Rolling Stone photo of accused Boston bomber draws outrage

BOSTON Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:39pm EDT

Accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is seen on the cover of the August 1 issue of ''Rolling Stone'' magazine in this handout image received by Reuters July 17, 2013. REUTERS/Rolling Stone Magazine/Handout via Reuters

Accused Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is seen on the cover of the August 1 issue of ''Rolling Stone'' magazine in this handout image received by Reuters July 17, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Rolling Stone Magazine/Handout via Reuters

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BOSTON (Reuters) - Boston officials reacted with outrage Wednesday to an upcoming cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine featuring an image of accused marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that was described by Mayor Thomas Menino as "a disgrace."

While the magazine defended its decision, drugstore chain CVS Caremark Corp refused to sell it.

"It's a total disgrace, that cover of Rolling Stone," Menino told reporters at the opening of a rail station. "It should have been about survivors or first responders. Why are we glorifying a guy who created mayhem in the city of Boston? I am going to be in touch with the publishers and tell them how I feel about it."

Tsarnaev is the survivor of a pair of brothers accused of carrying out the worst mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001, killing three people and injuring more than 260 at the Boston Marathon on April 15 with a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs.

The August issue of the magazine depicts Tsarnaev, with long, shaggy hair and sporting a light beard and mustache, over the headline: "The bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster."

Tsarnaev, 19, looks thinner and younger in the photo than he appeared last week in a Boston federal court to face charges related to the bombing, which carry the threat of execution.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was more restrained in his comments.

"I haven't read it, but I understand the substance of the article is not objectionable, it's apparently pretty good reporting," Patrick said. "But the cover is out of taste, I think."

The article, which Rolling Stone posted to its website on Wednesday (here), reveals a few new details about Tsarnaev, including that he once told a high school friend he believed terrorist attacks could be justified and he "took his religion seriously," according to a friend cited in the article.

In a statement, the magazine's editors defended their decision to feature Tsarnaev on a cover that has depicted music legends ranging from Bob Dylan to Jay-Z, as well as actors and other celebrities, over its 45-year history.

"The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism," the magazine's editors said. "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."

The decision to put Tsarnaev on the cover drew a wave of outrage on social media, including Twitter. CVS Caremark said on its Twitter feed it would not carry the issue "out of respect for the victims and their loved ones."

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother plotted the marathon attacks months in advance, authorities charge, traveling to New Hampshire to buy fireworks that they used in building the bombs.

Three days after the attack, the FBI unveiled video stills of the two near the finish line, in the hope that members of the public would be able to identify them.

That prompted the pair to try to flee the city. Prosecutors say the men first killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer in an unsuccessful effort to steal his gun, then engaged in a gun battle with police that ended when Dzhokhar ran over his older brother, contributing to his death.

The younger Tsarnaev's escape led to a day-long manhunt that ended with his arrest late on April 19.

Tsarnaev appeared in court for the first time last week, and pleaded not guilty to all charges in a 30-count indictment. He faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum Editing by Andre Grenon)

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Comments (4)
Crash866 wrote:
Does he look like that now? I heard he doesn’t after getting shot in the face.

Jul 17, 2013 2:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AramintaRoss wrote:
Rolling Stone has been on a short leach ever since they published that article that got Gen McChrystal fired…If they are owned and operated by the US, they should have had better sense.

Jul 17, 2013 2:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
lohocla wrote:
What’s the problem, really? The article does not glorify the man. Is this any worse than Time Magazine making Hitler Man of the Year for 1938 on the January 1939 issue. Man of the Year! Hitler! Not to mention the numerous other times ol’ Adolf appeared on the cover. I give up on the people in this country. Bitch about everything and anything. Everyone needs to think and act like YOU? Self-absorbed nation of pussies. Well guess what there is freedom of press and I don’t mind the cover. Don’t like it? read something else.

Not hating on the article written here, just about those who express distaste with the cover. Seriously don’t look at it if it bothers you.

Jul 17, 2013 6:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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