NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Rolling Stone, the iconic New York-based magazine that positions itself as an arbiter of things cool and tastemakers in the world of rock & roll, has sparked outrage by putting Boston Marathon bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its new issue.
The cover story entitled “The Bomber” by Janet Reitman profiles Tsarnaev’s life via interviews with his friends, teachers, neighbors and more. In its promotion for the issue, the magazine says it delivers “a riveting and heartbreaking account of how a charming kid with a bright future became a monster.”
The decision is not sitting well with many people.
A Facebook page that was set up calling for a boycott drew more than 58,000 likes and more than 1,000 comments in less than 24 hours.
“There was a time when being on the cover of Rolling Stone meant you had really made it… what does this cover say to the rest of the world?” asked one post on the page.
Others took a more direct approach and posted on Rolling Stone’s Facebook page.
“By trying to profit off his notoriety, you have the blood of so many victims on your hands,” Tanisha Rivera wrote.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino scolded the magazine for featuring Tsarnaev on their cover, however some have defended Rolling Stone and called the story an excellent piece of journalism.
“I think the Rolling Stone cover is actually very helpful,” Dr. Paul Levinson a professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University. “It’s trying to get to the root of evil.”
New Yorkers looking for the magazine may not find it at their local pharmacy. CVS said it would not sell the issue in its stores. Walgreens said it wouldn’t carry it either.
“As a company with deep roots in New England and a strong presence in Boston, we believe this is the right decision out of respect for the victims of the attack and their loved ones,” CVS spokesperson Mike DeAngelis said.
“Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families,” Rolling Stone’s editors said in a statement. “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.”
Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with the bombings that left three people dead and hundreds injured. Rolling Stone said that the article contains a number of revelations, and that Tsarnaev told a friend that he felt the 9/11 attacks could be justified.
In the past Rolling Stone has featured other news makers on the cover of their magazine, including President Obama.
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