As of Tuesday afternoon, Manning had overtaken Assange in Time.com’s Time 100 poll, an unscientific online survey designed to rank the world’s most influential people. Manning currently stands in 8th place with three days until the poll ends. Just yesterday, Manning was ranked 29th, which was already a large jump from his earlier placement in the list’s also-rans.
Assange, who last week was among the top five names in the poll, has dropped to 10th.
Time’s poll, of course, shows nothing more consequential than which name on the list can rouse the most online supporters. And Manning’s ongoing harsh treatment in a Quantico military prison, where he’s kept without frequent human contact or exercise, has kept him in the news for months, even as many Americans have lost interest in WikiLeaks’ ongoing release of the secrets that Manning is accused of spilling.
Last month, former State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley resigned from his position after criticizing the military’s treatment of Manning, and followed up with an op-ed in the Guardian. Outrage has only grown as Senator Dennis Kucinich and a U.N. human rights investigator have both been denied visits to Manning.
For whatever reason, it’s noteworthy to see Assange’s alleged source become the focal point instead of the brilliant and controversial Australian himself. At least until WikiLeaks’ next bombshell drops.