Stephen Colbert on the Rolling Stone Boston Marathon bomber cover

Stephen Colbert discusses the controversy I wrote about earlier regarding Rolling Stone magazine putting a sultry picture of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on their cover.

In all fairness, it was Tsarnaev’s Twitter photo, it’s not like Rolling Stone posed him.  But that didn’t stop Boston Mayor Menino, and lots of people on Facebook, from decrying the end of America as we know it because apparently Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Twitter photo is kind of hot.

As Erik Wemple notes over at the Washington Post, it was actually the NYT that used the photo first on a cover, of their newspaper front page.  And no one cared.


But that’s kind of a crappy photo for a magazine cover, so Rolling Stone simply adjust the lighting (it’s a bit overblown in the shot above), and fixed the color to make it more skin tone (which is hardly terrorist-sympathetic).

Take a look at the NYT photo vs the Rolling Stone:


A lot of Boston Mayor Menino’s buddies on Facebook are claiming that Rolling Stone air-brushed Tsarnaev’s features.  I don’t think so.  Below is the NYT photo that I took in Photoshop and simply adjusted the light/exposure and the color.  Mine is on the left, Rolling Stone on the right. I’m not convinced they air-brushed him at all.  They simply fixed a lousy photo.


Lots of evil people are hot, by the way – that’s the thing about evil, it’s not something you can put on your “George Zimmerman thinking cap” and sniff out by checking somebody’s yearbook photo. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that no, the Rolling Stone doesn’t believe blowing up 250 people is glamorous.  They do however find it puzzling that some kid with a glamour-shot Twitter profile pic could end up blowing up 250 people.  And that is interesting, and worth delving into, as the only way we’re going to beat terrorism is by understanding it, and not  condensing it into moose-and-squirrel caricatures.

I realize the American people demand their evil clear-cut, because nuance is hard to do between commercials, but life sadly doesn’t often comply.

Colbert is, as usual, viciously funny.  Here’s his additional criticism of a recent Men’s Health’s cover:


This is definitely one of his better ones. You can watch other Stephen Colbert videos here.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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