Rolling Stone Cover Controversy

Jul 19, 2013

The August issue of Rolling Stone magazine
Credit Rolling Stone Magazine / Wikipedia

One of this week’s leading media stories is the controversy surrounding the August issue of Rolling Stone magazine. The publication, known for featuring in-depth profiles of rock musicians, actors and politicians, is courting controversy with its decision to feature Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover. The decision has sparked outrage across the country and started a backlash against Rolling Stone.

Asked if stores should be acting as gatekeepers and taking the decision of purchasing the magazine out of consumer’s hands, Jeff Ritter, chair of La Roche College’s Department of Communication, Media and Technology says “I don’t think it’s a particularly good choice. I think they’re better off letting the marketplace reign.”

Critics of the photo, with the cover line “The Bomber” feel the photo glamorizes the suspect and his crime. Critics have also noted the publication presents Tsarnaev as if he were the latest music sensation while more attention should be paid to the victims.

“I think it’s a sign of Rolling Stone returning to its roots, being a little bit edgy and pushing people’s buttons,” says Ritter. CNN reporter Brian Todd says, “Rolling Stone defends its decision to go with the cover touting the article as an in-depth investigation as to how the alleged bomber went off track in his life.”