The Columbia Journalism Review actually gets the story right:
Ever since John McCain said at a town hall meeting in January that he could see U.S. troops staying in Iraq for a hundred years, the Democrats have been trying to use the quote to paint the Arizona senator as a dangerous warmonger. And lately, Barack Obama in particular has stepped up his attacks on McCain’s “100 years” notion.
But in doing so, Obama is seriously misleading voters—if not outright lying to them—about exactly what McCain said. And some in the press are failing to call him on it.
Next, CJR goes on to rebuke the media for not calling Obama on this:
Still, some outlets continue to portray the issue as a he-said, she-said spat. A long takeout on the controversy by ABC News, opining that McCain’s comment “handed his Democratic opponents and war critics a weapon with which to bludgeon him,” is headlined: “McCain’s 100 Year Remark Hands Ammo to War Critics: McCain Haunted by January Remarks Suggesting 100 More Years in Iraq.” And today’s L.A. Times story, headlined “Obama, McCain Bicker Over Iraq,” is similarly neutral.
To be fair, the ABC News piece does provide the quote in its full context, giving enough information to allow conscientious readers to figure out the truth. That’s better than the L.A. Times piece, which says only that “McCain has stressed since then that he meant that U.S. troops might need to remain to support Iraqi forces, not to wage full-scale warfare”—instead of simply telling readers that it’s clear from the context that McCain did indeed mean that. Still, neither piece stated high up and unequivocally that Obama is distorting McCain’s words.
(Via Hot Air.)
I think the media rebuke is the more important one. Unlike politicians, newspapers actually care a little bit about their reputation for honesty.