Rolling Stone puts Boston Bomber on cover

Elizabeth Dorton Contributor
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A new issue of Rolling Stone magazine features Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover, calling him “The Bomber.”

The subheadline invites readers to read “how a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.”

The new cover photo was put up on Rolling Stone’s Facebook page Tuesday evening, and as of Wednesday morning had received nearly 3,000 shares and around 8,000 comments, nearly all negative.

The picture used for the cover was one that Tsarnaev personally put up online, and has been used by several media outlets since the bombing took place.

The issue doesn’t hit stands until Aug. 3, but a Rolling Stone editorial praised Janet Reitman’s article for its deep research over two months, involving interviews with “dozens of sources,” including childhood friends and high school teachers, some of whom allegedly had never spoken about the incident.

Rolling Stone Cover

Reitman’s reporting reveals five revelations, according to the editorial:

1) A public plea from Tsarnaev’s former wrestling coach may have been what convinced him to give up running.

2) Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar’s older brother told their mother that he felt he had “two people” inside of him in 2008. She believed religion would be the biggest help and pushed her children further toward Islam.

3) Though he didn’t advertise his relationship with Islam in high school, a former friend said “he took his religion seriously.”

4) “No, you don’t want to meet him.” Dzhokhar discouraged friends from growing close to his older brother as Tamerlan became increasingly critical of non-Muslims.

5) He once told a high school friend that the 9/11 attacks were potentially justifiable due to U.S. policies toward Muslim countries.

Though just put up on Tuesday night, the cover has already been criticized.

The magazine itself is currently trending on Twitter, and the hashtag, “#BoycottRollingStone” is becoming increasingly common.

Tweets and Facebook comments alike show reactions that use words such as “disgusting,” “offensive,” “tasteless” and “disappointing.”

Viewers, as well as the Telegraph, have noted that the picture of Tsarnaev chosen by the magazine bears a certain likeness to a previous cover, featuring Jim Morrison of The Doors.

It is this likeness that has led readers to assert that Rolling Stone, which normally features musicians, is trying to picture Tsarnaev as some kind of rock star.

Anthoney Lemieux, self-professed researcher of Islam and “jihadist propaganda,” wrote on Facebook that by putting the terrorist on their cover, Rolling Stone has “increased his cache significantly.”

Lemieux further warned that the article will be “prominently featured” in an English-language al-Qaida publication in the Arabian Peninsula, “where the Tsarnaev brothers likely learned to build pressure cooker bombs, and detonators.”

Another reader, J. Harper Philbin, wrote: “Jeff Bauman, [Boston marathon bombing victim] who lost both legs, should be on cover.”

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