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Behind The Mic With Joe Mathieu: Rolling Stone Cover Controversy

By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
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Joe Mathieu has returned to his professional home town and assumed the...
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Boston Marathon Bombings

 

BOSTON (CBS) – Seems like just about everyone is upset about the new Rolling Stone magazine cover. The one featuring a photo of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Jahar Tzarnaev.

We’ve heard from a lot of you already. In fact, more than 90-percent of our listeners tell the WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Online Daily Poll the magazine was wrong to print this.

Now I want to be careful here. But I think it’s worth asking about what people are actually angry about.

Is it the fact that Rolling Stone did the story?

Not likely. People haven’t even had a chance to read it. The issue won’t be released until August 3rd.

We’ve only seen brief excerpts in our newsroom and they do not tell a flattering story. In fact the sub headline on the cover calls him “a monster.”

So then it’s really about the cover photo, right?

Many people think it glorifies Tzarnaev. Makes him look like a rock star.

And let’s be honest. It would not be the first time Rolling Stone published a controversial cover just to sell more magazines.

And it’s your right not to buy it.

It’s also the magazine’s right to put a terrorist or anyone else on the cover. And if the Rolling Stone offends enough people with its editorial decisions it will go out of business.

Surely no sane person could empathize with a murderer.

But this case reminds me of calls that we hear in the news business to never mention the names of terrorists or other people involved in serious crimes like mass shootings.

I hear this more and more lately. And I do understand the sentiment. These criminals destroy lives and hurt families. They are monsters.

But as a journalist I’m on the side of more information, not less. Because the more we know the better equipped we are to understand what’s happening around us.

And that’s hopefully why we all got into this business.

You can follow Joe on Twitter @JoeMathieuWBZ

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