Controversy: Boston ‘Terrorist’ on Rolling Stone Cover

Rolling Stone magazine cover showing Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
How a charming kid with a bright future became a monster?

“He was a charming kid with a bright future. But no one saw the pain he was hiding or the monster he would become.”

Will the forthcoming August 1st issue of Rolling Stone enrage?

Rolling Stone’s cover about the Boston bombing has sparked wave of condemnation with the image of the suspected bomber Dzhohkar Tsarnaev that looks like a teen idol.

“THE BOMBER,” the cover reads. “How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam and Became a Monster.”

[Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill, and could face the death penalty for his alleged role in the April 15 attack that killed three, including an eight-year-old boy. More than 260 people were injured at the Boston Marathon when two pressure cooker bombs packed with nails, ball bearings and other shrapnel were detonated at the finish line, in what was called the worst mass-casualty attack on US soil since 9/11.]

Good journalism or bad? Boston Mayor Thomas Menino shot off a letter to Wenner Media, that publishes the magazine. Is the cover so out of taste? Are we so close minded that we react sharply without reading the article even, which is yet to come out? Why do we become so hostile, as we did while responding to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s interview to Reuters vis-a-vis ‘puppy’ and ‘Hindu nationalist’ remarks.

Stephen Scherb, a reader commenting on Rolling Stone Facebook page angrily reacted: “I just cancelled my subscription, which I’ve had since 1972.”

Here’s the statement by Rolling Stone in defence:

“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. 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.”

What if the book stores refuse to sell the issue – it will then be more than a deserving controversy! Or is the image of the alleged bomber perfect, suitable and timely?

Here’s Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s strong letter to Rolling Stone:

Boston Mayor letter to Rolling Stone.
Unnerving journalism?

One comment

What do you think? Please leave a reply, to complete the conversation. Thank you for your time.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s