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And TIME’s “Person of the Year” Is…

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Even though we lobbied hard for the nonhuman, nonlethal “pepper spray” to be awarded TIME’s coveted “Person of the Year” distinction, we begrudgingly admit the magazine got it right.

2011 not only marked The Year of the Protester — in Tunisia, in Egypt, throughout the Middle East, in New York, in Occupied cities elsewhere, in Greece, in Russia — but TIME nailed it by contracting an amazing illustration by street artist (and HOPE poster designer) Shepard Fairey.

Clear cases could have been made for The 99% or The 1%”, Anonymous, Steve Jobs, Kate Middleton, Casey Anthony, Herman Cain, The Fukushima 50, Gabby Giffords and many others. But in the end, a year which saw a return to angry mobs taking to the streets to reclaim what’s theirs was the right call.

Check out TIME managing editor Richard Stengel discussing the decision with Kurt Andersen, author of the lengthy cover story, which is worth a read should you find the time.

And here’s the live revelation on the Today Show on Wednesday morning:

Not surprisingly, the outraged actors on Fox & Friends had a little problem with this:

After 2010′s decision to award Mark Zuckerberg a lifetime achievement award left a bad taste in the mouths of many, it’s refreshing to know TIME had its finger on the pulse this year.

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