Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Cover of Rolling Stone! Ignites Firestorm

Will Rolling Stone survive the onslaught of negativity?

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The decision to glamorize and put Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks, on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, has ignited a firestorm of negative comments among social media users.

The picture of Tsarnaev that Rolling Stone decided to put on its cover was one that has been used many times by media outlets in the past. Usually, Rolling Stone reserves their cover page for privileged and famous rock stars and celebrities. The cover has been highly criticized with words such as “tasteless,” “sickening,” “disgusting,” etc.

The title of the magazine reads, “The Bomber: How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam and Became a Monster.”  Rolling Stone magazine decided to put Dzhokhar on its cover, so they could deliver a deeply reported account of the life and times of the Tsarnaev brothers. The editor who contributed to the report was Janet Reitman; Mrs. Reitman spent the past two months getting interviews from dozens of sources such as childhood and high school friends, teachers, neighbors and law enforcement agents.

The idea was to portray the downward slide of Tsarnaev and how a charming kid with such a promising future became a monster capable of horrible acts against humanity.

Rolling Stone Magazine from their news site revealed some clues about the article;

–          A public plea from his former wrestling coach may have ultimately convinced Tsarnaev to surrender when police surrounded the boat in which he was hiding.

–          Tsarnaev played down the fact that he was a Muslim in high school. But he also took his religion seriously. “Islam wasn´t casual for Dzhokhar.”

–          He once let slip to a friend that the September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks could be justified because of U.S. policies toward Muslim countries.

–        Dzhokhar´s older brother Tamerlan confided to his mother that he felt like “two people” were inside him.

The Facebook page of Rolling Stone has received more than 12, 976 comments about the issue.  Not surprisingly, most of the comments are negative.

As one post read, “I share this on my news feed, but not in support of your magazine, I shared it to show people how low you have gone by putting this terrorist on your cover. Rolling Stone, go and read all the shares of your picture, there are a lot of angry people that you would make such a disgusting choice.”

Another example post comments, “I think everybody should boycott RS for this; he is not cover worthy. You are making this man and his brother celebrities.”

And another, “Very un-American. “F” Rolling Stone. I thought it was supposed to be an honor to be on your cover.”

On Twitter the reaction has been similar with comments like: “how not to have integrity as a once formidable source of journalism,”……..”why not write an article about the survivors? Why give this monster anymore publicity,”…… “lost all respect for your magazine,” etc.

In the Marathon Boston attack three people were killed and more than 260 injured. Dzhokhar’s brother and accomplice, Tamerlan, was killed by police and Dzhokhar has been charged with 30 federal counts. However, last week he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Public reaction to Rolling Stone´s spotlight coverage of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is reminiscent of a similar negative public outcry and  response to a Charles Manson cover 40 years ago. Both issues ignited a firestorm and people are understandably angry and disappointed; we will see how this affects Rolling Stone magazine in the long run.

The issue hits newsstands on August 3.

By: Oskar Guzman

Special Correspondent Mexico and Canada.

SOURCE: Rolling Stone