Altered image makes false claim about Time magazine’s Person of the Year


The claim: Front line health care workers were named Time magazine’s Person of the Year

Following Time magazine’s 2020 “Person of the Year” issue, an old post resurfaced on social media claiming that medical workers were selected for the title.

“Finally it’s not celebrities that make to covers,” reads a Facebook post from April 3 with over 32,000 shares that recently went viral.

Accompanying the text is a purported Time magazine cover featuring a photo collage of medical workers bruised from wearing protective equipment used when treating COVID-19 patients.

Below the “Person of the Year” title, in the bottom left corner, is text that reads, “The Medical Workers,” with an issue date of December 2020 on the top of the cover.

In a message to USA TODAY, the Facebook user referenced an article from April by Euro News headlined, “Healthcare workers already bookmakers Time’s Person of the Year.”

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Biden and Harris named Person of the Year

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were chosen as Time’s 2020 Person of the Year on Thursday, USA TODAY reported.

“For changing the American story, for showing that the forces of empathy are greater than the furies of division, for sharing a vision of healing in a grieving world, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are TIME’s 2020 Person of the Year,” wrote Time Editor-in-Chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal.

The announcement came from Bruce Springsteen during an hourlong television special, and it marked the first time that Time named a vice president Person as of the Year, according to Felsenthal.

Health care workers, Fauci named Guardians of the Year

The Facebook claim was posted in April, months ahead of the Person of the Year selection, which typically is announced in December.

While medical workers were not selected for the award, they were named Guardians of the Year along with infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, Porche Bennett-Bey, Assa Traoré and racial justice organizers, USA TODAY reported.

They, as well as President Donald Trump, were also finalists for the Person of the Year award.

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History of fake covers

The altered magazine cover appears to have originated on Imgur, an online image sharing community.

A user posted the photo in March and noted that the image is photoshopped but “thought it would be a nice shout out to all the medical workers fighting this virus at the front lines.”

Further, the altered image is missing the “time.com” and the “double issue” that is listed in small letters on authentic Time magazine covers.

Fake covers targeting the magazine have appeared in the past. Time has a release on “How To Spot a Fake TIME Cover” and a list of “Top 10 Fake TIME Magazine Covers.”

The cover used in the claim is also not listed in “The Vault” section of Time, which displays all published covers.

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Our rating: False

We rate the claim that health care workers were named Time magazine’s Person of the Year as FALSE. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were named Person of the Year while front line workers were named Guardians of the Year. The image has been altered and Time has a history of being target of photoshopped covers.

Our fact-check sources:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Altered image makes false claim about Person of the Year



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