Rolling Stone And The Bottom Line - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

Rolling Stone And The Bottom Line

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A lot of people are wondering whether the editors of Rolling Stone magazine may have themselves been stoned  when they decided to put accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev on the cover of the upcoming issue.The primary objection seems to be with the specific picture chosen for the cover, which, according to critics, makes Tsarnaev look glamorous and cool and by inference, glamorizes the heinous act of terrorism he and his older brother are believed to have committed. Words like "distasteful," "disgusting," "outrageous," and "insensitive," have been used to describe the cover.

No one questions Rolling Stone's constitutional right to do what it did. And by many accounts the actual article inside the magazine is journalistically sound. But just because something is constitutionally protected does not mean it isn't morally reprehensible. No matter which side of this controversy you fall on, the magazine's move, whether for reasons of principle or profit, could end up costing it a lot in lost revenue.

CVS, Tedeschi Foods, Walgreens, Rite-Aid and Kmart have all announced they will not carry the August issue in their stores, although 7-11 says it still intends to sell the upcoming edition. That alone will not put much of a dent in Rolling Stone's revenues. The magazine has a circulation of nearly 1.5 million. Of that, not even 100,000 are sold on newsstands. The bigger question is whether a lot of advertisers, who may feel betrayed, will pull their ads from future issues. If they do, that would hurt--a lot.

Rolling Stone vigorously defends its decision to feature Tsarnaev by saying it wanted to show how someone seemingly so innocent could turn out to be such a monster; that the face of terrorism cannot always be readily identified or easily stereotyped. And besides, editors say, it's not like Rolling Stone hasn't done this in the past--perhaps most notably when the magazine featured killer Charles Manson on the cover in 1970.

Actions have consequences, even when those actions are perfectly permissible under the Constitution. Rolling Stone may like to believe it marches to the beat of a different drummer. Now the editors may be hoping their latest decision won't drum them right out of the business.

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