But look at the symbolism of this. Time is utterly conventional, and absolutely dependent on government leaks. (Just like every other news source these days.) Everybody with any sense knows that Assange should have got the nod. Like him or hate him, he was a HUGE newsmaker over the past year. But the Time editors know that the government would absolutely lose their shit if Assange got the nod. They don't want him to be painted as a villain, they just want him and his organization to go the hell away. They want him tossed down the memory hole as soon as possible.
So, instead, we get Zuckerberg and his scary privacy-demolishing machine. One that, according to persistant rumors, has ties to American intelligence organizations. I don't know whether that's true or not—though certainly the stories about the hard-right early funding sources for Facebook are creepy—but it's undoubtedly true that Facebook collects a LOT of information about you and the sorts of things you like, and I have no doubt that the U.S. government would find that a useful resource, if they have access to it.
Certainly, this bit in their user agreement is creepy as hell:
We may use information about you that we collect from other sources, including but not limited to newspapers and Internet sources such as blogs, instant messaging services and other users of Facebook, to supplement your profile.But no matter what the truth of that is, the fact remains that Facebook is just about the opposite thing to a challenge to the established order. If anything, by being a single privacy-hating corporation that is trying to supplant the rest of the Internet and dictate what you can and cannot do on the Internet, it's big business and big government's wet dream.
So Time makes the safe, cowardly, government-friendly choice. The one that emphasizes taking secrets from the people, instead of sharing secrets with the people. Rather a bizarre position for journalists to take. Assuming that they're still really journalists in the first place. A hard assumption to make in 2010, and it's just getting harder.
Edit: Or, as a brilliant Twitter put it:
Mark Zuckerberg wants it utterly closed. Julian Assange wants it utterly open. #time chose Zuckerberg man of the year, its readers Assange.