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Paula Jones' Day In Court Draws Nearer

Paula Jones

WASHINGTON (Jan. 8) -- "He was tellin' me how my hair went down my back and how my curves were, and eventually he exposed himself to me." That was Paula Jones talking about an encounter with Bill Clinton, and she's back in the news because next week the Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether her sexual harassment suit against the president can go forward while Clinton is in office.

That has revived criticism that the media treated Jones worse than they treated Anita Hill who accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of improper behavior.

Said Tim Graham of the Media Research Center, "We had a media with a set of partisan biases, class biases, that felt that Anita Hill was more credible than Paula Jones and the coverage showed those biases."

Adding her take, Jones says, "Just because I'm not a high official, like a lawyer or somethin', or somebody high-ranking [who's] got a big degree or something, just because I'm from a little, small town, I'm not important."


Hill was a law professor. Jones was a small-town girl, with big hair, flashy clothes and pictures -- run against her wishes -- in Penthouse magazine. Is there a political bias too? Stuart Taylor, a Clinton voter, has written about the case.

"If everything about this case were the same except the accused had been Newt Gingrich or one of George Bush's sons, say, or some other prominent Republican, I have a feeling it would have gotten more attention from the mainstream media than it has," Taylor said.

But maybe not. Hill's case came to trial, so to speak, in the confirmation hearings on Justice Thomas. Jones's charges await a trial. Why did Newsweek, which had been critical of Jones, revisit the story?

"There is some personal mea culpa in all this, and there is some institutional recognition that we too readily dismissed this case," noted Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Evan Thomas.

Paula Jones

The White House made the case go away during the campaign. With Supreme Court arguments coming, that may be changing.

"The facts of the Paula Jones case have been pretty well reported; everybody in America knows who she is," noted Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post. "But in some quarters there has been a dismissive attitude toward her, kind of this trailer park bimbo, that didn't really do justice to the legal case that she has."

Adds Taylor, "I think there are more corroborating witnesses who give a credible account supporting that she told them something very like what she's saying now at the time, than in the case of Anita Hill."

"I was a good person, always have been," Jones says. Her day in court may be getting closer.

This story originally appeared on CNN's "Inside Politics."

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