But for today’s piece, Calmes went to Ryan himself for an update, or, at least, to his aides. They—perhaps having read yesterday’s story and wondering why they weren’t called (or why they didn’t respond to her calls)—then quash the story.

Now aides say that the $100 billion figure was hypothetical, and that the objective is to get annual spending for programs other than those for the military, veterans and domestic security back to the levels of 2008, before Democrats approved stimulus spending to end the recession.

…On Tuesday, aides to Mr. Ryan and Mr. Boehner blamed Democrats’ failure to pass the regular appropriations bills for fiscal year 2011 for forcing Republicans to reduce their goal to perhaps $50 billion to $60 billion. “House Republicans will continue to work to reduce spending for the final six months of this fiscal year — bringing nonsecurity discretionary spending back to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels — yielding taxpayers significant savings and starting a new era of cost cutting in Washington,” said Conor Sweeney, communications director for Mr. Ryan.

One is left with the impression that if Calmes had have done this reporting the day before—along with her very diligent reporting on the viability of the $100 billion goal—today’s correction story might not have been necessary.

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Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.