THE BLOG
07/19/2013 02:00 pm ET | Updated Sep 17, 2013

Rolling Stone , You Sickened Me Today

What kind of country do we live in? Are we at war with terrorists or not?

It's wonderful that we have a robust free press, and that no government agency will step into the offices of Rolling Stone and arrest an editor, no matter how many law enforcement personnel or other government officials the editor offends. Does that mean, however, that Rolling Stone has free license to offend the public in order to gain free publicity? The government can not and ought not censor the magazine's cover, but we the people certainly have the right to tell those editors what we think, and I'm exercising it.

Rolling Stone, you sickened me today.

Just as TIME Magazine sickened many when they made Ayatollah Khomeini Man of the Year in 1980, Rolling Stone sickens us now. 2013-07-19-RSblack.jpgMy brother is a doctor in Boston. His friends and colleagues performed triage on the many individuals wounded in the Boston Marathon bombing. Legs, arms, eyes, and lives were lost that day. Families were torn apart. The victims haven't recovered. The dead will never recover. The amputees will work toward a new normal in their lives, but that endeavor will take years, and I doubt they will forgive their attacker.

The actual article about the younger bomber is not bad. It explores the actions and mentality of a seemingly harmless pothead who became an alleged mass murderer. It is well written, and it appears to be well researched. The public is curious about that journey, and Rolling Stone created a decent product to fill that need.

The problem is the packaging. To sell more copies, they put an alleged mass murderer on the cover, and they used a picture consciously designed to suggest a young rock star. He actually looks like a young Bob Dylan. This is how the editors justify themselves:

Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone's long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens. -THE EDITORS

Nonsense. The picture was carefully designed to elicit exactly the furor it has elicited on the theory that all publicity is good publicity. Abraham Lincoln knew better when he said, "What kills the skunk is the publicity it gives itself." Rolling Stone will lose many readers over their choice. They've certainly lost me. You don't glamorize an alleged mass murderer just because a bunch of young women find him handsome and innocent-looking. As we have seen in the last few months, this alleged mass murderer has groupies. That's tragic. Pandering to his groupies, however, is disgusting because it will create more groupies.

As the events unfolded in Boston, we were all glued to our televisions. I wonder how many disenfranchised, lonely kids felt jealousy that day, secretly admiring the young bombers for attracting so much attention; for creating such a hoopla. It is the victims we need to see more of -- the victims who need to be humanized so that those disenfranchised, borderline kids snap out of their daze and remember just how monstrous the crime was.

Instead, Rolling Stone puts a glam picture on the cover, suggesting to the borderline kids, "Hey, you too could gain national recognition by doing something big with a bomb. Just follow an internet recipe for an IED, stick it in a crowd somewhere, press a button, and all the hoopla will start all over again JUST FOR YOU! Everyone will be glued to the TV, JUST FOR YOU! Don't wait! Act now, before this offer expires..."

Those who know me will tell you I am not an easily offended person. I cut people a lot of slack, and I gravitate toward the inspirational. Today, however, I was profoundly offended.

Salvador Litvak wrote and directed Saving Lincoln, the true story of Abraham Lincoln and his closest friend and bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon, featuring sets created from actual Civil War photographs. Learn more at SavingLincoln.com