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Debate Over Rolling Stone’s Cover Of Alleged Marathon Bomber

In this magazine cover image released by Wenner Media, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of the Aug. 1, 2013 issue of "Rolling Stone." (AP)

In this magazine cover image released by Wenner Media, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of the Aug. 1, 2013 issue of “Rolling Stone.” (AP)

The cover of the August issue of Rolling Stone magazine featuring a flattering self-portrait of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has led to an outcry by many people in the Boston area.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said in a letter that the magazine was “rewarding a terrorist with celebrity treatment” and called the decision “ill-conceived at best.” Several grocery stores announced they would not carry the latest issue of the magazine.

In a statement attached to the article online, the editors of Rolling Stone defended the article, saying it was within Rolling Stone’s “long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day.”

In an interview with NPR’s Melissa Block on Wednesday, Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana noted that the photo had been featured on the front page of the New York Times in May.

“[T]his is a person who is the same age as many of our readers who, to his peer group, seemed like one of them. And that’s what we thought made the story so powerful and disturbing,” Dana said.
“And, you know, it’s in no way to endorse or glorify what he did. I think the opposite is we’re trying to understand it and to explain it.”


David Leonard, associate professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies at Washington State University, Pullman.


The New Yorker: “What is so troubling about this image, and many of the others that have become available since April, is that Tsarnaev really does look like a rock star. In this way, the photograph on Rolling Stone is of a part with the often unexpected, and unsettling, portrait of Tsarnaev that has emerged over the past few months.”

David Leonard via Gawker: “In imagining the killers as good kids who did a bad thing, who snapped because of a divorce, because of too much medication, because of inadequate mental health treatment, because of too much mental health care, because of guns, and because of who knows what, white manhood — the visible link that binds together so many of these shootings – always gets erased.”

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  • donniethebrasco
  • donniethebrasco

    Boston will stop the sale of Rolling Stone in this state.

  • donniethebrasco

    The Rolling Stone has jumped the shark.

    Everyone should deface every Rolling Stone magazine with Dzokhar on the cover.

    Even better, don’t buy it.

    Stop advertising in it.

    Call the advertisers who advertise in it and say that you don’t like the picture on the cover.

    Talk with the owners, managers, and employees at stores that sell it and ask them to send the magazines back to the publisher.

    Go to libraries and take them off the shelves and rip up the covers.

    Cancel your Rolling Stone magazine subscription.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anita.paul.5680 Anita Paul

      Get rid of freedom of speech.  Seriously dude.

  • donniethebrasco

    If NPR has a show that no one listens to, will the government still fund it?

  • Matt

    It’s a photograph. Not only is it a photograph of a terrorist (how many of those have we seen plastered everywhere in the last 20 years?) but it’s a selfie taken by the kid months ago and has appeared in every newspaper and news broadcast for the last 3 months. There is no “glamor” shot, there is no “glamorizing” of terrorism or deflection of blame.

    What occurred on Patriot’s day was tragic and something that we should heal and move forward from, but taking out anger at a publication for a photograph is stupid. Where was the outrage when we were shown all those bloody and graphic photos from the day of? Where was the outrage when that photograph was shown everywhere, including our own local news stations?

    We keep this “Boston Strong” chant going and yet here we are so thin-skinned that a cover of a magazine makes us go insane. If we’re really “Boston Strong” as we like to make ourselves out to be then a photograph shouldn’t cause this stir.

    In fact, we should welcome this issue of Rolling Stone and the article that goes with the photo, as it gives us insight and understanding into why Johar would commit such a heinous act. We should read the article instead of cranking our pout-rage meters up to 11. We should learn to open our eyes and our minds and try to understand what makes “good” kids go bad. Maybe then, we can do ourselves, and our society as a whole, a greater favor and prevent such a tragedy from happening again in the future. Maybe then, we can truly be “Boston Strong” by not letting something like this get under our thin skin. And maybe then, we can finally understand and really prevent such things from happening again.

    What happened on that day will never be reversed, it will never be changed. Those lives that were lost will never be brought back. And there is a time to remember them, to honor them and to do everything we can to prevent more of them. Their memories will live on in those who knew them and those who were with them, but let us not sully their memory by squabbling over a photograph. It’s the content of the article that matters and it’s the content that will help us understand.

    It’s time to let Boston heal, and we can’t do that if we start picking fights over a photo.

