The Press: Strange Reversal

Seldom had Washington seen so bad a botch of an important story. The Associated Press started the trouble. It reported that the Administration was stepping up its request for congressional foreign-aid appropriations to "nearly $5 billion" in the next fiscal year. To that point, A.P. was right. Where the A.P. went wrong was in suggesting that this meant a big. trend-reversing boost in U.S. foreign-aid spending next year. In Washington fiscal parlance, an "appropriation," i.e., what Congress votes, is no synonym for an "expenditure" (what the Administration spends) in the same year. The A.P. muffed the fact that the backlog in...

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