The Rolling Stone cover featuring accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has sparked a massive upheaval. The case against the choice of photo stresses that it glorifies the accused terrorist and is insensitive to the victims of the bombings. Rolling Stone magazine, however, isn’t backing down. It just issued this statement:
Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of 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. THE EDITORS
Not bad. The Erik Wemple Blog, however, would have gone further, stating the photo in question jibes with the impression of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that has emerged from countless interviews with friends and schoolmates who have spent a great deal of time with him. Thus, it’s an accurate and journalistically responsible portrayal of this young man. Publishing it thus represents the fulfillment of Rolling Stone’s obligation to its readers, and is no affront to the victims of this terrible bombing.