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Rolling Stone,hit by a storm of criticism and boycotts over its cover treatment and glam photo of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, defended itself Wednesday, saying it was within its tradition of “serious and thoughtful coverage” of important cultural and political issues.

Readers, particularly from the Boston area, slammed the magazine on its Facebook page, charging that the cover treatment turns the accused killer into a “rock star.”

CVS pharmacy chain and the Massachusetts-based Tedeschi convenience store chain are refusing to sell copies of the magazine, which goes on sale Friday.

The article, by contributing editor Janet Reitman, is titled “The Bomber: How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.”

The lengthy article draws upon interviews with childhood and high school friends, teachers, neighbors and law enforcement agents.

In a statementRolling Stone editors said their hearts go out to the victims of the April 15 bombings, but that the cover story was an attempt to grapple with an important issue.

“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 statement said.

The Bob Dylan-style photo-illustration, which riled many on social media, shows the 19-year-old Tsarnaev, with long, curly hair, mustache and goatee, staring straight ahead.

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Source: USAToday