August 1, 2013

Sales strong for Rolling Stone with bomb suspect on cover

Los Angeles Times

BOSTON — So much for a boycott.

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears on the cover of the Aug. 1 issue of Rolling Stone magazine.

The Associated Press / Wenner Media

Even after several drugstore and supermarket chains refused to sell the July issue of Rolling Stone, sales doubled for the controversial issue that featured Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The magazine’s newsstand sales were strong, selling 13,332 copies since July 19 at 1,420 stores. The magazine’s 52-week average is 6,541, according to MagNet, a magazine sales tracker.

Last month’s cover featured a photo of Tsarnaev with the headline “The Bomber: How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam and Became a Monster.”

Rolling Stone quickly came under fire by critics, including Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who said the cover glamorized a man accused of setting off two pressure-cooker bombs in April that killed three and wounded more than 260 at the Boston Marathon.

The magazine’s cover story also prompted one Massachusetts State Police officer to release photos of Tsarnaev’s capture. The police officer was later disciplined for leaking dozens of law enforcement photos to Boston Magazine.

“Glamorizing the face of terror is ... insulting to the family members of those killed in the line of duty,” wrote Sgt. Sean Murphy, the police officer who leaked the photos.

Rolling Stone editors defended the cover, saying in a statement that the story “falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues.”

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