COUNTDOWN: Biggest U.S. News Events of the 2010s

As we wrap up the decade and start a countdown towards welcoming a new one, the Michigan Herald Tribune staff wanted to look back at some of the most impactful events of the 2010s. While this list is not exhaustive, we believe it captures some of the most impactful events that have or are likely to shape our world in the decades to come. Here is our countdown of the biggest news events in the United States this decade.

11. Avengers: Endgame tops 2.8 billion as highest grossing film of all time. Endgame beat out the precious record-holder, Avatar. (2019)
No entertainment company dominated the decade like Marvel Studios and this 2019 film culminated a decade of dominance by becoming the highest grossing film of all time. The movie also broke the record for fastest to 2 billion in box office sales after just 11 days, breaking the previous mark held by Avatar (47 days).

10. CIA contractor, Edward Snowden, leaks news of widespread illegal National Security Agency data collection of American citizens. (2013)
Edward Snowden leaked what may have been the biggest governmental scandal of the decade when documents were released via Wikileaks detailing a widespread spy operation that warrantlessly collected data on American citizens.

9. UberCab launches its service in San Francisco, California. (2010)
The growth of the “gig economy” and ride-sharing apps changed the landscape and definition of public transportation across major US cities before spreading to communities across the nation. The popularity of such apps infiltrated to other industries and companies such as Airbnb, Lyft and VRBO to name a few.

8. Streaming Video Platforms (2010s)
Nothing has seemingly changed more than the consumption of video media in the United States over the last ten years. Video stores, theaters and cable tv have all receded into near obscurity over the last decade as Netflix, HULU, AmazonPrime, YouTube and various other companies have dominated the space.

7. Facebook becomes the world’s largest photo host. (2011)
Perhaps one of the biggest cultural paradigm shifts of the decade was the ubiquitous nature of social media. Proof of concept became increasingly clear when Facebook became the world’s largest photo host.

6. Rise of ISIS. (2014)
ISIS declared the establishment of its caliphate in 2014 during the second presidential term of Barack Obama, making waves across the middle east and beyond. By 2019, however, ISIS had been widely defeated in the region, leading President Donald Trump to announce that ISIS had been defeated as an established force.

5. Same sex marriage is made legal across all 50 states by Supreme Court decision. (2015)
The supreme court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges swiftly struck down gay marriage limitations across the United States. The decision followed the early part of the decade’s shift towards increasing LGBT rights and major politicians such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton flipping camps to support the measure.

4. Election of Donald Trump as president over Hillary Clinton (2016)
In what may be the biggest upset in US political history, Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States after overcoming 3% or less odds to attain the office in his bid against Hillary Clinton. Oddsmakers had a Clinton presidency riding at 97% or above in the days leading up to the election.

3. First cross country commercial freight delivery completed by self-driving semitruck. (2019)
While the institution of this change to American commerce may take several years to materialize. It is certain that this moment will be looked back on as a defining one in the history of the US and global economy. Self-driving commercial trucking is destined to shape industry in ways not unlike the invention of automobiles, themselves.

2. Raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound ends in assignation of al Qaeda’s top man.
Following the biggest story of the previous decade, the destruction of the World Trade Center Buildings on 9/11, a team of Navy Seals, known as Seal Team 6, underwent a daring late-night raid on a compound housing global terrorist figurehead, Osama bin Laden. The raid ended in the killing of bin Laden and the acquisition of valuable intelligence in the fight against global terror networks. (2011)

1. Amazon.com (2010s)
Nothing has likely shaped industry more than the growth of Amazon.com. The website has been an absolute juggernaut that expanded from a used book site to offering every product imaginable at the click of the mouse and free two-day shipping. The website singlehandedly has kept shippers such as UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service throughout the decade and even expanded into marketing its own products and services, which it now couples with its third party brands. Amazon has redrawn the entire map of the global economy and shaped the future for the foreseeable future.

Just Outside the List:
1. Donald Trump becomes first president to enter North Korea after meeting with Kim Jong Un in DMZ. (2019)
2. Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in NYC and other northeast cities. (2012)
3. Political movements: Occupy Wall Street (2011), TEA Party (2013), Black Lives Matter (2014), #MeToo (2017)
4. Mass Shootings/Terrorism: Boston Marathon Bombing (2013), Pulse Nightclub Shooting (2016), Las Vegas Shooting (2017), Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting (2012), Aurora Movie Theater Shooting (2012), Marjory Stoneman Douglas Shooting (2018).
5. Rise of “Fake News” term. (2016)
6. FISA abuses and FBI surveillance of the Trump presidential campaign. (2016-2019)
7. Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy in U.S. military (2011)

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