3 Problems People Have With Rolling Stone's Tsarnaev Cover

Rolling Stone Magazine is in hot water over its portrayal of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar (or Jahar) Tsarnaev.

Tsarnaev appeared on the latest cover of Rolling Stone in what many are calling a "glam shot", with his hair tousled and a bad-boy half-smile.

The Tsarnaev feature has ignited rage and fury online, as many are calling for readers to boycott Rolling Stone. Here are three issues people have with the Rolling Stone cover:

 

Tsarnaev cover sends wrong message.

Many are claiming that the cover and feature on Tsarnaev glamorizes the bomber and sends the wrong message to readers-- a message that notoriety and celebrity are essentially the same. In fact, many headlines are accusing Rolling Stone of giving "rock star treatment" to Tsarnaev. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has described the cover as "a disgrace," reports Reuters.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick chimed in as well, more critical of the cover than the content, Reuters reports. 

The article humanizes Tsarnaev.

The article shocks the beliefs and conscience of many, as it sheds a human light on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. In a story titled "Jahar's World," features various interviews and accounts from people who knew Tsarnaev growing up.

The accounts are taken from friends, teachers, and law enforcement officers. It draw attention to some very sympathetic and serious issues and makes the gentle implication that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar's older brother, may have been schizophrenic.

"Around 2008, Jahar's older brother Tamerlan confided to his mother that he felt like 'two people' were inside him," writes Rolling Stone, in a blog article titled "Five Revelations From Rolling Stone's Boston Bomber Cover Story."

The cover line fails to assume innocent before proven guilty.

Despite the fact that many in the general public have deemed Tsarnaev guilty, news outlets are still required to refer to any suspect as exactly that-- a suspect, until proven guilty by a court of law. The cover line writes: "The bomber--how a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster." The cover line speaks as if Tsarnaev has already been proven guilty, an issue pointed out by The Greenslade Blog on The Guardian.

Further Reading:

Tsarnaev makes cover of Rolling Stone, draws outrage, boycotts (Boston.com)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Indicted by Grand Jury on 30 Counts  (ILLUME)



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