What You Need To Know About The Rolling Stone Cover Controversy

When Rolling Stone first released its latest cover featuring alleged Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, smirking at the camera in all his horrifying glory, we had the same visceral reaction that, it seems, most of the country did. Our minds immediately turned to our friends and family in Boston; we thought of the terror they went through that April day, and how they felt four days later when their quiet Watertown street turned into a scene out of a bad movie.
At first, we were wary of bringing any more attention to an already distasteful media circus. But, after reading the heartfelt reaction from Boston Magazine, we realized how important this debate is. Regardless of your opinion on whether the Rolling Stone cover was appropriate, there's no arguing the fact that the Tsarnaev brothers are now a part of our national history, and learning what was behind their acts of terror will inevitably help prevent future crimes. Below, we've rounded up articles that represent reactions — both negative and positive.
"Jahar's World," Rolling Stone
If you haven't read Janet Reitman's original article in full, we highly recommend it. Behind the controversial cover, the story is an in-depth investigative work that looks at the terrifying downward spiral of a seemingly "regular" kid, and the systems that failed to catch him before things turned violent.
"The Real Face of Terror: Behind the Scenes Photos of the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Manhunt," Boston Magazine
The first major emotionally-charged response to the Rolling Stone cover came from the editors of Boston Magazine, who chose to release never-before-seen images from Tsarnaev's standoff and eventual capture. The pictures are in stark contrast to RS's rock-star-like cover shot, showing the alleged bomber bloodied and cornered, bathed in the light of a sniper's bead.
"Four Reasons Why Rolling Stone’s Cover Is Upsetting," TIME
While the backlash seemed to happen all over the World Wide Web, some of the bombing's most affected chose to release statements of their own. Hear from Mayor Menino, an editor at The Boston Globe, injured MBTA officer Richard Donahue, and a friend of injured spectator Jeff Bauman.
Rolling Stone's Boston Bomber Cover Is Brilliant
In a rare pro-RS article, Slate claims that the cover is "smart, unnerving journalism." We may not like what we're hearing, but it explains how it's important to see the story as one that unearths the inherent mystery in this case — how we were all blinded by a terrorist who managed to blend in and live like the rest of us.
"Rolling Stone Controversy: Not Every Image Is A Celebration," Boston Globe
An opinion straight from the front lines of the tragedy, and a cautionary one at that, hear why one local resident thinks that you shouldn't judge a magazine article by its cover.
"The Problem With Rolling Stone’s Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Cover," New York Magazine
A counterargument to RS defenses, which emphasizes the content of the article but not the actual cover. Read why we're justified in thinking that the cover reminds us way too much of a celebrity spread.
Photo: Via Rolling Stone o

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