AirTalk for July 18, 2013

Is Rolling Stone giving Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the rock star treatment? (Poll)

rolling stone

Keneth Cruz/Flickr

For decades, rock stars and other iconic figures have graced the cover of the venerable Rolling Stone magazine. What does Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's presence on the latest issue mean?

Rolling Stone's new cover story about the alleged Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is causing some outrage over its use of the photo, which was snapped by Tsarnaev himself.

It's a somewhat glamorous image of a scruffy teenager with long curly hair, T-shirt and a soft gaze. It's the kind of photo that doesn't seem out of place on the cover of Rolling Stone except that this image is accompanied by the caption "The Bomber." 

Critics allege that it makes the alleged terrorist look like a rock star and is adding to his celebrity. But the same image has also been featured in news stories on the New York Times and the Washington Post. The magazine argues that it's simply using a photo of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to illustrate an article about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the same way any magazine or newspaper would. CVS, Walgreens and local retailers have pledged to not sell copies of the latest issue.

Does putting the alleged terrorist on the cover elevate him to the level of celebrity? Are we uncomfortable seeing the image of Tsarnaev because he doesn't fit our idea of a "terrorist"? Should the magazine have chosen a less flattering photo? How does this compare to when Rolling Stone put Charles Manson on its cover in 1970?

KPCC's online polls are not scientific surveys of local or national opinion. Rather, they are designed as a way for our audience members to engage with each other and share their views. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page, facebook.com/kpcc, or in the comments below.

Guest:
 David Folkenflik, NPR media correspondent


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