The Times West Virginian


July 28, 2013

Why make accused terrorist look glamorous?

”Fluffed and buffed.”

Those were the words that Massachusetts State Police officer Sgt. Sean Murphy used to describe the picture of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone.

It made him mad. So mad that he acted on the anger. So mad that he risked his job to show the world the side of Tsarnaev he saw on April 19.

Tsarnaev looked nothing like the boy on the cover of the magazine, with long curls surrounding his adolescent face in a soft yellow light. In Murphy’s photos, Tsarnaev’s curls are matted with blood — his own and possibly his dead brother’s — and the distinct red light of a sniper’s rifle is in the middle of his forehead and he exits the boat parked in the drive of a Watertown, Mass., home. For releasing the photos taken on the night that the teen accused of setting off bombs that killed three and injured 263 in the marathon and murdering an MIT police officer, Murphy was placed on restricted desk duty.

But he told friends and family that he’s OK with that.

There’s been an uproar and a regional boycott of Rolling Stone magazine following its cover story “The Bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.”

The magazine released a statement following the backlash over the Tsarnaev cover.

“Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families,” editors said in a statement. “The cover story we are publishing this week 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 of our day.

“The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens.”

Boston isn’t buying it, though.

In a letter to the Rolling Stone publisher, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino insisted the magazine write stories “on the brave and strong survivors” of the bombings and the emergency and medical personnel who assisted in the hours after the attacks.

“The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them,” Menino wrote.

So what did our readers think of the cover? We asked them on our online poll question, which can be found each week at Last week, we asked: “There has been public outrage over the Rolling Stone cover which features Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev looking like a rock star. What are your thoughts?”

And here’s what you had to say:

* Don’t judge a magazine by its cover. It’s important to engage a younger audience in a story of national importance — 7.37 percent

* Outrage equals increased magazine sales — 11.58 percent

* Making an accused murderer and terrorist look glamorous is shameful — 81.05 percent

Rolling Stone isn’t done with its provocative covers, though. Sex sells. But controversy sells more.

This week, let’s talk about a recent report on bullying in West Virginia and its concentration on the middle schools level. What do you think schools should do to combat the issue?

Log on. Vote. Email me ore respond online.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor


Text Only
  • State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core

    It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
    So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
    Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.

    July 30, 2014

  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

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