The vaunted cover of Rolling Stone magazine has most often been the domain of musicians, actors, comedians, and the occasional politician.
But this week, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev gets the honors.
The issue, which hits newsstands Friday, features an picture of an unsmiling Boston Marathon bombing suspect above the bolded legend “The Bomber.”
The subheading promises to reveal “[h]ow a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam, and became a monster.”
What it may reveal, however, is how a magazine can stoop to a new low. The RS cover quickly drew sharp, negative reaction on social media.
“Boycott Rolling Stone” became a trending Twitter topic in Boston, and Northeastern University criminologist Jack Levin worried about its message.
“If they want to become famous, kill somebody,” Levin said of adding to the hype and glorifying his actions to other potentially disaffected people.
Already, Tsarnaev fan sites and conspiracy theorists have become a cult of sorts. Some fear that with more PR like this, such a trend will escalate.
Federal authorities allege that Dzohkhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan planted two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15.
The explosions killed three people and injured over 200 others. Tamerlan was killed by police and Dzokhar captured after a massive manhunt.
On July 10, Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to 30 counts of a federal indictment.
If the government decides to seek capital punishment against the defendant, Tsarnaev could face the death penalty if convicted on one of 17 counts.
What do you think of putting him on the cover of Rolling Stone?