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Rolling Stone Cover Star: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Boston Bombing Suspect

Image: Rolling Stone Cover Star: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Boston Bombing Suspect

By Clyde Hughes   |   Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013 07:59 AM

Rolling Stone's cover photo of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, with a headline calling him a one time "promising student," has sparked outrage against the magazine.

Rolling Stone, which has often reserved its cover for celebrities and music stars, has also delved into politics and social issues as well. But critics are charging that the cover that goes with Janet Reitman's feature story on Tsarnaev glamorizes terrorism and gives the young bomber "star treatment."

"Contributing editor Janet Reitman delivers a deeply reported account of the life and times of Boston bomber Jahar Tsarnaev," Rolling Stone stated online Tuesday evening. "Reitman spent the last two months interviewing dozens of sources – childhood and high school friends, teachers, neighbors and law enforcement agents, many of whom spoke for the first time about the case – to deliver a riveting and heartbreaking account of how a charming kid with a bright future became a monster."

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Critics complained the story is overly sympathetic to a person who allegedly helped kill three and maim dozens of others during the Boston Marathon on April 15.

"Images of Tsarnaev such as the one on the Rolling Stone cover — doe-eyed with curly locks — are believed to have built a marginal fan base for the accused killer," said O'Ryan Johnson of the Boston Herald. "The emergence of a group of supporters — young women who insisted they weren’t swayed by his teen heartthrob looks, but believe he is innocent — prompted reactions of disgust and anger at Tsarnaev’s court appearance last week."

The website Buzzfeed captured much of the Rolling Stone cover criticism on Twitter.

"New Rolling Stone cover turns the Boston bomber into Jim Morrison," Judd Legum said on Twitter.

Kyle Meadow tweeted: "Anyone at @RollingStone who had input on the cover of their next issue should be ashamed of themselves. And then fired. Immediately."

Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin tweeted: "Last wk I wrote about Tiger Beat Terrorist Syndrome. This wk, Rolling Stone editor joins the Ja-harem."

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The Huffington Post said Rolling Stone does have a history of profiling controversial figures on its cover, pointing to the magazine's cover of Charles Manson in June 1970.

Tsarnaev is currently being held without bail in a federal prison in Massachusetts after pleading not guilty to 30 counts associated with the Boston Marathon bombing, wrote the Huffington Post.

Related stories:

Tsarnaev Raises Anger With Smirk, Yawn, and Blown Kiss

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Indicted on 30 Counts, Faces Death or Life in Prison

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