The Robert Blake Saga
By Ted Garcia
"What's new on the Robert Blake case?"...
"Do you think Blake did it?"...
"Why are you guys STILL in front of his house?"
These are just a few of the questions I (along with my colleagues)
have been peppered with over the past two weeks. Everyone
has an opinion... like it or not.
Ever since Blake's wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, was shot to death
on the night of May 4 in Studio City, we the media have been
scraping for any tidbit of information that comes along. Nothing
new... I know, but this case seems to be following a pattern
... you know where I'm going -- yup, O.J.
cool is this? KCDZ's Gary Daigneault gets a pretty neat
wouldn't like to be called A BIG KID :)
Two families at odds, a "dream team" of attorneys, people
with sordid pasts, etc. In the L.A. market, if it involves
a celebrity, even a very, very B-list celebrity like Robert
Blake, it sells. As long as we have "Baretta" clips, we can
do a package. As long as Harland Braun (Blake's attorney)
has a theory or uses the victim as a punching bag, we have
Much has been said about the victim's past. She ran a "lonley
hearts" club... she bilked men out of money... she stalked
people like Blake, Christian Brando and Elvis... she was a
woman who wanted to be a star... and if she couldn't be one,
she wanted to get close to one. But is it our job to pass
judgment on this woman we've never met... never talked to???
Ask Mr. Braun and he'll say "yes"... details of her life are
important because there are many people out there who "have
it in for her". Ask viewers and chances are they'll say, "you
know what guys, you really ought to back off". In fact, many
people in the KTLA newsroom feel the same way. Let this woman
rest in peace. But as long as Bonny Lee Bakley's name is attached
to that former TV star, she will not.
This is indeed a difficult case to cover because not only
are we competing with other local stations, but national and
tabloid shows as well. People like Blake's son, Blake's bodyguard
and Bakley's half-brother are popping up on shows like "Today",
"GMA", "Larry King Live" and "Inside Edition", but they're
avoiding us like the plague. Why? Maybe it's the free limo
ride to the studio, maybe they're being compensated or maybe
they (and their attorneys) feel this is the only way to remain
in control. One interviewer -- one question at a time -- not
a hoard of local reporters asking some tough questions.
The only real statements coming out are from Blake's attorney...
so how balanced are our stories? Even the LAPD held a rare
news conference to tell the media to stop spreading rumors...
but that same night, almost every station reported the fact
that detectives may or may not have found the murder weapon.
So much for taking their advice.
Until Mr. Blake talks or until an arrest is made, this story
will continue to slip further into the A-Block on most stations.
If this were any other homicide, we would've forgotten about
it long ago. But we the media have turned it into something
more... like it or not. As for how long we'll be in front
of Blake's Studio City home -- I wish I could tell you.
In the meantime, leave the porch light on... it's getting
dark out there.
About the Author
TED GARCIA is a general assignment reporter for KTLA/Channel
5, the WB station in Los Angeles. He has reported and anchored
for 10 years in Texas, Oklahoma, San Diego and now Los Angeles.