Weigh In: Rolling Stone’s August Magazine Cover

Posted inEditor's Picks
Thumbnail for Weigh In: Rolling Stone’s August Magazine Cover
national lampoon 1973 magazine cover

Trying to predict what will incite public anger and outrage is something that I’ve given up trying to forecast. It seems that high unemployment, starving children and rising gun violence don’t seem to provoke the same public indignation as what magazine covers, ads and commercials have the potential to incite – think the interracial family eating their

Cheerios, McDonald’s You’re not Alone Ad, or National Lampoon’s slightly distasteful Jan. 1973 magazine cover. (I would have predicted the dog cover).

Rolling Stone is under fire on all fronts: social media, stores that sell their magazine, and pretty much all media serving the New England/Boston market. The controversy is centered on the publication’s August issue depicting Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover.

controversial magazine cover

According to ABC News:

Today Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wrote a letter to Rolling Stone publisher, Jann Wenner, calling the issue “ill-conceived” and saying that it “rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment.”

“It is ill-conceived, at best, and re-affirms a terrible message that destruction gains fame for killers and their ’causes,’” Menino wrote. “‘There may be valuable journalism behind your sensational treatment, though we can’t know because almost all you released is the cover.”

Retailers like CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Stop & Shop, the Roche Bros and Tedeschi Food Shops have not only vowed not to sell the issue, they have taken to social media to explain their actions:

magazine cover controversies

Before you comment, consider this Time magazine cover not long after Columbine.


Here’s the Weigh In question: Why has the Rolling Stone cover so enraged the public, but publications that have also donned their covers with monsters and terrorists have not?

Click to Tweet