July 19, 2013

The New York Times | The Huffington Post

The New York Times has published an editorial defending Rolling Stone’s controversial cover featuring alleged Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The editorial, published Friday morning, says:

Singling out one magazine issue for shunning is over the top, especially since the photo has already appeared in a lot of prominent places, including the front page of this newspaper, without an outcry. As any seasoned reader should know, magazine covers are not endorsements.

Time magazine, for example, had quite a few covers featuring Adolf Hitler during the war years. Less than a month after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Time featured a less-than-demonic photo of Osama bin Laden. Charles Manson appeared on Rolling Stone’s cover 40-some years ago for a jailhouse interview that was as chilling as it was revealing. We could go on.

Others have shared similar sentiments:

Slate called the cover “brilliant” earlier this week, saying: “They are not ‘glorifying’ anyone. Whatever ‘glory’ this cover brings is more in line with infamy than celebrity; after all, the text of the cover describes him as ‘the bomber’ and ‘a monster.'”

But plenty of people are still outraged by the cover, including Massachusetts state police tactical photographer Sergeant Sean P. Murphy. In response to the cover, he gave Boston Magazine dramatic photos he took the night of Tsarnaev’s arrest. The photos, Murphy told the magazine, show “the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

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As managing editor of The Poynter Institute’s website, Poynter.org, I report on the media news industry, edit the site’s How To section, and moderate the…
Mallary Jean Tenore

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