In Defense Of the Rolling Stone Cover Of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

There has been a fierce uproar of critacism against Rolling Stone's newest cover featuring Dzhokhar Tsarnaev offensive. If it did offend anyone's sensibilities I think I did so positively. That said, there is a good reason for the magazine publishing this cover feature. Here are three good reasons for printing the controversial Tsarnaev cover.

1. Magazines print pictures of newsworthy subjects.

Adolf Hitler and Ayatolla Khomeini were each on the cover of TIME magazine as its Man of the Year. If you’re only printing pictures of “good guys,” you’re not doing journalism. Maybe it’s odd that Rolling Stone would put Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover, given that the publication often covers lighter topics, but do we really want to complain about magazines tackling serious topics? Should we tell Rolling Stone to stop publishing Matt Taibbi's influential work on Goldman Sachs, and focus on pop stars, instead? Should they not be running an article on global warming, which also appears on the cover?


2. There's journalistic value in a human profile.

Is it so crazy to think to Tsarnaev as an actual person with real reasons for what he did rather than an “Other,” or unexplainable object of evil?

3. This isn’t going to make others more likely to commit acts of violence.

Imagine you are an isolated, pissed off kid with some reasonable anger over how America treats the Muslim world and are willing to die and kill innocents to draw attention to your cause. Is seeing a Western magazine article describing Tsarnaev as a normal kid going to motivate you to take action? If anything, by making him seem less evil and more a product of his immediate environment the romantic attraction to the terrorist is lessened. 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

MORE FROM

The 'Pretty Little Liars' series finale reveals the identity of A.D. and answers 7 other questions

You won't believe who the father of Alison and Emily's baby is.

7 times women in Hollywood pushed back against the pressure to lose weight

They're not here to fit any sort of body standard.

Kendrick Lamar's "Element." video shows a violent portrait of black life in America

"I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit/ Put the Bible down and go eye for an eye for this shit."

Nicki Minaj was given the key to Queens. These 9 verses prove she deserves it.

"A star will arise/ And she'll originate from the streets of Southside"

Here's everything you need to know for the 'Pretty Little Liars' finale tonight

Secrets abound in the 'Pretty Little Liars' season finale.

Algiers' 'The Underside of Power' is a soundtrack for every revolution — past, present and future

'Mic' talks with the experimental, Atlanta-bred group about their latest improbable fusion of industrial, punk, gospel and soul.

The 'Pretty Little Liars' series finale reveals the identity of A.D. and answers 7 other questions

You won't believe who the father of Alison and Emily's baby is.

7 times women in Hollywood pushed back against the pressure to lose weight

They're not here to fit any sort of body standard.

Kendrick Lamar's "Element." video shows a violent portrait of black life in America

"I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit/ Put the Bible down and go eye for an eye for this shit."

Nicki Minaj was given the key to Queens. These 9 verses prove she deserves it.

"A star will arise/ And she'll originate from the streets of Southside"

Here's everything you need to know for the 'Pretty Little Liars' finale tonight

Secrets abound in the 'Pretty Little Liars' season finale.

Algiers' 'The Underside of Power' is a soundtrack for every revolution — past, present and future

'Mic' talks with the experimental, Atlanta-bred group about their latest improbable fusion of industrial, punk, gospel and soul.