News phobia: Rolling Stone's cover reveals an irrational mob

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The late, great Shel Silverstein wrote "The Cover of the Rolling Stone," a 1970s song about how hard it was -- even for rock stars who weren't Bob Dylan or John Lennon -- to get their faces on the front of the world's most iconic rock magazine.

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wasn't aspiring to be on the cover of the magazine when he took the "selfie" that eventually landed in that coveted spot. It is a photo, which previously appeared in other media, of a slightly dreamy-looking teenager from a time before he and his older brother engaged in their alleged acts of domestic terrorism.

The photo accompanies a serious news profile by Janet Reitman charting Mr. Tsarnaev's journey from popular high school student to murder suspect. While praising the reporter's objectivity, critics have lambasted the magazine for a cover photo they think romanticizes the suspect. What nonsense.

Social media erupted with denunciations. Retailers including CVS, Walgreens and Giant Eagle pulled the magazine from their newsstands. With the magazine being yanked from the shelves before consumers can render a judgment, a disservice has been done to those who want to read solid reporting on the bombing suspect.

A consumer's individual choice is one thing, but withholding a magazine from sale because a legitimate news subject is on the cover underestimates America's resilience in the face of terror. Whatever happened to just keeping one's wallet closed and walking away?



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