From a topless Janet Jackson to a stylized image of Charles Manson, Rolling Stone has never been afraid to release provocative or controversial covers but have they gone to far this time? The recently released August issue presented Boston Marathon bomber Jahar Tsarnaev on its cover and many are outraged by this choice.
#BoycottRollingStone has been trending on Twitter all throughout Boston and the story has been spread through Facebook with thousands of negative comments. Many accused Rolling Stone of glorifying terrorism and having no sympathy for those who were affected by the bombings. Readers have also cancelled their subscriptions to the magazine and many stores have called in to boycott selling this issue of the magazine at all.
When asked for comment, a rep for Rolling Stone provided this statement from the editors: “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.”
With the media, it’s important to understand the influence you have. Rolling Stone is a popular and glorified magazine that presents celebrities and people that their readers idolize. By placing Jahar on the cover, the wrong message is presented. Unlike the New York Times who presented that same image of Jahar on their May 5 cover, magazines are viewed in a different light. It is a very newsworthy piece but it’s important to understand how viewers see the magazine compared to how they see a newspaper like the New York Times.