While the state of the print industry is continues to plummet, Rolling Stone is bucking this trend in U.S. magazines. At least for one month. Rolling Stone’s controversial July issue, featuring “Boston Bomber” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, doubled recent sales, reports CNN Money.
The photograph of Tsarnaev, according to some, was the quintessential rock star visage with disheveled hair and a grinless expression. Despite numerous boycotts against the issue’s misrepresentation of the alleged bomber, Rolling Stone has sold 13,232 copies since its release on July 19th. According to MagNet, a sales tracker, that was slightly more than twice the average sales in 2012.
With the Boston marathon bombings killing three people and wounding about 200, while also leaving an officer dead during a manhunt, many called the magazine’s cover flat out insensitive. “Some critics say the image depicts Tsarnaev as a kind of celebrity; others believe it turns him into a martyr,” Slate says.
Rolling Stone rebuffed the critics by saying the cover story “falls within the traditions of journalism…[to cover] the most important political and cultural issues of our day.” CNN Money added.
One writer called Rolling Stone’s cover “brilliant.” “By depicting a terrorist as sweet and handsome rather than ugly and terrifying, Rolling Stone has subverted our expectations and hinted at a larger truth,” a Slate continues. “The cover presents a stark contrast with our usual image of terrorists.”
Rolling Stone’s skyrocketing sales is a testament to the fact that any publicity, even if it’s negative, is good publicity.
“Rolling Stone knew what they were doing,” said WebProNews. “And anyone that thought this issue would sell less was delusional. Sex sells. Violence sells. Scandal sells. Controversy sells.”