Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson – what do all of these men have in common? Despite their normal appearances and lifestyles, all of these men are murderers. These men aren’t the only ones, either – the list of individuals who appear like completely innocent, normal people but commit heinous crimes like these is extremely long.
On April 15th, two men were added to that list: Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The controversy? Dzhokhar made his way to the cover of the August 1st issue of the Rolling Stone Magazine.
Examining the reactions of many people upon seeing the cover of the magazine, it’s clear that a somewhat outrage amongst many individuals has sparked. Some think that the magazine went too far and is glamorizing Dzhokhar, giving him celebrity or rock star status by including a self-image of himself on the cover. Others think that the magazine would have been off the hook if they had simply ran the story without putting the alleged bomber on the cover.
However, I hold a seemingly unpopular opinion: The magazine’s choice to put Dzhokhar on the cover is a justified and ethical choice.
It’s simple. When something in the world happens that affects millions, it’s going to get publicized. It’s vital for people to know what’s going on in the world. By covering the story of Dzhokhar’s past and what possibly led to his destruction, the Rolling Stone was doing nothing more than reporting information that is important for the public to know.
Not only was it important for the magazine to cover this story, but it was important to run Dzhokhar’s photo on the cover. Why? Well, it’s simple. Not only did this choice double the magazine’s sales, but it only made sense to do so because that very story was the most significant article of the issue. Sure, maybe the front page’s message gave a sympathetic impression, stating “How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster”, but that is only open to interpretation. The article’s purpose was to portray a politically neutral, unbiased look into the man’s life in order to convey one of the most important messages of the case; Anybody could be a criminal and we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
I feel that the magazine’s intentions were unfairly misconstrued. Yes, the Boston bombing was a tragic event and a sensitive subject. But if we just cover our eyes and succumb to ignorance instead of informing ourselves of the real story, then this will only negatively affect us as a society. We must not forget that this isn’t the first time that they have done this, either – Charles Manson Himself was also included on the cover of the magazine after committing his crimes.
It’s important to remember that the Rolling Stone Magazine isn’t solely about music and celebrities: The magazine also deals with strong political issues.
Rolling Stone handled this story how it should have been handled.