Rolling Stone, hit by a storm of criticism and boycotts over its cover treatment and glam photo of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, defended itself Wednesday, saying it was within its tradition of "serious and thoughtful coverage" of important cultural and political issues.
Readers, particularly from the Boston area, slammed the magazine on its Facebook page, charging that the cover treatment turns the accused killer into a "rock star."As is the case with most periodicals, the major story within a given issue is "teased" with a clever, punny headline or provocative photo. I doubt few people had as much trouble with Rolling Stone penning a story on Tsarnaev as much as they did with a pictorial pose that portrayed him in the motif of a rock star/celeb like Bob Dylan.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wrote to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner accusing the magazine of offering Tsarnaev "celebrity treatment" and calling the cover "ill-conceived, at best," in that it supports the "terrible message that destruction gains fame for killers and their 'causes.'"
To be honest, I roll my eyes at a left-wing propaganda rag like RS when they give off an aura of doing a thoughtful piece on a misguided youth in an effort to save other youngsters from similar pitfalls. Yeah, Rolling Stone appears to be taking itself way too seriously, especially when you consider the countless vacuous pieces/cover photos which have appeared over these past 45+ years. Despite that, I don't get a sense that the story on Tsarnaev is going to be some sort of puff piece that portrays him as a martyr. At least I hope my assumption is correct.
While I am ambivalent about the cover due to my already rock-bottom expectations of quality from RS, I choose to defer to the Boston Marathon bombing victims and their families. If they indeed see the cover photo as an unwelcome and painful reminder of that horrific incident on April 15, then that's really all I need to hear. Whether Rolling Stone chooses to follow suit now is irrelevant given that they as a company marketing a product has achieved the ultimate goal: a fever pitch of conversation about said product.