    Read the article

    • A guy

      well. don’t fool yourself. it’s a magazine, not an issue of of the Journal of Applied Psychology….  Images matter. Images speak. The choice of the image and it’s location in the magazine is relevant. Would the magazine without any image be the same and target the same audience? Of course not. Imagine if the same image was used next to the one of his arrest. The message would have been different. So that picture is part of the message, even before you start reading the first line of the article.

      For you to come along proposing that it does not matter is ridiculous.People is right to express their outrage (I don’t see riots, just disapproval, by the way, so your fear that it will affect healing is silly), if that is what they feel, and implying that somehow keeping everything bottled up is going to make it better is nonsensical.On the other hand calls for bans are overreactions. Just don’t buy the damn thing if you don’t like it. Plus, stop calling him a “kid”. He’s a man who made pretty bad choices hurting many in the process.

  • donniethebrasco

    Poor Mohammed Atta had a difficult childhood as well.

    Osama bin Laden had a great childhood.

    I agree with Lawrence O’Donnell, not you moodbats.


    • J__o__h__n

      Investigating why he became a murderer isn’t the same as excusing it. 

      • donniethebrasco

         They are glorifying Dzhoehrockars.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anita.paul.5680 Anita Paul

    Stupid controvery. 

  • donniethebrasco

    How do I get a backstage pass to Dzokhar’s cell?

    I know that there will be a line now that the Rolling Stone has glorified him.

  • donniethebrasco

    If he just had some more hugs.

    He is not in the Klebold, Holmes, or Lanza category.  He is in the Atta, muslim terrorist category.

    • Matt

       Why? Because he’s not all-american boy next door?

      • donniethebrasco


        • Matt

           soooo….you’re racist towards Caucasians?

          • donniethebrasco

            I’m not in favor of terrorists getting star treatment in order to sell a dead magazine.

          • Matt

             so we shouldn’t have anyone who commits murder on covers of magazines ever? Or newspapers? How about TV? What if they’re white guys? Should we care then? Answer me this, and while you do, ask yourself one more thing, are you really serious or just dense?

          • donniethebrasco

             Don’t put an attractive picture of a terrorist on the cover.

            It may inspire the next terrorist.

            The Tsarnaev’s are TERRORISTS, not MURDERERS.

          • J__o__h__n

            Is that why Drudge posts unflattering photos of Hillary Clinton?  She did kill Vince Foster, right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/anita.paul.5680 Anita Paul

    Another thing could Walmart, CVS and other retail outlets stop exploiting soldiers to sell their stores.

  • donniethebrasco

    The sponsors/advertisers of the Rolling Stone should know what they are supporting and make a decision whether they would like to continue.

    Money/marketplace trumps the First Amendment.

    Rolling Stone will now go away.

    Don’t buy it.

    Cancel your subscription.

    Don’t put it on your shelves.

    Deface copies on shelves and in libraries.

    Let the Rolling Stone go the way of the Boston Globe, NPR, and Newsweek.

    • Matt

       Let’s not get rid of the Preparation H though, sounds like you need it for all that butthurt you’re feeling

      • donniethebrasco

         Jahar will need some Preparation H after he is convicted.  He will be making some friends in the joint who will introduce Jahar to their joints.

  • donniethebrasco

    He is inspired by radical Islam.

    Islam has a problem and this won’t help fix it.  It will just make it worse.

    If someone were to bomb the Rolling Stone offices, would they put the perpetrator on the cover?

  • Folley15

    The guest today is focused on the inconsistency of the image of a “white” or caucasian labeld as a terrorist/bomber is what makes people upset… to say the man is clearly off the mark is a nice way of calling him an idiot. It matters not at all if the terrorist is black, white, Asian, etc. He purposely sought to kill men, women, and children. His actions DEFINE terrorism.  What about his race has anything to do with the crime? I’d bother to call in and chew on the David Leonard but his status as a resident “expert” will simply make me seem to be a crank. 

  • donniethebrasco

     They should have put his mug shot on the cover.  The time that memorialized his capture.  Not memorialize his life of joy and anticipation of killing lots of people in Boston.

  • donniethebrasco

    Will the Rolling Stone help people all over the world learn the difference between irony and coincidence?

    It would be coincidence for the Rolling Stone magazine to be bombed by a radical Islamic terrorist.  It would be ironic for them to put their future bomber on the cover.

  • lisasankowski

    Rolling Stone has a unique position in our culture.  Making the cover is a benchmark of musical achievement. Heck, there is even a song about it!  That’s why seeing the bomber look all sultry on the cover shocks and riles us.

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