Arkansas writer Gene Lyons has a terrific piece in Salon on the mainstream media’s knee-jerk defense of Fox. After the White House said it was a “fiction” that Fox News was a traditional news organization, columnists gasped in horror.

… neither the Times nor most “mainstream” pundits evaluated the claim on its merits. Most pretended not to grasp the White House’s point, and then went straight to the aiding and abetting. Many invoked the ghost of Richard Nixon. Why, to criticize Fox, claimed the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus and Charles Krauthammer, was downright “Nixonian.”

NPR’s Ken Rudin recalled “what Nixon and Agnew did with their enemies list.” So did CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Rudin subsequently apologized for the “boneheaded” comparison; Cooper didn’t.

Excuse me, but Nixon’s enemies list was secret. Journalists and others got subjected to illegal FBI wiretaps, “black bag” break-ins and IRS audits. White House officials even discussed murdering columnist Jack Anderson.