Rolling Stone Publishes Yet Another Controversial Cover

Rolling Stone Publishes Yet Another Controversial Cover

Rolling Stone magazine is receiving a sizable amount of backlash over their decision to use a "selfie" of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bomber, on the cover. One of the more shared opinions is that this is glamorizing and creating a celebrity out of an [allegedly] horrible individual; Rolling Stone is typically fond of using musicians and actors on their covers. Perhaps, though, the more troubling complaint is that the cover was "uninspired."

The magazine is no stranger to a controversial cover. They've published Britney Spears (at 17) in a bra, in bed...


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They've dressed Kanye West up as Jesus....

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But probably the closest comparison of the Tsarnaev cover would be this one of Charles Manson...

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...in which it wasn't so much the content of the article, but the presentation - it came off with the same visual impact as a poster for a rock concert.

It could probably be argued that many people who are quick to call for a boycot of the magazine aren't fully aware of the serious journalism that Rolling Stone is actually known for. Their presentation may have a lot of flash, but their content is equally as hard-hitting - going back decades with the likes of legedary writers like Hunter S. Thompson.

As far as the argument about glamorizing Tsarnaev, the article reads, "The Bomber. How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster." Calling someone a "monster" is hardly positive. The article itself seeks to try to understand how a horror like this could happen.

Let's also not forget that this image has been published before on the cover of the New York Times.

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What do you think?


Image: Handout image of accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of August 1 issue of Rolling Stone magazine

Via CNN, USA Today, and The Washington Post

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76 Comments

And this just inspired 1000's of depressed kids to get onto the cover of Rolling Stones without taking piano or guitar lessons. Nice job Rolling Stones, idiots.

completely agree, they're profiting off of it too. scum move rolling stones...

have anyone of you actually read the article?

Patryk M's picture

Tim. We are not talking about reading it. Even if its a great article. The point is simple. How could you do this! Think about the message this shows. We should NOT reward criminals/terrorists on front cover of mags.

You're right. We should sweep it under the rug, not talk about it, not learn about these people, and just assume the image of them in our heads is correct!

Regarding the photo. Shouldn't the photo complement the article with some journalistic integrity? Because, as far as I can tell, that's what it's doing. It's showing a self photo of a 19yr old kid who turned into a monster.

Patryk M's picture

Stop.... Your being a baby just talking not making any sense. We should NOT reward a terrorist who killed innocent people on the front cover of RollingStone. People are not buying RollingStone to learn about terrorists. They are buying to learn about the music industry..etc. Let time magazine do the article and this would be much more appropriate. This is simple stuff to understand OhBoy.. btw he is NOT a victim...

No one is saying he's a victim. This is not rewarding a terrorist it's journalism. THAT is pretty simple. Again, who are you to tell a publication what they should be writing about? So, let me get this straight, given the same article and photo...it would be OK if it were Time? that....is just incomprehensible to me. It's the same story! If you don't like it, don't buy it!

Patryk M's picture

You truly are lost....sad

that is not true. rolling stone was always more than music magazine... sometimes it gave a lot of messages through culture. lets learn more about rolling stone :)

how many "we" are you talking about? why don`t you say "in my opinion!?
you already killed a terrorist on tv, why do you complaint?
think about a message. that is the thing, you don`t think about it properly, you think about it one sided way... and than you saying "we". there is no me in your we. :)

since its a photo related site, let me talk about photo. i think this photo is a great example how photography is more about just an image. sometimes its more about concept, the story, the feeling it evokes.

let me ask you one thing. i don`t know when this picture were taken, but let me ask you this - if it was taken before the boy "changed", when he was just a lonely and lost boy... does it make him killer on a picture? or its just picture of a kid?

does not the article title said, how the "popular" boy was "failed by the family". is it not the message? its a an american, common boy. its whom you raised, its your society, take responsibility for it. that is the message and i love rolling stone for it.

and stop crying about "depressed" kids. you show them kitchen knife - they will kill each other, wait, they are already killing themselves on computer games. so lets not talk about "depressed" kids. :)

Patryk M's picture

with all do respect i disagree with you.

these kind of comments really makes me sad.

those 1000 depressed kids probably would think about killing themselves if they see kitchen knife, wait, they already playing games on their xbox`s virtually killing each other. why don`t you take responsibility for the society you raised those kids? oooh, i am afraid to give them the "idiot" Dante Alighieri`s book, they`ll all go to hell now.

for every 1000 people that see this cover there will probably be one person to actually read the article.. that being said, it only takes one sicko who's on the edge of doing something like this to follow through because of media status .. don't you people realize how badass it makes this kid feel to be on the cover of rolling stones mag, regardless of the article's content?

Does putting John Lennon on the cover make people go out and beat their wives? Does putting a hip hop star who talks about shooting cops go out and make people want to shoot cops? How about Amy Winehouse...are people getting off the toilet after reading Rolling Stone and booting up some heroin?

Patryk M's picture

Love your thinking. Let's put terrorists who DID kill people not just sang about it. This generation is Fu*ked!

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