OK

The answer is no. If only that were more obvious.
In the shadow of Ferguson, Missouri's efforts at creating an open-air prison for Michael Brown's supporters as a response to protests against his execution by police, it's business as usual around the rest of the country, especially when it comes to the cops shooting first and asking questions later. A mere two days after Brown was shot, 20-year-old Dillon Taylor was also gunned down by police, presumably unarmed, outside of a 7-11 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Both murders initially received little media attention, but a massive, widespread reaction from people of color both in Ferguson and on the Web to the city's overwhelming and unjustified police response rapidly brought the name 'Michael Brown' to the lips and ears of the nation. Meanwhile, Dillon Taylor's supporters are doing what they can to bring justice to their victim in a vacuum of press attention and public outrage, and are feeling spurned by a national media landscape they feel should be giving them equal if not undivided attention. As usual, the right-wing media hate grinder is having a field day churning out red meat for the masses over the whole thing. Let's take a look, shall we?

Sommerville's correction of Dupree's Twitter grammar makes
one wonder if he's more embarrassed for the man, or by him.
"Clearly the media and outraged activists don’t actually care when an unarmed young man is gunned down by the police,” writes Brian Anderson for the website DownTrend.com, one of a thousand digital rat's nests teeming with Know-Nothing muckrakers. “They only make a big stink if that man happens to be black and the shooting officer is white. The total lack of coverage of Dillon Taylor’s death proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt." Anderson's tripe was made menudo by Bay Area news jockey Frank Sommerville on his Facebook page, where, with soothing, centrist tones, he claimed that “Dillon Taylor's death is raising questions about whether there is a double standard in the media,” and even went so far in the interests of “balance” – because both sides must always do it, whatever “it” is – as to quote black conservative radio commentator Wayne Dupree over his outrage at the lack of corporate media coverage in the slaying of a young white man. “Black cop kills unarmed white male Dillon Taylor in Utah,” his tweet ominously reads. “Liberal Media can’t find [their] way to cover the story.” Frank corrected Dupree's Twitter grammar, by the way. One wonders if it's more because he's more embarrassed for him, or by him.

Dillon Taylor's death is undeniably tragic, and I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that his family deserves to have their day in court, and to have their voices be heard. If it weren't for the evolution of American cops from the Boys In Blue to your friendly neighborhood SWAT team, Taylor would almost certainly still be alive today. One wonders what he bought at 7-11 on that fateful evening; Skittles and iced tea come to mind.

Behind the hysteria lies a cold calculation: Brian Anderson, Frank Sommerville, and Wayne Dupree have spent a great deal of time focusing on the similarities in these cases, while simultaneously ignoring several critically important differences, namely the ones that have actually kept it from gaining greater traction in the mainstream press. Never forget that corporate media outlets (and the sponsors who love them) are notoriously selective when it comes to framing and context for the stories they publish, and that lies of omission are one of the most useful tools for making slander look respectable.

The role of Elephant In The Room will be played by none other than Dillon Taylor's criminal record, as reported by Harry Stevens in the Salt Lake Tribune:

"At the time of Taylor’s shooting, court documents show he had a $25,000 bench warrant for a probation violation in connection with felony robbery and obstructing justice convictions."
Felony robbery? Obstruction of justice? $25,000? Sounds serious. No wonder the cops were jumpy when they got the tip off about the gun. This in no way excuses Dillon Taylor's murder – when cops start pointing guns at empty-handed suspects and civilians, they need to be dealt with, quickly and severely. But let's face it: Dillon Taylor was a fugitive from the law, and it makes him look bad, especially in the eyes of RWNJ's looking to turn this poor kid into a martyr in their crusade for false equivalence. No wonder Anderson, Sommerville, and Dupree failed to mention it.

Michael Brown, on the other hand, had no priors. He was an innocent, unarmed black teenager, the latest in a tragically infinite procession of young black men and women that have been gunned down, assaulted, or harassed for no other reason than what appears to be overzealous police officers succumbing to the worst impulses behind their prejudices. When hunting season on white teens is officially declared in America, believe me, I'm sure CNN will be all over it. If you want equal coverage of cases like Dillon Taylor's in the future, consider putting yourself in the line of fire, if you dare. Perhaps you'll be the lucky one and get your name in lights.

Iowa's a long way from Missouri. You'd think at
least one RWNJ would have noticed that...
The story of Michael Brown, the story of Ferguson, would have been nothing more than a back page byline if it weren't for the incredible effort coordinated by black communities, both on the ground and on the Web, to get the story out to the public via social media. The level of independent coverage grew so large so fast as to become impossible for the mainstream press to ignore, especially when the cops broke out the heavy artillery on peaceful protestors.

If you believe that corporate media outlets like CNN actually want to report clear-cut stories of injustice and violence against black youth, think again. Nearly all of the corporate media reporting coming out of Ferguson has, in typical fashion, shifted most if not all of the blame on to the victim and his supporters for the violence perpetrated against them. In addition, the concern for accuracy in corporate media reporting has been all but nonexistent, particularly among right wing outlets. They've parroted a variety of information so easily verified as false as to be comical. Remind me again how much CNN loves to cover stories about dead black kids?

Conversely, the coverage of Dillon Taylor has been more than sympathetic to him and his family, with reports surrounding police response to demonstrations in Salt Lake City appearing all but pastoral in comparison. From a report by KUTV in Salt Lake City:

“[SLC Police Chief Chris Burbank] also declined to say how Salt Lake City would have responded to protests like those in Ferguson, where demonstrators, a minority of whom have looted and burned local businesses, have been met in the streets by police with military equipment. Protestors are calling out police after a white officer shot and killed black teenager, Michael Brown.

"We should not respond to situations with more violence or lawlessness," Burbank said.”

Makes sense, doesn't it? So if Salt Lake can refrain from gearing up for war, then why couldn't Ferguson? More importantly, why is that difference not being examined by the mainstream press?

In a world where “if it bleeds, it leads,” the story of Dillon Taylor can't gain headline traction because our society – I hope you're ready for this – doesn't react to angry, frustrated white people with the same level of blanket hostility, fear, and suspicion that it does angry, frustrated black people. Or Hispanics. Or Arabs. Or anyone else that doesn't look like Fred Rogers, right down to the melanin percentage and the bait and tackle.

Dillon Taylor's supporters could learn a thing or two from Black Twitter about how to get their boy's face in the headlines. The response to Michael Brown's shooting was immediate, well-executed, and devastatingly effective.

Instead of trying to suck all the oxygen out of the Ferguson story, Dillon Taylor's supporters might want to consider standing in solidarity with Michael Brown's family and their supporters. In fact, recent reports say that some of them already have. I'm sure that Ferguson's black community could teach Salt Lake City a thing or two about how to cope with the loss of one of their children to jackbooted thuggery, if they asked politely enough. It wasn't Ferguson's first time, nor is it likely to be their last.

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