Rolling Stone has stirred controversy with yesterday’s reveal that the cover star of the long-running magazine’s August issue will be none other than the man charged with the Boston Marathon bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The cover story’s headline reads, “How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster”, accompanied by a face shot of the accused mass murderer, who has plead not guilty to all charges. The Twitterverse has erupted into an understandable furor, with readers outraged that the music magazine would grant Tsarnaev the kind of status usually associated with gracing the cover of Rolling Stone.
But the magazine has defended the story, which was the result of a 2-month long investigation by journalist Janet Reitman, releasing a statement saying that they are simply upholding their long-standing commitment to covering “the most important political and cultural issues of our day”:
“The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens.”
Interestingly, the Rolling Stone cover shot of Tsarnaev is identical to the one TIME used for their cover story of the massacre back in May, showing that we have different ideas of what’s acceptable for a music and culture publication.