In late 2006, Lifestyle of MSN declared the most influential men and women of 2006. According to this list the men are:
1. Sacha Baron Cohen
2. Al Gore,
3. Barak Obama,
4. Chad Hurley and Steve Chen,
5. Bashar Al-Assad,
6. Stephen Colbert,
7. Muhammad Yunus,
8. George Clooeny,
9. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
10. George W Bush
And women are:
1- Nancy Pelosi
2- Rachael Ray
4-Ladda “Tammy” Duckworth
6- Rose Ann DeMoro
7- The CEOs: Meg Whitman, Anne Mulcahy, Amy Pascal and Brenda Barnes
8- Hillary Clinton
9- Ali Hewson
10- Rachel Zoe
11- Britney Spears
Mostly all Are Americans
There is an interesting correlation between the nationality of writer, Janet Frank Atkinson, and the nationality of most chosen persons; they are American.
May be every body else in Atkinson’s shoes did the same and chose people with nationality of herself or himself.
But every person with a responsibility in media should be cautious not to manipulate public opinion, especially public opinion of the world, not only Americans.
The Only Infamous Person of the List;
a Middle East Muslim
There are only some persons in this list that aren’t American;
1- Sacha Baron Cohen, the British comedian
2- Another one is the partner of a white person, as I ‘m not sure about the nationality of the white person I don’t judge, but it is obvious that the other person is an Asian so may be he is chosen because of his white partner who is an American or European.
3- The third one is Bashar All-Asad , the only Arab and Muslim person and absolutely from Middle East .It ‘s increadible, he is also the only infamous person according to Atkinson ! the only infamous but influential !
4-The only optimistic spot to the view of writer is Muhammad Yunus . What a lucky person he is! Because he is the only not-American ,Muslim and Asian and according to Atkinson a good one too . But we should consider this point that he is not from Middle East!
What Does Influential Truly Mean?
What is the influence of Britney Spears in the world?
Is she influence because most searched topic on Internet search engines in 2006 was her name and her images? Or because no one better than Spears know how to intrigue others’ attention?
What about George Clooney? Is Hollywood’s advertisement the reason of his influence?
What about Ali Hewson ,is she influential because of Edun ,her clothing label ?Or Rachel Zoe, the Hollywood stylist?
What about Rachael Ray? How many hungry people in the world watch her 30 Minute Meals! Does she cook for them? If according to Atkinson she is one of the sexiest person in the world, does influential mean sexy?
Do you know Barack Obama ? According to Atkinson he is influential because people think he should run for president in the future!
What is the good influence of Condoleezza Rice or George W Bush?
What is the opinion of Iraqis and Afghans about these two people ? For what they are influential? For peace or for war? Are they famous or infamous?
What about Ladda “Tammy” Duckworth , An U.S. Army Major in Iraq war ?
What about Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton, How many Africans or Asians know this American politician whether a successful woman or not?
Regarding Atkinson selection, I ‘d like to categorize this people to four group to explain that influential means belong to one of below groups:
1- Actor, singer ,showman ,comedian or stylist :8 choices
2- politician or military : 7 choices
3- Businessman mostly those who have a work related to world wide web and network :3 choices
4- Charitable founder and social activist :2 choices
What Is the Logic of This Selection?
Are those people who are beautiful, sexy and person of style, the most influential? Or those people who are famous because of advertisement? Or those who are billionaire?
What should we do if we want become one of the most influential person of 2007?
Do we should begin a war and give other people democracy with bomb?
What is the position of scientist in this list or the position of proffessors, writers and intellectuals?
Regarding my assortment;
1- The individuals of first group are more popular than influential .They are mostly popular artist through advertisement and have a strong relationship with American pop culture and American entertainment especially Hollywood.
The only distinctive person in this group is Stephen Colbert who
made up words such as “truthiness”—defined as “truth that comes from the gut, not books .
2- Individuals of the second group are powerful and their influence isn’t a positive kind. Therefore there is no creditable person among them. George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice are the worst choices in the list. That’s right that they had influence but not a good one.
3-And persons of third group are more rich than influential.
But I can name Warren Buffett and Bill Gates those billionaire whose efforts and struggles even for themselves are admirable and also they are philanthropic.
4- Regarding influence of previous groups, only some people have a great positive influence and they are the individuals of fourth group :
First Rose Ann DeMoro a nurse who fights for universal health
Second Muhammad Yunus often called “the Banker to the
Poor,” who also received the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for
helping reduce poverty throughout Bangladesh.
Process of selection
This list is very intriguing, what is the process of this selection?
I think the process has three part;
Manipulating the public opinion of the world by
1- Glorifying and globalizing the American individuals; today,in the world of powerful media, besides a national figure, every body have a global figure too and every body can influence the world .But beyond this fact ,we face with another fact ;some times media try to glorify ordinary people or globalizing some individuals that have only a local or national influence , popularity or fame .
In this selection we also face with such a glorifying or globalizing as I clarified that mostly all choices are American and some of them don’t have a strong influence, fame or popularity in the world.
2- Vilifying and accusing the other
Some times for glorifying one person or one race, religion or nationality we need to vilify and accuse the other one.
As I explained that the only person among men and women in this list who according to writer explanation is infamous and accordingly influential is Bashar All-Asad, the person who is Muslim and from Middle East too.
3- Stars of Media Are Influential
Those people are influential that huge media and advertisements say they are.
Who determines that George W Bush is famous and Bashar All- Asad is infamous?
As I explained about the first group of the list their work have a strong relationship with media.
Also regarding the second group, today the first powerful persons are those who are powerful through media too.
And considering third group ,first business is Network and the producers and managers of especially new media are billionaire and therefore influential.
Also, if today being beautiful ,sexy, powerful and billionaire is more valuable than being thoughtful, scientist or inventor ,as examples, it is the advantage of media too.
Therefore one of important thing is that famous or infamous, popular or influential, it’s mostly the function of media.
4-Philanthropiy; logically the only logic
The only exception in the Atkinson’s list is fourth group .Those who are influential but not through media, they aren’t the most beautiful ,powerful and the richest people .
Influence of the most influential list
When I read the comments of this news in the MSN I faced an interesting comment. Someone had written that If the people listed at the link are influential, we are in a whole lot of trouble.
Another one had asked who those people are when we only recognize some of them and had ordered to pick those we know ,may be for 2007.
Another interesting comment was about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad .Some one had claimed that another influential man this year is who in 2006 has denied the holocaust ever happened and has also expressed that Israel should be wiped off the map. Another one claimed that Janet Frank Atkinson has forgotten Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbollah ,who is widely credited in Lebanon for ending the Israeli occupation in Southern Lebanon .
Beyond these comments and the other comments and ideas, the point that is important is that such selection doesn’t have a standard and canon except media itself.
But these are audiences that shouldn’t allow media to manipulate their opinions. May be today they aren’t as strong as media.
But will a day come that audiences become as strong as media. May be that day is a day that every one has a private medium himself or herself, the day that at least every one has a web log. Therefore please vote about Atkinson’s list and my analyses with your comment to become as powerful as media.
MA student of North American Studies-