August 'Rolling Stone' cover leads to criticism, boycotts

9:41 PM, Jul 17, 2013   |    comments
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By Art Holliday

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - It's the Rolling Stone cover that's being slammed around the nation. The cover of the August edition features Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Boston Marathon competitor Melissa Shust from Washington, Mo. questions the magazine's decision.

"Just the fact they're sensationalizing someone who obviously intended on killing people, injuring people, I just feel bad for the families, especially the people that were injured," she said.

Shust is a veteran runner with 26 marathons. This was her first visit to the Boston Marathon.

"Whenever the first bomb went off, I was fairly close, probably within 300 yards," said Shust.

She wasn't injured by the marathon bombing, but she witnessed many who were. Learning about the Rolling Stone cover featuring one of the alleged bombers was upsetting.

"I was traumatized by the event and the things that I saw and just the fact I was there, so I guess to me it's just kind of reliving it," said Shust.

"The kid is a good looking kid," said retired newspaper reporter Roy Malone, "and that's what people are mad at. 'Look what he did,' and it looks like they're glamorizing him."

Malone was a long-time reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and former editor of the St. Louis Journalism Review. He says magazines and newspapers have always used provocative photos of the infamous, like 9-11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden on the cover of Time Magazine, or Charles Manson on the cover of Rolling Stone more than 40 years ago.

"Sensationalism has been part of newspapering for hundreds of years in this country and it's hard to draw the line as to what's too sensational and whether you're going to go too far," said Malone.

Several online commenters say a better decision would have been to put one of the bombing victims on the Rolling Stone cover. Editors for the magazine say the Rolling Stone cover story is an attempt to examine an important, complex issue.

The social media backlash has led to national companies like Walgreens and CVS saying they won't carry the August issue of Rolling Stone.



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