IT’S A LINK, NOT AN ENDORSEMENT…. A quick housekeeping note, in reference to some emails and comment-section remarks I’ve seen lately.

As part of my coverage of the political news of the day, I read quite a bit of content. I find some of the news outlets I read to be excellent and reliable. Others, less so. But if I reference (quote, cite, link to, etc.) an item from a news source, that should not be seen as an endorsement of the outlet itself.

For example, I read the Washington Times, which is an unabashedly conservative newspaper, published by a bizarre cult leader. If the paper, however, runs an interesting piece with something noteworthy, I’m not inclined to ignore it, simply because the Times is a bad paper. Rather, I’ll share it with readers as part of my overall coverage. It’s not an endorsement of the Times, or a reflection of the paper’s journalistic standards.

Likewise, I read the Weekly Standard, in large part because it offers a look at what the conservative mainstream, such as it is, thinks about various disputes. If a Republican policymaker says something interesting to Bill Kristol or Fred Barnes, I’m inclined to share that with my readers, even if I’m generally offended by the Weekly Standard‘s content.

The same goes for Fox News, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Rush Limbaugh, National Review, Mark Halperin, the Politico, or assorted conservative blogs. I’ve been critical, many times, of each of these, but that doesn’t mean they won’t offer items, quotes, observations or stories I find newsworthy — or post-worthy.

I can appreciate the fact that there’s a school of thought that says all of these outlets should be ignored altogether. Even if, say, the Washington Times runs a hilarious interview with Michael Steele, it’s best to downplay its significance. To link to a Times piece is to promote the newspaper, and lend it credibility. To give the Times attention is to give a bad paper what it wants.

That’s not an unreasonable argument, but I take a different view. My goal is to offer extensive coverage of political events. If I find a story credible and interesting, I’m going to pass it along, ideally with some kind of coherent analysis. If I pretend some items don’t exist because I disapprove of the publication, my coverage is likely to be incomplete.

Just FYI. Now, back to the news….

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.