Boston Bomber on the Cover of Rolling Stone Magazine

So forgive us if we have got confused somewhere along the lines but since when has it been ok to grant a bomber whose killed and maimed celebrity status?

The Rolling Stone, is a magazine famed for it’s front covers, heck Dr Hook even sang about being on the cover of the Rolling Stone. Musicians look forward to the day that THIER image appears on the front of this magazine.

But the latest issue of the magazine has Boston bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnae glaring out at it’s readers. The same man who killed three people, including an eight-year-old boy and seriously injured many more.

Janet Reitman, Rolling Stone’s contributing editor, spent two months interviewing Mr Tsarnaev’s friends and family for the forthcoming issue’s article so she’s defended the decision to go ahead and publish.

We’d like to say that the heat has clearly gone to her head but we fear this decision had been made way before any heat!!

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said on Wednesday the Rolling Stone was “ill-conceived, at best, and reaffirms a terrible message that destruction gains fame for killers and their ’causes'”.

We happen to agree with Boston City Council President Stephen Murphy who said the cover was “disgusting”.

“Rolling Stone has marketed Tsarnaev as a hero, a misunderstood teen, a product of two incompatible cultures,” he said in a statement.

“He is not. He is a coward and a murderer who is appropriately facing the death penalty for his crimes.”

Who says journalists don’t drink during the day anymore?

Here’s some rather good analysis from BBC’s Nick Bryant…

Had this picture appeared on the front cover of a news magazine, like Time or Newsweek, there would not have been a social media backlash. Indeed, the same portrait featured prominently on the front page of the New York Times in May without controversy. Rolling Stone is different because it’s done so much over the decades to shape American popular and celebrity culture.

To some, then, a bomb suspect is being depicted as a cultural icon. The sepia-tinted photograph, where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears rather dreamy and vacant, looks like a relic from the 70s. Again, it has fuelled criticisms that the magazine is softening, even glamorising, his alleged crimes.

This controversy also says a lot about the state of the American magazine market, and the pressure on publications to produce eye-catching and newsy images. This week Newsweek spliced together the portraits of the Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, the man acquitted last weekend of his murder. Bloomberg’s Businessweek depicted a hedge-fund manager with a graph coming from his groin that intentionally looked phallic.

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Written by Rachael

As well as being Editor here at The Spin Alley, Rachael is also a freelance journalist and blogger covering lifestyle, travel, culture, entertainment, media and online life for online and print publications.

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