Haaappy Birthday to meeee.. not to toot my own horn or anything, but toot tooot! Now on to more serious topics..
I usually try to stay away from controversial subjects like this, only having really done it with the suicide fashion spread earlier this year. However, as a young student journalist, when I see poor journalism ethics and morals behind pieces, I feel strongly about it..
Rolling Stone released the cover for their upcoming issue, featuring Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. In case you're living under a rock, or just chose to ignore all the buzz around it, Tsarnaev is one of the two brothers associated with the Boston bombing earlier this year.
The fact that Rolling Stone would even consider placing a criminal like that on their covers disappoints me. The fact that they did it disgusts me. Rolling Stone, a magazine that has portrayed some of the best and worst stars at their highest and lowest points of their careers, has stooped so low as to sensationalize a bomber. Tsarnaev has now been giving the "rockstar" treatment, and is completely glamorized on the cover, with the title "The Bomber" - as if it was some sort of compliment, and not many lives ended at the hands of this young man and his now-deceased brother.
The cover states, "how a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam, and became a monster". A monster that they're featuring on their cover. Hey, I'm all for good journalism, and for getting the story that no one else does, and for taking huge risks.. but this, Rolling Stone, has gone too far. To sensationalize a person who millions have grown to hate. To show his face glamorized on one of the most respected magazines. To promote this idea of infamy.
This cover is a slap in the face to Boston, and to Bostonians everywhere. Families who lost their loved ones will now walk down the street and pass a magazine rack with the murderer's face plastered on it, and are expected to not respond with such outrage. If they really wanted to highlight the April bombing, they could have chosen anybody else - a victim who lost both of their legs, a stander-by who risked their life to help others, a family who lost their loved ones - an actual hero, someone to look up to, to respect.
The topic was soon trending on Twitter and Facebook, with posts and tweets calling to Boycott Rolling Stone. Even companies like Walgreens, CVS and Rite-Aid have all announced that they will not carry this issue in their stores out of respect for Boston and the victims. They have a combined 20,000 stores across the country.
CVS, who released a statement from their headquarters in RI, said "As a company with deep roots in New England and a strong presence in Boston, we believe this is the right decision out of respect for the victims of the attack and their loved ones."
Rite-Aid mirrored the statement, tweeting from it's official account, "Out of respect to everyone affected by the Boston Marathon bombing, Rite Aid has decided not to sell the latest issue of Rolling Stone."
Celebrities also have taken to Twitter to express their opinions on the matter. Kelly Osbourne shared a DoSomething.org petition to stop the magazine from using the cover, which had received more than 5000 signatures in 24 hours. Country singer, John Rich tweeted, "You always think as an artist 'If I ever get on the Rolling Stone I'll know I've made it!' That was until they started promoting terrorists."
In a letter to Rolling Stone, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wrote, "It is ill-conceived, at best, and re-affirms a terrible message that destruction gains fame for killers and their 'causes'."
Rolling Stone released a statement with their best wishes for the victims and their families, but stands by the cover stating that it "falls within the traditions of journalism."
I remember Marathon Monday when I heard about the bombing, and my heart instantly sank. Not only do I have friends and family in Boston, but some of my best friends at school were from Boston and they were instantly worried about their friends and family back home. I watched my school population franticly try to contact their loved ones to ensure that they were alright, and watched the relief creep over their face when they received good news. To think that one of my friends or family's lives could have been injured that day at the hands of these two young men, with nothing better to do than disrupt a society, terrifies me, and I cannot justify this cover, not in the name of journalism.
Although there is good journalism, good ethics always takes precedence.. I apologize, Rolling Stone, but for the first time, I will not stand by your side. I will not stand by good journalism and controversial topics this time. I will stand with Boston.
Okay, now onto a lighter topic..
Happy Thursday, y'all! One more day till the weekend yay yay!
What do you think about the Rolling Stone cover?