Circus comes to town |

Circus comes to town

The three-ring media circus following the Kobe Bryant sexual assault allegation case has become something of a spectacle in itself.

A horde of media had to be shooed away Wednesday evening from staking out the alleged victim’s house Wednesday afternoon by police and sheriff’s deputies. Shortly thereafter, unmarked police cars were parked in the driveway, apparantly to make sure they stayed away.

When some of the neighbors walked out their own front door to get in their car to go to a funeral, they were swarmed by reporters shouting questions.

“They’re a nice family,” one neighbor said. “They brought us cookies and brownies the day we moved in.”

Vail taxi driver Terry O’Brien apparently decided to cut short his 15 minutes of fame. O’Brien drove Bryant and three members of his entourage to a Glenwood Springs hospital for testing. When the story hit Wednesday morning, O’Brien became one of the most sought-after people in Vail. Rumors swirled as to his whereabouts, finally resulting in a tale that he was hosting a 4 p.m. press conference at the Vail Transportation Center.

In their competitive fury, some reporters became convinced Denver’s Fox News had O’Brien squirreled away in their broadcast truck. So they followed it, until they decided to abandon the chase.

O’Brien, it turned out, never showed.

When they aren’t staking out houses and chasing empty trucks, news crews and reporters have been stalking local neighborhoods looking for quotes, or clues, or anyone to talk to besides each other.

A press conference Monday saw camera crews from across the country pack a courtroom in the Eagle County Justice Center. Almost 50 journalists attended the event, grilling Eagle County Sheriff Joy Hoy and District Attorney Mark Hurlbert. Mostly, they pounded Hoy for obtaining an arrest warrant for Bryant from a Clear Creek County judge. That move came after Hurlbert and Bryant’s attorneys had agreed that no action would be taken until Monday.

Local Los Angeles TV stations interrupted regular programming to carry Monday’s press conference live. Camera crews carried live feeds from Eagle back to the East Coast for 5 p.m. news telecasts. The news conference was held at 3 p.m. Mountain time.

News networks, including CNN, led their broadcasts with the story Sunday night and most of Monday, and carried regular updates throughout the week.

On sports talk radio, little else has been received a mention. The story has dominated Jim Rome’s Los Angeles-based nationally syndicated afternoon sports talk show.

Even the Vail Daily has been swamped with calls offering spots on news shows when the callers aren’t searching for clues from the local reporters on the story. Part of the frenzy stems from a judge sealing the case files, leaving the news media to their own at-times creative devices.

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