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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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August 25th, 2014
05:37 PM ET

Analysis: Media coverage of Michael Brown

By CNN chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper

(CNN) – St. Louis, Missouri, is a community in mourning.

And beyond that, it is a community that is angry – angry about what it sees as yet another unnecessary death of a young African American man.

Throughout these past 16 days, many outside St. Louis, commenting on all the attention given to Michael Brown's death, have asked why we in the media aren't covering others deaths with the same intensity?

Why aren't we covering black on black crime, like the eruption of violence in Chicago, again, over the weekend?

Why aren't we covering the death of Dillon Taylor, a 20-year old white man at the hands of an African American police officer in Salt Lake City?

Let me try to answer. Because it's true – we in the media don't cover inner city violence enough.

We don't cover a lot of things enough.

And no one would argue that Michael Brown's life means more than Dillon Taylor's.

Or for that matter journalist James Foley, who was savagely beheaded by ISIS.

I think what these questions miss is the fact that the media attention is less about Brown's death than about the reactions.

The reactions of the Ferguson community – the protests, the anger, the view of his death in the context of those other young black men.

The reaction of the police and local law enforcement.

The reaction of the local prosecutor, who has brought evidence about the shooting before the grand jury.

The reaction of the friends of Officer Wilson, concerned he's not getting a fair shake.

What critics sometimes fail to see – often because of media flaws – is that we are trying to cover a people, including their – your – reactions and your greater contexts.

And that is why Michael Brown and all that he meant has merited so much of our attention.

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