NY Op Ed: Judging Rolling Stone by Its Cover

Maybe the hysteria about Rolling Stone’s August issue is heat-wave induced. That’s the only charitable explanation for the stampede of critics who have been accusing Rolling Stone editors of trying to turn Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man accused of the Boston Marathon bombing, into a rock star merely by putting him on the issue’s cover. (Never mind the word “monster” right there in big type.)

The drumbeat became so feverish that Walgreens, CVS and a few other stores have refused to sell the magazine. The mayor of Boston hyperventilated that it “rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment.”

 

Stores have a right to refuse to sell products because, say, they are unhealthy, like cigarettes (which Walgreens and CVS, oops, both sell). Consumers have every right to avoid buying a magazine that offends them, like Guns & Ammo or Rolling Stone.

 

But 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.