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The Boston Marathon Bomber: How Rolling Stone magazine turned a terrorist into a rock star

Matt Vincent
Editor's Pick
4.70K   //    20 Jul 2013, 14:15 IST
An early copy of Rolling Stone magazine's August 2013 issue featuring the cover story on Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, which triggered criticism that the magazine was "glamorizing terrorism". The  article, titled "The Bomber," was described by the magazine as a "deeply reported account of the life and times" of Tsarnaev.  (AFP/Getty Images)

An early copy of Rolling Stone magazine’s August 2013 issue featuring the cover story on Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, which triggered criticism that the magazine was “glamorizing terrorism”. The  article, titled “The Bomber,” was described by the magazine as a “deeply reported account of the life and times” of Tsarnaev.  (AFP/Getty Images)

Lifestyle magazine “Rolling Stone” has had a diverse range of people grace its cover over the years. From presidents and rockstars to actors, models and sportspersons. Heck, even cartoon characters have had their time on the front page.

But there is also a less popular category on that list: a murder suspect.

As unbelievable as it sounds, the editors at the popular magazine have thrown a curveball with their latest August edition, planting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover and making the man look like a rockstar.

As most of the sporting world and indeed the wider world are well aware, Tsarnaev is the man who, along with his deceased brother Tamerlan, stands accused of carrying out the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15th.

Three people lost their lives and more than 260 people were injured in the attacks when two pressure cooker bombs packed with nails, ball bearings and other shrapnel were detonated close to the finish line of America’s most famous marathon. It was the worst mass-casualty attack on US soil since 9/11.

Ever since the cover of Tsarnaev was released to the public earlier this week, the backlash has been strong and relentless. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook exploded with objection, as words such as “tasteless,” “sickening” and “disgusting” were hauled at the magazine from thousands of commentators.

A new Facebook page set up to protest against the magazine, “Boycott Rolling Stone Magazine For Their Latest Cover”, has garnered 170,000 likes in less than a week, and the magazine’s actual Facebook page has been bombarded with tens of thousands of messages of complaint and anger.

Celebrities and musicians were swift to join the public condemnation too. Pop singer Pink retweeted a message sent by radio presenter Ted Stryker which read: “Horrible, classless, stupid choice Rolling Stone. It’s not smart or edgy. Very disappointed.”

Boston punk band Dropkick Murphys, who recently donated $300,000 to victims of the Boston marathon bombings, also expressed their anger. “Rolling Stone you should be ashamed,” the band tweeted. “How about one of the courageous victims on your cover instead of this loser scum bag!

The outrage quickly spilled out of the internet and into real life. On Wednesday, three prominent New England-based businesses – CVS pharmacies, Stop & Stop, and Tedeschi Food Shops – announced that they would not stock the magazine.

The bad news was not contained just to the New England region, however. The convenience store corporation “7-Eleven” announced on Thursday that its nearly 1,700 company stores across the country wouldn’t sell the issue, and encouraged its 5,900 franchise stores to follow suit. Even the Illinois-based drugstore chain “Walgreens and Rite Aid”, based in Pennsylvania, has said that its stores wouldn’t carry the issue.
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Matt Vincent
I\'m a British NFL and football fan living in the UK. I\'m as passionate about the New England Patriots as anyone on the planet. In soccer, I\'m a long suffering Preston North End fan, which I feel gives me the right to poke fun at most other teams in the world because they don\'t have it as bad as us. I\'m also a more casual fan of Formula One (Hamilton), Golf (Adam Scott), Tennis (Andy Roddick), International Cricket (England), International Rugby Union (Ditto) and the NBA (Clippers).
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