HOLLYWOOD — Search engine Lycos said today that Net searches related to Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his indictment for sexual assault have climbed 6,000% since July 19. That ranks Bryant as the fourth most-searched-for news story ever for Lycos, behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Iraq War when the POW videotape was aired by Al-Jazeera and the 2000 U.S. presidential election and recount.
Google also reported that Kobe is the top gaining query for the week of July 21, but it does not give a percentage increase.
Interest on the Internet is likely fueled by traditional media’s collective decision not to identify Bryant’s accuser. Similar self-censorship by the media drove searches for the Al-Jazeera video of POWs.
The privacy of victims of sexual assault is almost always maintained by the media unless they self-identify. So far, only Westwood One syndicated talkradio host Tom Leykis has revealed the name of the Colorado woman accusing Kobe Bryant. Leykis previously named the accusers of sportscaster Marv Albert and Mary Kay LeTourneau, the Seattle schoolteacher who bore the child of her student.