A Letter From The Publisher, Jan. 7, 1980

Since 1927, when TIME selected Charles Lindbergh as its first Man of the Year, the basic criterion has remained the same: the distinction goes to the person or group who, as it was stated on this page in 1943, "has done the most to change the news, for better or for worse." There have been designees very plainly in the latter category—Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939)—but selection has never necessarily connoted either the magazine's, or the world's, approval of the subject. Thus the editors had little difficulty naming Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini, intransigent...

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