Pulitzer Prize winning author, Frank Luther Mott describes yellow journalism as having “dramatic sympathy with the underdog against the system”. Rolling Stone has clearly engaged in some sort of scandal mongering by putting Scumbag # 2 on their cover. The accompanying text related to the article bends toward shining a victim’s light on Scumbag #2. Not enough information exists about sociopaths to indict them as being turned into monsters or that they are inherently that way. Putting this on their cover just over three months after the Marathon Bombing Tragedy is a brazen and insensitive grab for attention. Wounds are still raw and unhealed. It’s still too soon.
I have to disclose that at the time of this writing I have not read the article. Perhaps, it is a comprehensive study of how an impressionable person can go down a dark path without the proper guidance? Author Janet Reitman was not served well by her editor Tina Brown if that, in fact, was the case. Putting a picture on the cover which could have been mistaken for a disenchanted rock star from another decade was a mistake. It conjures up vitriol from those affected by the devastation. Brown should have known this and acted accordingly. At the time of this writing I have requested an interview with her in an attempt to discover their motive. This request has gone unanswered up to this point.
Robin Thicke and Jay-Z have articles in the upcoming issue. Thicke is listed as having the number one song according to Billboard.com. Jay-Z has just released one of the most anticipated albums in recent memory. Either one of these artists could have graced the August cover and generated enough buzz to deem the current state of affairs as unnecessary.
Presumably, their intent is to drive up revenue. Delving anymore into any sort of mind-reading in an attempt to figure out their motive was is irresponsible and unproductive. Social media has been the catalyst for the outpouring of outrage that has transcended all media. The groundswell took off with a Facebook page entitled, “Boycott Rolling Stone Magazine for their latest cover”. In seventeen hours the page has garnered nearly 51,000 “Likes”. Local businesses Tedeschi Food Shops and CVS Pharmacies reportedly will not sell the issue when it comes out Friday.
For this author who is thrilled to have 80 page views in one day, 51,000 is almost incomprehensible. The point is, whether the content is credible or not, Rolling Stone did it wrong. A friend of mine who has always ended up on the freedom of expression side of the fence summed it up perfectly in a posting on his Facebook page, “A big F U goes out to Rolling Stone!!! I am a huge believer in freedom of speech and a free press. But a bigger believer in class. Clearly, Rolling Stone has none.”