Luka Magnotta voted Canadian Newsmaker of the Year: infamy trumps all

Luka Rocco Magnotta is taken by police from a Canadian military plane to a waiting van on Monday, June 18, 2012, in Mirabel, Quebec.

It is important to note that “Newsmaker” of the year shouldn’t be confused with “Man, Woman or Person” of the year. Time magazine recently named Barack Obama as Person of the Year with runner-up Malala Yousafzai.

I point out this difference because The Canadian Press (CP) has named Luka Rocco Magnotta Newsmaker of the Year for 2012. The selection is certainly understandable as he dominated the news. It started with his grisly murder and dismemberment of his victim Jun Lin followed by the mailing of Mr. Lin’s body parts to various recipients. Then his international run from the police and finally, giving in to the need to read his own media coverage he was caught in a German Internet cafe surfing the web for stories about himself. Wicked and cruel for sure; perhaps not too bright!

The choice, made by editors and news directors, is rooted in the eye-opening reach of a story that erupted last May after the death and dismemberment of university student Jun Lin.

It is a sad reflection on Canadian society that we did not produce a positive or constructive enough newsmaker in 2012 to overshadow Magnotta’s destruction. At least the runner-up, Vancouver-area teen Amanda Todd’s video and suicide prompted an international discussion on bullying.

Since the first Newsmaker of the Year poll back in 1946, politicians, diplomats and sports heroes have dominated the selection list — including figures such as John Diefenbaker, Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Terry Fox.

Very few nominees have earned the most votes out of infamy.

Just as an afterthought, last year’s Newsmaker was Jack Layton, the former leader of the New Democratic Party who passed away in 2011.


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