Korean Central News Agency trumpeted a lead story
today headlined "US Magazine Selects Kim Jong Un
as Man of 2012" saying "The US magazine The Time
selected the dear respected Kim Jong-un as 'man of
2012' after polling politicians, businessmen,
artistes, sports persons and announcers." 
In fact, the website 4chan, a community of
self-styled underground hackers skilled in
computer coding, manipulated the entire online
Time poll pushing Kim to the top with 5.6 million
votes - twice as much as the
runner-up, "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart, with
"Undocumented Immigrants" in third place.
If one scrolls down the list of the top 14
vote getters, the first letter of each name spells
out "KJU Gas Chambers".
denied on December 13 that Kim has been named its
2012 "Person of the Year" and said that "some of
the highest vote tallies got a boost from members
of Internet forums like 4Chan, which launched a
campaign to manipulate the results, pushing North
Korea's leader to the top of the list". Time
magazine acknowledged its online poll had been
hacked and made clear its editors would select the
winner and make an announcement on December 19.
The choice for Time person of the year will be
made by Time editors and be announced on the Today
show, on TIME.com and via Time's Twitter handle.
But apparently the North Korean government
didn't read the Time announcement and, days after
the country launched a ballistic missile test
believed to be an attempt to perfect its ability
to reach the continental US with nuclear warheads,
announced that the accolade had been bestowed on
the baby-faced 20-something leader on the
anniversary of his first year in power.
December 18 story from the official government
news agency, KCNA, said: "The magazine has
selected and published "man of the year" every
year from 1927. This year... more than 5.6 million
people, the greatest number, voted for Kim Jong
Un." The story added that "The US magazine Forbes,
dealing with the most influential persons in the
world on Dec 8, carried photos of his
revolutionary activities and introduced his brief
In November, 4chan started a
campaign to get people to vote for Kim online as
Time Person of the Year, and created a program
that allowed for repetitive, automatic votes,
skyrocketing Kim to lead the polls.
isn't the first time that Time has fallen victim
to 4Chan hackers. In 2009, the site launched an
online effort to vote its co-founder, Chris Poole,
as the World's Most Influential Person, and
out-polled Bernie Madoff, Oprah Winfrey and the
This comes only weeks after
the official the Chinese party media organ,
People's Daily, fell for the US satirical
publication, The Onion, which named Kim the
"sexiest man alive". The Onion published a spoof
poll in November, naming the "devastatingly
handsome" North Korean leader the world's sexiest
man of 2012."
Editor's note: 1. Asia
Times Online's style is the alternative spelling
of Kim Jong-eun, rather than Kim Jong-un.
Nate Thayer, former Southeast
Asia correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic
Review, is an investigative reporter specializing
in conflict, transnational crime, and Asian
affairs. He may be reached at[email protected].
Hiswebsite is natethayer.wordpress.com