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From: David Graff <email@example.com>
Subject: A TDT question requiring some judgement?
Date: Fri, 03 Apr 1998 15:32:39 EST
A member of our annotation crew, doing topic labeling on NYT data,
came across an item that appeared on the editorial page of the paper
in February. The item is a parody relating to the Lewinsky affair,
and contains no news content about this target topic. But, in a
sense, it is "on topic", sort of.
I think it would be wrong to say we should eliminate editorials
altogether; I suppose the question at hand is whether this editorial
is representative of a class of "stories" that should be excluded as
"not news" (e.g. on the grounds that a prospective user of a TDT system
will not have a sense of humor).
Naturally, I'll give priority to the judgements of project managers,
but everyone should have an opportunity to state their opinions. My
own opinion would be to keep the article (repeated below), and mark it
as "brief" on the Lewinsky topic, since actual mention of the event
and players for that topic is scarce.
Here's the article; note that occurrences of "&UR;" and "&LR;" mark
the start and end, respectively, of "bold-faced" words.
<DOCNO> NYT19980214.0110 </DOCNO>
<DOCTYPE> NEWS STORY </DOCTYPE>
<DATE_TIME> 02/14/1998 16:54:00 </DATE_TIME>
A8158 &Cx1f; tib-z
u k &Cx13; &Cx11; BC-DOWD-COLUMN-NYT &LR; 02-14 0730
<SLUG> BC-DOWD-COLUMN-NYT </SLUG>
COMMENTARY: ROMANTIC TALKING POINTS
(Editors: bold-faced words should be italicized)
By MAUREEN DOWD
c.1998 N.Y. Times News Service
WASHINGTON _ Late Saturday night, I came into possession of some
red-hot White House documents. They were leaked to Kenneth Starr's
office and then obtained by The New York Times from knowledgeable
lawyers familiar with officials acquainted with knowledgeable
people related to the case.
The documents are talking points that were designed to get Bill
and Hillary Clinton safely through an event that could easily have
turned ugly: a Valentine's dinner a deux at Camp David.
The president's talking points were drawn up by his pals _
Vernon Jordan, James Carville and Harry Thomason. And Hillary's by
hers _ Susan Thomases, Ann Lewis and Sidney Blumenthal.
Here is the verbatim text:
FLOTUS TALKING POINTS
1. Try to pull your punches. Scalpel preferable to shotgun. The
president makes an appealing target, but if you attack him too
wantonly as a DOUBLE-CROSSING, LONG-TAILED RAT, you risk being
perceived as unromantic. One good strategy is to express &UR; sadness,
regret &LR; or &UR; dismay, &LR; rather than &UR; anger, resentment &LR;
or &UR; rage &LR; .
2. Think of the BIG PICTURE. Now you can stop playing little
wifey and doing children's issues and go for something BIG! The BIG
CREEP really owes you! We're talking attorney general or Supreme
3. If anything goes awry _ if the filet is undercooked, if the
pastry crust is soggy _ don't lose your cool. Just blame it on the
4. Don't go for cheap humor. Avoid any joke presents, such as
5. If he coaxes you into saying something lovey-dovey when you
clink wine glasses, don't succumb to the impulse to mutter ``I
possess your soul, you two-timing tinhorn.'' Just say something
NEUTRAL, like: ``I don't anticipate that our love will evaporate. I
don't anticipate that it will slowly dissipate over time by the
weight of its own insubstantiality.''
POTUS TALKING POINTS
1. First of all, relax. FLOTUS will have to go through a metal
detector to get into the dining room. All lamps, Bibles and other
throwable objects have been nailed down. The meal will be picnic
style, with plastic, so you needn't worry about any sharp utensils.
2. As for a Valentine's present, steer clear of black or navy
cocktail dresses, T-shirt dresses and peasant dresses. In fact,
steer clear of dresses. Avoid hat pins, brooches and berets. In
fact, avoid Donna Karan. Avoid Revlon products. And don't buy the
present with your American Express card. DISREGARD the Dick Morris
suggestion about giving red, flavored nail polish, or a T-shirt
that says ``The Ditz Set Me Up.''
3. Tell her you care, but proceed carefully. Some safe sweet
nothings: ``You are the only wife of mine I've ever truly loved.''
Or ``Hill, you ARE my Valentine, and I categorically deny any
suggestion that anyone else IS my Valentine.'' Murmur in her ear
about a vast East Wing conspiracy of love.
4. If you recite poetry to her, make sure it isn't from ``Leaves
of Grass'' or ``Romeo and Juliet.'' Remember Monica used that
couplet last Valentine's Day in her Washington Post ad to you,
Handsome. The one about ``love's light wings.'' Besides, enough
with the wings.
5. We have set up witness ops for the staff and the Secret
Service. When the steward Bayani Nelvis comes in to serve the main
course at 8:31 p.m., he should find you doing the St. Thomas
act-like-we-don't-know-people-are-watching dance. When Secret
Service Agent Lewis Fox, who has been called out of retirement for
the occasion, checks in on you at 9:08 p.m., he should find you
cooing over the chocolate sundaes.
6. If she asks you directly what happened with THAT WOMAN, look
her straight in the eye and tell her it was all a misunderstanding.
Tell her that Monica visited the Oval Office 37 times because she
was your PERSONAL SHOPPER. With your sleek new physique, you wanted
to make a few changes, surprise Hillary with a fresh new look. You
needed to have your slimmer measurements taken, and you wanted to
have your COLORS done. Explain that Monica figured out that you are
7. If FLOTUS brings up the attorney general job or a seat on the
Supreme Court, just stare at her soulfully and say, ``That's
&UR; gooood &LR; .''
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Last updated Wed Sep 9 09:40:46 1998