“Rolling Stone” has long been the music magazine.
They’ve covered everyone from Bob Dylan to Michael Jackson. One of their most famous covers featured a naked John Lennon cuddling with Yoko Ono. As a magazine, they’ve never shied away from controversy.
“Rolling Stone’s” latest example is their August 2013 cover. It features a selfie of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with an accompanying story about how the young American became radicalized.
My co-host, Karie Dozer, pointed out that “Rolling Stone” is making him look like Jim Morrison. And since there have already been plenty of stories about girls who think the young terrorist is hot, this is the last thing that was needed.
Since the cover was unveiled social media has been filled with plenty of outrage directed at the magazine. Some have called it a slap in the face to Boston. Some stores such as CVS will refuse to sell the August issue. Others are calling for a boycott. All of this is perfectly acceptable. The outrage is warranted.
But it also doesn’t matter.
Why not? Because “Rolling Stone,” along with most other magazines, are completely irrelevant. Circulations are way down from their peaks. So are earnings. One of the nation’s longest-running and most respected news magazines, “Newsweek,” recently decided to go digital only. As for “Rolling Stone,” their circulation hovers around 1.5 million.
Hence the cover choice.
Remember, this is the same magazine that featured Charles Manson on a cover in 1970. That issue of “Rolling Stone” featured an in-prison interview with Manson and it became one of their best-selling issues of all time.
In 2013 they are essentially doing the same thing. So, please, consider the source.
They want people to be outraged. They want the attention. And now “Rolling Stone” is getting plenty of it.