Usually, Rolling Stone is the place to go when you want a soft-boiled interview with the cuddliest music star of the day, like a boy band singer, pop tart, or some other bit of fluff. Occasionally, the magazine courts controversy with its contents and cover, but never before has Rolling Stone drawn the kind of criticism it’s getting for it’s August cover. The cover boy is Boston Marathon terrorist bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The cover story is titled, “The Bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.” People are not happy about.
“Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day.” Added the magazine, “the fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens.”
Some large chains, like Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy, are refusing to carry next month’s issue of Rolling Stone as a result of the cover story. The portrait of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is drawn from interviews with law enforcement officials, friends, teachers, and neighbors. Meanwhile, 40,000 people have liked a Facebook page called “Boycott Rolling Stone Magazine For Their Latest Cover.” Rolling Stone has featured killers before (like Charles Manson), but never before have they faced such public scrutiny.
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