In any case, this is all a bit of a shaggy dog story. Winkler didn’t write the “but” at all. Bloomberg spokeswoman Judith Czelusniak says the “but” was inserted by a WSJ copy editor and notes that the version that was submitted and ran on Bloomberg’s wire has no buts about it.

Sept. 21 (Bloomberg) — For the first time in its history, the Federal Reserve created $2 trillion of assets and debts during the past year so it could rescue banks from the unparalleled leverage that brought the world’s biggest economy to a collapse unlike anything since the Great Depression.

Taxpayers, to whom the Fed is beholden, have no idea how their money was used to save banks from their own recklessness. As the money is theirs, these involuntary investors have a right to know who received the loans, in what amounts, for which collateral and why the loans were conceived.

A Journal spokesman says Winkler approved the edit. (It’s a different publication with its own style, so there’s no gotcha here).

Czelusniak says the Bloomberg “but” rule isn’t nearly as restrictive as I make it out to be:

You will find the word used in news stories, on our opinion pages, etc., when it’s needed. This is a ridiculous argument…Our style guide makes it clear that writers should choose their words carefully.

And she adds that the rule is intended to keep reporters from equivocating, as they often do, sometimes in the same sentence, as she notes:

Guiding journalists not to say two conflicting things in the same sentence when reporting (THIS, but THAT) is part of the bigger issue of objectivity and accountability, a point worth making.

Indeed, though there’s probably another way to avoid the problem.

Finally, she says the Bloomberg version proves “that BUT wasn’t needed!!!”

Apparently, the WSJ disagrees. Insert “but” pun here, and let the debate begin.

Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014).

Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.