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IS JONES A CREDIBLE VICTIM - OR PAWN OF POLITICAL ACTIVISTS?

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Paula Corbin Jones, the woman suing President Clinton over sex harassment, is in the news again. One key witness in the case - a state trooper - has contradicted her account of her alleged meeting with then-Governor Clinton. Is Jones a credible target of sex harassment or a pawn of political activists?

Hart: It seems pretty obvious something happened in that now-famous hotel room. The amazing thing is no one seems to want to know what.Anita Hill, with no corroboration, was instantly believed by the feminist sisterhood and media elite. What is appalling is that many of these same folks have dismissed Jones out of hand.

Their explanation for this double standard is "Hill had to be dragged into making her allegations," as if this somehow supports the veracity of her claim.

No, what this double standard shows is charges of sexual harassment are almost always politicized. By comparing the left's response to Hill vs. its response to Jones, it's clear the left doesn't care about the issue of sexual harassment per se, only advancing its view of women's emancipation.

In Hill's case the politics served the left well. In Jones' case, it does not - so the left isn't interested.

The politics of sex harassment should transcend party lines. But feminists usually turn the issue into an "us vs. them" "man bad woman good" battle between the sexes. They ignore the fact that there are women who encourage and enjoy bawdy office banter as much as any man.

By the same token, some traditionalists believe sexual harassment never happens, or if it does the woman "wanted it." They ignore the fact many women, after sending clear signals that they don't appreciate lewd comments or actions, are subjected to them on a daily basis in the workplace and elsewhere.

That doesn't mean such scenarios are always grounds for a lawsuit, but it does mean sexual harassment occurs and it is wrong.

Erbe: There she goes again, never missing an opportunity to take a swipe at the group she most loves to hate, the so-called "feminist elite."

My colleague is one of a kind. Her defense of Jones is almost funny enough to be made into a comedy special. Anyone can see Jones is a pitiful creature. Her small-town looks and tacky clothes belie a big time craving for fame and money.

In pursuing her claims against the president, she has allowed herself to be manipulated into ridicule by the far right. Her grab for fame may launch her career as the latest tattler on the talk show circuit, but her demeanor and style have banished her forever from the ranks of feminists and class acts.

I agree with my colleague that sexual harassment has become the rope in the tug of war between the left and the right. But the right is no less guilty than the left of seizing an opportunity to score a political point at the expense of an extremely important issue.

And it is crazy, in the context of the Jones case, to blame political maneuvering on the people who raised sexual harassment as a valid social issue in the first place - i.e., the feminists.

Jones' lawsuit rests on extremely shaky constitutional ground. And her credibility as a witness ranks with Pinocchio's.