Stores such as CVS arekowtowing to social media
critics today and saying they will ban sales of Rolling Stone magazine because its latest cover features Boston bombing suspect Dzhohkar Tsarnaev.
Critics in Boston and elsewhere say the cover and the story inside will glamorize Tsarnaev and terrorism.
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I understand why people are viscerally reacting to the cover, claiming it will give him and his cause too much publicity. As many people say, giving attention to a terrorist or anyone who commits horrible crimes could compel someone else to commit similar acts.
And it’s very easy to understand why victims of the bombing, as well as the city of Boston, are upset about the cover.
However, just consider what the fast-spreading social media comments today have done.
They have given Rolling Stone and its issue a ton more attention than the story ever would have received just by coming out on a normal publication schedule.
In other words, Rolling Stone couldn’t buy this kind of publicity for its product.
Oh, yes, it’s negative reaction, to be sure.
But much of it is from people who would never buy the alternative publication anyway. Let’s face it: A poll on FoxNews right now slamming the cover isn’t exactly tapping into the base of Rolling Stone’s potential readers.
As for people saying Rolling Stone should feature the victims of the Boston bombing, that wasn’t what the magazine thought the real story was in this case. It wanted to shed light on who this guy is.Here is the magazine’s
official comment late Wednesday.
Plus, The New York Times and countless other publications have featured hundreds of stories in recent weeks about the victims of the Boston bombings.
Just last week The Times had asensitive, lengthy story
about Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs in the tragedy.
The national protests over the Rolling Stone cover just give even more publicity to Tsarnaev.
Ironically, that’s exactly what the magazine’s critics don’t want to see happen.
Finally, check out the headline that says the story inside tells of how “a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.”
That’s right: The magazine calls him a monster. Hardly a glamorizing headline.