Somewhere "near Vail’? |

Somewhere "near Vail’?

Allen Best
The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera, top, is shown Tuesday, July 8, 2003, in Edwards, Colo. To the locals, Edwards is the city on the hill. The spa at the center of the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case sits on a wooded mountainside above the blue-collar town that prefers solitude to the klieg-light glare that has arrived with dozens of reporters. (AP Photo/Peter M. Fredin)

For most of a week, the Kobe Bryant case was in the news across America. What is remarkable about the reporting of the affair is that, for perhaps the first time ever, Denver’s newspapers didn’t feel obligated to describe everything in relation to Vail.

Kobe had been in Vail for surgery at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic. He stayed at a hotel in a gated community, Cordillera, located 20 miles west of Vail. That’s where the alleged assault occurred.

Denver newspapers, however, have been describing the location of all this as “Eagle County,” without exactly bending over backwards to describe where Eagle County is located. The evidence here is that Denver is increasingly viewing Eagle County as a suburb, as it already considers Summit County. Denver media must think their readers and viewers know where Eagle County is. Some actually have reported Eagle County is “near Vail.”

In stark contract, when Beaver Creek was opened in 1980, the ski company began splashing the name “Vail Valley” across marketing materials for the new resort, to give people a sense of where it is located. Now, it can more-or-less stand on its own, at least to an audience in Colorado.

As for the Bryant case, reporters seemed to be hanging out at bars at mid-afternoon in Eagle, where the purported victim lives, in an attempt to get “local” reaction by deadline. The town was, naturally, described as “sleepy,” the sheriff as “flinty” and the district attorney as “wide-eyed,” and the hotel where the assault is alleged to have occurred as “plush” and “exclusive.”

Maybe the first to get wind of the story was the Vail Daily’s Don Rogers. He was almost livid about the decision by the sheriff to arrest Bryant before the district attorney had agreed there was sufficient evidence to prosecute.

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