CLAIM

Hitler was named "Man Of The Year" by Time Magazine in 1938. See Example(s)

EXAMPLES
Collected via Twitter, May 2016

hitler meme
TRUE

RATING

TRUE

ORIGIN

A meme claiming that Adolf Hitler was named “Man of the Year” by Time Magazine was frequently shared on social media in 2016 as “proof” that the “mainstream media is not always reliable.”

It is undeniably true that the Nazi leader was given this title in 1938.  However, this meme is based on the false assumption that the “Man of the Year” awards are only granted to people who have had positive effects on the world:

TIME’s choices for Person of the Year are often controversial. Editors are asked to choose the person or thing that had the greatest impact on the news, for good or ill — guidelines that leave them no choice but to select a newsworthy — not necessarily praiseworthy — cover subject.

The magazine has nominated several controversial figures as “Man Of The Year” since the tradition started in 1927, including Joseph Stalin, Nikita Kruschchev, and Ayatullah Khomeini. Osama bin Laden was strongly considered in 2001, but the the award went to New York mayor Rudy Giuliani instead.

In Time’s 1938 “Man Of The Year” article, Hitler was labeled the “greatest threatening force that the democratic, freedom-loving world faces today.”  That was as much an endorsement of Hitler’s tactics in 1938 as it would be today: in other words, not at all.