July 21st, 2013
11:44 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain: Rolling Stone cover was ‘stupid’

(CNN) – Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, didn’t hold back in expressing how he felt about Rolling Stone magazine’s cover featuring accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

“I thought it was stupid,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I thought it was horrifying.”

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The magazine’s decision sparked strong public backlash, with many saying the cover was insensitive to the victims. Three prominent New England-based businesses - CVS pharmacies, Stop & Stop, and Tedeschi Food Shops - announced they would not sell that edition.

But others, including the magazine itself, defended the decision, saying the story is about how a young man popular with his friends became someone who could perpetrate such a violent act.

“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 magazine said in a statement.

But McCain said it was “inappropriate” for the magazine to prominently feature someone who’s “responsible for the taking of innocent lives.

“But for me to tell them to pull their magazine from the bookshelves, at newsstands, it's not up to me to do that. I think most Americans surrender to judgment on that,” he told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

“Rolling Stone probably got more publicity than they've had in 20 years,” he added.

Filed under: John McCain • State of the Union
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. Rob

    @Freedom of Speech:

    Ever hear of Matt Taibbi? They publish more news than a lot of so called news rags.

    July 21, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. Jean

    Hey, John McCain, can you say Sarah Palin?

    July 21, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. Milton Cooper

    I am more offended the cover already claims he's guilty without trial and the fact he was said to be shot in the throat but a cop released a photo showing he was never shot in the throat, the Feds don't want him talking because this was a false flag. He was also on the CIA payroll informing on radical Islam.

    July 21, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. Pishaw

    There was a time when Rolling Stone was relevant in music and politics. That time ended around 1979.

    Today it's nothing but crappy pop culture trash.

    No one cares what Rolling Stone does. No one.

    July 21, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Dracon1201

    Wow! Just look here! Look at everyone that clicked on this because of this controversy! The publicity! They made that cover to get publicity, and everyone played right into their hands! Good Game, Rolling Stones, you have successfully pulled an impressive stunt and manipulated the public and the rest of the media in the most amazing way I would have never thought of. Meanwhile everyone here, me included, should hang our heads in shame for acting like the sheeple we are and giving them the attention they are begging for and the media is herding us towards!

    July 21, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. keeth

    The preferred narrative of a socially awkward reclusive paranoid radical bomber/monster meets the reality of a popular, normal-looking teenager who had everyone fooled. It doesn't fit into a neat little package for Americans to easily digest. That's the "controversy" here.

    July 21, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. TEssie

    So Rolling Stone addressed the fact that this young man was living a pretty typical us life and what was lying beneath that turned him into a monster. The article was well written and interviews were in depth to anything I've seen. Angry old man McCain would rather spend tax dollars bombing foreign county's instead of getting to the bottom of international hate of democracy. It is no different than the racial tension on home ground we are seeing now. It is time to address these things that make so many uncomfortable and to look for solutions than continue the back and forth hate mongering. OF course this will be difficult until all the angry old men on all sides step away.

    July 21, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. bobrimac

    McCain is the expert in stupid, so he should know. The Senator is just jealous because he wasn't on the cover of the Rolling Stone. BTW – his comment was stupid.

    July 21, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Avg buyer of said mag is closer to 55 than 20-something

    July 21, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    Not nearly as stupid as bring the Shrilla from Wasilla to the lower 48.

    THAT was stupid.

    July 21, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Hammerer

    John McCain has become the new standard bearer for the far left.

    July 21, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. kinglywarrior

    Yet again we ignore common sense in favor of fake outrage. The same pic was in the NY times with no backlash. Manson, Bin Laden and Hitler have all graced covers...no outrage. What will all these outraged people do when the trial starts and his face is all over tv?

    July 21, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Dan

    Avg age of said mag demo is closer to 55. Who are they trying to kid.

    July 21, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. John

    Here we go again. What photo should be used by Rolling Stone? The article is about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. At least the photo was not an evidence in a criminal case, released by an "ANGRY" policeman without permission of his superiors.

    July 21, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. sparky

    no matter how stupid that magazine cover is thinking Sarah Palin is qualified to be head of the United States is weapons grade stupid

    July 21, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. Rose Garcia

    I agree with lowajoe56. People need to read the article and stop focusing on the looks of an individual making asses of themselves with their assumptions that people who promote and provoke violence/terror look a certain way. The cute quiet boy next door can be just as evil as Charlie Manson and other killers on death row throughout this country. People think with your brains not your stupidity.

    July 21, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. Dan

    If you guys would bother to read the story, you'd see WHY they did it, and it's not for publicity reasons. This is a story all about how a young, normal man became a monster. This is why they don't show him in a dehumanizing way like OBL.

    It's a shame that people are so distracted by the media hype that they refuse to consider a very compelling story, or maybe they have their heads in the sand so far as to take offense at the mere thought of this young man's humanity. It's a lot easier to hate the enemy when you don't consider them human, but it's also a lot harder to understand them.

    July 21, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. scootfl78

    John McCain knows stupid very well. He did after all on vote against a holiday for Martin Luther King in the 1980s (a distinction he shares with Dick Cheney who as Senator, voted against the holiday in 1978).

    In a much less abhorrent move, but still something that would qualify as stupid, John McCain said that Sarah Palin "needed the clothes" that she spent $150,000 in RNC funds for clothing her family. From a Senator that has repeatedly voted against helping the poor and middle class, we're told that Sarah Palin needed $150,000 in order for her family to have clothes.

    John McCain surely knows stupid.

    July 21, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Monty Python

    Hey Johnny, Maybe Rolling Stone thought this cover would result in a "Game Change". : D

    July 21, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. Nathan

    Perhapse all this mock outrage should be held back until someone actually reads the article. People are so angry about a picture related to an article w/in a magazine that they have not read. They use a normal looking photo of the guy because the point of the article is how could someone that seemed so normal do something so terrible. It wasn't the magazines itent to make the guy some sort of icon. People need to read/listen and then speak.

    July 21, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. Lynne

    Did ANY OF YOU that are upset bother to READ the article? . . . . . I doubt it. So for your information, ROLLING STONE puts out some damn good journalism, which in this day and time is becoming increasingly more rare. They also did a VERY informative piece about Senator John McCain when he was running for president. Bottom line: READ the article.

    July 21, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  22. dtrenton

    Let me correct Rolling Stone's Statement:

    “The fact that Rolling Stone is largely irrelevant and desperately needs readers, and wishes to increase our subscriber base, makes it all the more important for us to bastardize ourselves with this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how we can repeat this process on a monthly basis,” the magazine said in a statement.

    July 21, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. johnjames

    There is a very simpe reason why RS used the is cover...profit...look at all the publicity it's getting...it may the most profitable edition they have had in years....very sad that profot comes before compassion or even common sense

    July 21, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. Marco

    Very Shameful of Rolling Stone magazine,
    trying to CASH $ in on instant massive publicity for their magazine by Glorifying a TERRORIST !!!
    Bad Taste
    I have no care in the world to know about The BOMBER's story, expect maybe when the put him in the ELECTRIC CHAIR !!!

    Everyone should Boycott the magazine!

    July 21, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. mojo

    A lot of whining about nothing. The article was interesting. If you are offended by the picture, don't buy the magazine. The guy is still a living piece of crap. A magazine article doesn't change that fact.

    July 21, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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