Ezra Klein, on Barack Obama's non-occurring "gaffe" and Mitt Romney's "you didn't build that" fabrication:
I don’t get too exercised over this kind of thing, as my read of the evidence is that these gaffes — and the coverage of them — don’t really matter.... But even so, there’s little reason for the media to spend so much time covering gaffes, and there’s no reason for them to be complicit when one campaign wants to lie about the other campaign.
Klein adds self-critically that "once we in the media deem something to be a 'gaffe,' the normal rules of journalism cease to apply, and we begin running and rerunning the attack ads that relate to the gaffe, and playing clips of surrogates mocking the gaffe, and so on."
That all seems pretty clear--except that in this case there was no "gaffe," hence the "normal rules" of good journalism actually "cease to apply" prior to non-existent gaffes.
Klein, in vague reference to Romney's fabrication, does use the word "lie." And that's really all he needed for a post of excellent journalism.