As a recovering news reporter, I have made a deliberate departure from the media. Unless this was posted here, I would not have known about it. But I agree with the OP.
At first glance, what RS has done with this photo is shown us that this was a human being just like that guy riding his bike out in front of your house or that person behind you at the grocery store. A flattering photo put through the wonders of Adobe's finest can make anyone look like Jim Morrison, etcetera.
This person is not some other species called terrorist. It's a person with motivations and sympathies like anyone else. Something in society caught him up in a callous current of horrible violence, unable to sympathize with the rest of us. The irony of that is people looking at him, now, get caught in a similar current, want to ignore the social problems that contribute to the creation of a monster and chock it up to some people are born monsters.
It's not so simple as some people are good and some are bad. This is the same simplistic thinking that led people to follow Calvin and his idea of predestination, which most of society has long since abandoned. It's less taxing on the mind to deal in absolutes and most of us don't want our minds taxed by the media. We want our values reinforced.
I grew up in West Texas but spent many formative years (18 ~26) in Boston and its environs. I was back home once when a report came over the radio about Iraqi prisoners, many of them civilians, getting piled naked in prison camps, American soldiers electrifying their balls with stun guns. Torture, effectively. I was in the car with my dad when I heard that. I was pissed off, ashamed, confused, abhorred. My dad explained to me that those prisoners are not ordinary people. "They are Iraqis."
My dad is not a monster. But he was obviously calloused by something and more than willing to separate good and evil along the most convenient lines available through the filter of traditional media.
Rolling Stone has a history of this type of reporting, of forcing people to grapple with the reality in the gray. Its coverage of the Duke LaCrosse Team rape scandal comes to mind. As does the article it published 40 years ago, Hunter Thompson's masterpiece (which is possibly the finest piece of journalism ever penned), Strange Rumblings in Aztlan.
This is all just my opinion about the media and the tact of what I consider to be a fine source of news. In no way do I mean to make light of a tragedy.