."

Time's handicapping of Jobs for being a businessman in its "Person of the Year" considerations comes as the media have increasingly attacked businessmen, despite the hard work and big risks they have taken to build successful companies that provide jobs, products and services that drive the U.S. economy.

A study by the Business & Media Institute found this attitude toward businesspeople widespread in the media. Businessmen and women were little represented on network news, even in stories about business. When they did appear, it was often in tales of "another corporate crook" or a CEO's "stratospheric sums" of money.