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Obama, not Kim Jong-un, is Time’s Person of the Year

President Barack Obama was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year Wednesday. But according to Korean Central News Agency, Kim Jong-un was the real winner.


Fernando Alfonso III


Posted on Dec 19, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 5:12 am CDT

President Barack Obama was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year Wednesday. But according to Korean Central News Agency, Kim Jong-un was the real winner.

An article posted on the government-run media site named the 29-year-old North Korean leader “Man of 2012.”

“Dear God the enemies 5.6 million people by ballot boxes from the lord of the most votes by o’clock,” reads the article, according to a rough translation from Babylon.

The Korean news agency was apparently duped by reports that Kim had won Time’s Person of the Year Reader Poll with more than 5 million votes. Of course, Reddit, 4chan, and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) users had gamed the online poll from the very beginning, using a Java script to automate votes for the Korean leader.

Using a similar script, the group of 50 to 100 people were able to spell “KJU GAS CHAMBERS” with the first letter of each candidate’s name. 

“There really is nothing too exciting about the meaning, sorry to say. We chose it because it was clever, had semi-subtle offensive overtones, and wasn’t as childish as our second choice of KFCBUTTSEX,” one anonymous IRC user wrote in an email to the Daily Dot on Dec. 8.

“Furthermore, if there was any overt justification for why we chose gas chambers, it’s because we wanted to reference Hitler, who’s [sic] gas chamber antics are always offensive to people. His name was mentioned a lot when we were discussing what to spell.”

In 2009, 4chan pulled off a similar prank, voting the site’s creator, Christopher “moot” Poole, as Time’s Person of the Year. The users also spelled out “marblecake also the game,” a reference to “the name of the IRC channel used during Project Chanology raids [on Scientologist websites], by arranging the first 21 nominees’ names in a particular order,” KnowYourMeme reported.

Kim was recently named Sexiest Man Alive by satirical newspaper The Onion in an article that China’s Communist Party newspaper, the People’s Daily, apparently took seriously.

Photo by comradeanatolii/Flickr

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*First Published: Dec 19, 2012, 11:49 am CST