“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” Excerpt from the first amendment of The Bill of Rights
The founding fathers wrote in the first amendment of the Constitution that this country should have freedom of speech and freedom of press. This means that the government could not censor speech nor the press. This past week the press was censored, not by the government but corporations. On July 17th, word got out that the publication Rolling Stone put the surviving Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the upcoming issue of the magazine. Without even knowing the reason why Rolling Stone did this, people started to get in an uproar over this. Within hours of this controversy’s first complaint, many retailers refused to sell the issue of Rolling Stone with Tsarnaev on the cover which was released on Friday, July 19th. The retailers at the center of this corporate-controlled censorship were K-Mart, Walgreens, CVS, 7- Eleven, Tedeschi Foods and Rite-Aid.
While the move in putting the bombing suspect on the cover was possibly a poor choice by the publishers, the blurb about the story on the bomber made it clear that Rolling Stone was not celebrating or glamourizing Tsarnaev nor the crimes he is accused of. The blurb read: “The Bomber: How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam and Became a Monster.”
One of the purposes of mass media is to inform and educate the public. Rolling Stone was doing this when they decided to run with the story on Tsarnaev along with his picture on the cover. The publication wasn’t setting out to glorify what Tsarnaev did but to open dialogue on how he was the typical teenager that was corrupted into the monster he is. It should be up to the individual to decide whether or not they want to buy that issue of Rolling Stone, not retail corporations.