Matt Yglesias has kicked off a discussion of the apparent dilemma the media comes up against when a campaign lies but rebuttal involves repeating the lie. (NB: Matt has apparently edited his post – the original content is currently reproduced in comment 7 to the post).
I don’t see much of a dilemma. Point out the lie – put the truth ahead of any repetition of the lie itself, establish and elaborate on the context underlying the truth, and then conclude by restating clearly what the truth is. It seems to me that the biggest dilemma the media faces is that it has to accommodate any new material into its pre-existing narrative – and in that narrative, John McCain is a straight-talking maverick.