Kim Jong Un is Time's 2012 Person of the Year. That is, according to the magazine's online readers, who chose the North Korean leader over the likes of President Barack Obama, Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart in an online vote.
It doesn't mean Kim will be named Time's official Person of the Year when the choice is revealed on the "Today" show on Dec. 19—that honor is decided by the editors. It just means the son of the late Kim Jong Il received 5.6 million votes in Time's admittedly "completely unscientific" reader poll.
"While we don't make our selection based on the poll results," Time executive editor Radhika Jones noted in the blog post that announced the winners, "it's always interesting to see where some of our preferred candidates end up."
As has been the case in previous years, users of 4chan, an Internet forum, launched a campaign to manipulate the poll, pushing North Korea's supreme leader to the top of the list, according to the magazine.
Stewart came in second with 2.4 million votes. Rounding out the top five: undocumented immigrants (1,554,085); Douglas (1,515,215); and, together, Burmese leaders Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein (1,487,945).
But if Kim is chosen as Time's Person of the Year, it wouldn't be the first honor bestowed on him by an American media outlet in 2012.
Last month, the Onion named Kim 2012's Sexiest Man Alive. The website for People's Daily—the Communist Party of China's newspaper—took the satirical declaration seriously, publishing a story congratulating him on nabbing the award.
The article's accompanying 55-page slideshow included images of Kim in varying degrees of sexiness—riding a horse, posing with military leaders, aiming a rifle, riding a horse and, uh, riding a horse.
It also wouldn't be the first time Kim made a splash on Time. In February, the magazine published a cover story on Kim assuming power at the end of 2011. The coverline: "Lil' Kim."
The Person of the Year, instituted in 1927, is "bestowed by the editors on the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year."
Sometimes the Person of the Year is not a specific person at all. In 2011, for example, it was "The Protester." In 2006, it was "You."
- Arts & Entertainment
- Politics & Government
- Kim Jong Il
- President Barack Obama
- Kim Jong Un
- Gabrielle Douglas
- Jon Stewart