In the face of Rolling Stone magazine’s decision to run a cover story on Boston Bomber terrorist, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the magazine has gone on to face an avalanche of dissenting opinion calling for the journal to be boycotted for transgressing good taste and the memory of the Boston Marathon victims.
Adding to that list are now retailers who have told that they will not be selling the new issue which comes out tomorrow on their shelves because they disagree with its contents.
Joining the ever increasing naysayers now include CVS, Walgreens, , Rite Aid, Stop & Shop, the grocery chain the Roche Bros and Tedeschi Food Shops, a Massachusetts-based convenience store chain.
First it should be said that each vendor has their own prerogative to run or not run a journal as they see fit just as much as each journal ought to have the prerogative and right to run articles, and covers as it sees fit as well at the risk of offending consumers who disagree with such content.
Which presents an interesting dilemma for magazine publishers. What is America ready to consume and how far can and ought it go in presenting and questioning ideas that it perceives as integral to maintaining the integrity of its editorial mission?
Then there’s the legitimate question of what are advertisers who so often keep the journals afloat willing to tolerate in the preservation of their own brand’s marketing? After all inherent in the notion of capturing ad revenue is the idea that a journal’s editorial content is in keeping with the values, image and aspirations of the journals.
Yet what are we to make when an avalanche of dissent comes to the fore? Is this really about the public’s demand that the media only report on what it perceives as palatable and in good taste? Or is the consumer having become so coddled and manipulated by sensational and polemical press reporting that one is inclined to wish a mainstay media entity instant death when they choose to run content that goes against what many believe is anti American?
Then again who said journalism should be whether reporting is pro American or anti American? Or is that the hidden text of what may be going on here now with Rolling Magazine which has managed to offend the tastes of those who feel the prerogative of media ought to be propagating pro American discussions as opposed to any or all discussions that may or may not feed into the idea of pro America and its sympathetic causes, terrorism victims and so forth. Ought we not have faith that readers can make up their own minds for what passes as good content rather than having the shrill media departments of the establishment media telling us that this is terrible content that abuses the memory of America?
Isn’t it more abusive to condemn freedom of expression and freedom itself even if it doesn’t match ones own ideas of what makes for preferred rhetoric. Now we have to boycott media players cause they did what most media companies ought to be doing in the first place and ask tough questions and explore the dialectics of society?
Should not that in some way concern us? As journalists are we to now keep a steady of vigil of content of what we can and can not report on less we come off less patriotic, less American? Then again isn’t this the type of reporting in its most extreme form that most Americans pride themselves are free from unlike other parts of the world where the media is sanctioned?
In a society that is bellicose about championing freedom and freedom of expression something appears to be amiss when knee jerk reactions to content that may or may not offend us becomes a battle cry to boycott content.
In the end it’s simple. The reader doesn’t have to buy the journal nor does a vendor have to distribute it if it wishes not to but then don’t be surprised down the road if all one comes to read is a continual regurgitation of preferred media myths that most media outlets will be forced to continue publishing in order to stay afloat, save the rare media outlet willing to risk that intelligent consumers still exist.