Reaction: Hyping, glamorizing a teenage terrorist

Thursday, July 18, 2013
Russ Jones (

Rolling Stone magazine has generated outrage across the country after featuring Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its latest issue. One media analyst suggests the cover represents a new ideological threat on American soil.

Rolling Stone cover - bomberThe accompanying title of the photo on the cover of the August issue of Rolling Stone states: "The Bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster." Public reaction, for the most part, has been negative.

Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center, says the music and entertainment magazine was clearly seeking to make news. “For them to put a terrorist on the cover is a provocative choice,” he reacts, “and it is quite clear that this, in a sense, is a glamor magazine and a celebrity magazine. It’s quite clear that a lot of people take this as ... glamorizing a terrorist, you’re turning them into celebrity fodder.”

Graham speculated that the shameful cover is an attempt to young-down the magazine's aging readership.

Graham, Tim (MRC)“Well, let’s face it – the guy who runs Rolling Stone was born in 1946,” notes the MRC spokesman. “They do have to try to freshen it up. So teenage terrorists might be freshening it up, but I don’t think it’s going to get the reaction they were hoping.”

Angry protestors have created a new Facebook page titled "Boycott Rolling Stone Magazine For Their Latest Cover." By Wednesday afternoon, the page had generated over 70,000 "likes."

The corporate world has also reacted to the magazine cover. In a written statement, the CVS pharmacy chain confirmed it will not be selling the August issue. "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," the statement reads.

Walgreens and Stop & Shop have also chosen not to sell the controversial issue.

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