For instance, here’s a Bloomberg story from December, “Fed Names Recipients of $3.3 Trillion in Crisis Aid.” Like today’s story, it talks about examining 21,000 Fed transactions. But back then the headline number was $3.3 trillion number, which eight months later has become $1.2 trillion. What gives? It’s only two trillion dollars, you know.

Bloomberg does have some great context in here, though. Like just how big is $1.2 trillion, anyway?

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages.

That’s way up in the third paragraph. Very good.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.